The Difference Between Determinate and Indeterminate potatoes

The Difference Between Determinate and Indeterminate potatoes

Many homesteaders and gardeners don’t give a lot of thought to the growth cycle of potatoes and their harvesting times.   Yes most of us know that there are numerous varieties of potatoes such Yukon Gold or Kennebec – but few are aware that these are both classified separately from each other in what is called ” determinate ” and ” Indeterminate ” potatoes.

The difference between determinate and indeterminate potatoes lies primarily in their growth patterns and harvesting schedules which will have an impact on your harvest size and annual success.

Let’s look closer at the two types then.

Determinate potatoes, also known as “early” potatoes, grow in a compact manner and produce all their tubers at once. Here are some popular determinate potato varieties:

  • Yukon Gold – Known for its yellow flesh and smooth skin, great for boiling and mashing.
  • Red Pontiac – Has deep red skin and white flesh, excellent for roasting and boiling.
  • Norland – Typically has red skin with white flesh, good for early harvest.
  • Irish Cobbler – An early variety, known for its distinct flavor, good for boiling and baking.

These varieties are generally preferred for smaller gardens or where uniform harvest is desired, as they allow for a single, complete harvest.

  • Harvest Time: Determinate potatoes, often called “early” potatoes, produce all their tubers at once. This means that they have a single, concentrated harvest period.
  • Growth Habit: They generally have a more compact growth habit, which makes them ideal for smaller spaces or for growing in containers.  These varieties are typically harvested earlier in the season.

Indeterminate Potatoes:

Indeterminate potatoes, also known as “late” potatoes, grow and produce tubers continuously throughout the growing season. Here are some popular indeterminate potato varieties:

  • Russet Burbank – A classic variety known for its large, starchy tubers perfect for baking and frying.
  • Kennebec – Versatile for cooking and resistant to some diseases; great for frying and mashing.
  • Butte – Known for its russeted skin and excellent storage qualities.
  • Desiree – Features red skin and yellow flesh, good for boiling and making potato salads.
  • Pontiac – Deep red skin with white flesh, good for most cooking methods.

These varieties are suitable for longer growing seasons as they can be harvested at different times depending on the size and maturity of the potatoes desired.

  • Harvest Time: Indeterminate potatoes, or “late” potatoes, produce tubers continuously throughout the growing season. This allows for staggered harvesting, where you can selectively harvest mature tubers while allowing smaller ones to continue growing.
  • Growth Habit: They tend to have a more sprawling growth pattern and can benefit from being “hilled” (piling soil around the stem as they grow) to encourage more tuber production along the buried stem.  These are often harvested later in the season and are suitable for various culinary uses.
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A Complete List of Determinate and Indeterminate Varieties of Potatoes

Potato Variety Type (Determinate/Indeterminate) Time to Harvest
Adirondack Blue Indeterminate 90-110 days
Adirondack Red Indeterminate 90-110 days
All Blue Indeterminate 90-110 days
All Red Determinate 70-90 days
Alturas Indeterminate 90-110 days
Bintje Indeterminate 100-120 days
Burbank Russet Indeterminate 90-110 days
Butte Indeterminate 120-135 days
Cal White Determinate 90-110 days
Caribe Determinate 70-90 days
Carola Indeterminate 90-110 days
Chieftain Determinate 80-100 days
Desiree Indeterminate 90-110 days
Elba Determinate 80-100 days
Fingerling (various) Indeterminate 90-110 days
French Fingerling Indeterminate 90-110 days
German Butterball Indeterminate 110-135 days
Goldrush Indeterminate 90-110 days
Huckleberry Gold Indeterminate 90-110 days
Katahdin Determinate 80-100 days
Kennebec Indeterminate 80-100 days
Kerr’s Pink Determinate 80-100 days
King Edward Indeterminate 90-110 days
Kipfler Indeterminate 90-110 days
La Ratte Indeterminate 90-110 days
Lady Christl Determinate 70-90 days
Marcy Determinate 70-90 days
Maris Piper Indeterminate 90-110 days
Nicola Determinate 90-110 days
Norland Red Determinate 70-90 days
Onaway Determinate 70-90 days
Orla Determinate 70-90 days
Pontiac Indeterminate 80-100 days
Purple Majesty Indeterminate 90-110 days
Ranger Russet Indeterminate 90-110 days
Red Bliss Determinate 70-90 days
Red Gold Determinate 70-90 days
Red Pontiac Determinate 70-90 days
Russet Burbank Indeterminate 90-110 days
Shepody Indeterminate 80-100 days
Sierra Gold Indeterminate 90-110 days
Superior Determinate 70-90 days
Swedish Peanut Indeterminate 90-110 days
Upstate Abundance Determinate 70-90 days
Vivaldi Indeterminate 90-110 days
Yukon Gem Indeterminate 90-110 days
Yukon Gold Determinate 70-90 days
Yukon Verna Determinate 70-90 days
Yukon Viking Indeterminate 90-110 days
Zebra Chip Indeterminate 90-110 days


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