Where to locate sugar cane in the home garden

Hello Permies!

I'm planing on putting in some sugar cane someplace in the garden and I'm not sure where the best place to plant it is.  Everywhere I read is says to plant sugar cane in full sun but we all know what that can mean here - fried plants come the summer heat.  I have an eastern exposure area that gets afternoon shade, but might it be too much shade for a good crop, or a perfect situation for this climate?

If you have successfully planted sugar cane and had a good harvest come fall what type of sun exposure have you used?  Of if your sugar cane endeavors have been dismal failures I'd like to know that too so the rest of us don't repeat your mistakes.

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  • So I thought I'd jump in on this discussion after growing sugar cane in pots.  The fist sugar cane was a green variety from an Asian grocery store, don't know which type cane it was but i put it in my experimental wicking bed and TOOK OFF!!!  It grew so fast and so lush it was crazy!  The second variety I tried was a purple sugar cane, also from an Asian market and I got three pieces to root out but only one has survived for the year and a half in a pot so far.  In my limited experience of growing sugar cane in containers, the wicking bed, even though it was shallow, did fabulously!  Even though the pots (large pots min 2' diameter) were under 40% shade cloth, I still lost 2/3rds of my transplants.

  • Thanks Catherine, if your Pele sugarcane looks like this then it is probably the same kind i used to grow back in the isles:


    • Hi Rafael,

      I don't think mine is quite that dark.  I can make an assumption that our drier climate may make a difference, probably minor, in appearance.

    • Might be the same, but may just be a variant of the green  species. There are several cultivars of sugarcane, with species native to india, china, south asia and new guinea.

      the green type may also come in cultivars with a reddish tinge or lightly purple.

      the deep purple one is usually a bit more cartoon-like in appearance, often with plump and somewhat contorted segments, and is intended primarily for snacks. The green variety has a nondescript straight, reed-like growth. It  is  intended  for table sugar production. 


    • Rafael, the link did not work for me (could be internet gremlins) but that is okay.  Mine started out very dark purple but recent canes were lighter.  I have to take note of how it grows this spring.  I did know that the purple is sweeter as well as a novelty for its color.  I like variegated leaves etc. of edibles.

  • Thanks so much everyone!  I'll try locating mine in full sun.

    Chris I found 4-5 foot long fresh canes at Food City this week, its a popular ingredient in Mexican Christmas Punch (Ponche de Navidad) so the canes are super fresh and plump. They were only $5 for two canes.  That's why I got enough to plant some.

    • Good for you Silvia!

      We have had a couple of at freezing nights.  A killer frost will take the cane to the ground, but the root should survive okay.

    • am sure Silvia's doing this, but just in case, planting cane cuttings outdoors at this time of year will probably kill it, since most tropicals are not inclined to sprout or root when cold, and end up being freeze-dried

      best to strike them in tall tin cans(with large bottom holes), and raised under plastic sheet indoors and kept warm and moist.

      you could then transplant the entire thing in a deep hole, the can included, when there's no danger of late frosts. The can will rust out and crumble, but will help contain moisture before it disintegrates. Sugar cane will sprout roots along its length higher up as it grows, so planting deep helps ensure optimal rooting while still young.

    • and speaking of cold-sensitivity being the main issue, i found this one.

      not sure if everyone likes the monsanto approach, as the intent was for 'big-oil' purposes, but i see loads of gastronomical and ornamental implications ;)


    • It seems sugarcane is joining algae and switchgrass as potential diesel /bio-fuel sources.  At least with the type of GE - it is not cross species only other 'grasses'.

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