How Planting Density Affects Number and Yield of Potato Minitubers in a Commercial Glasshouse Production System

A.J.H. van der Veeken, W.J.M. Lommen

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24 Citations (Scopus)


Commercial potato minituber production systems aim at high tuber numbers per plant. This study investigated by which mechanisms planting density (25.0, 62.5 and 145.8 plants/m2) of in vitro derived plantlets affected minituber yield and minituber number per plantlet. Lowering planting density resulted in a slower increase in soil cover by the leaves and reduced the accumulated intercepted radiation (AIR). It initially also reduced light use efficiency (LUE) and harvest index, and thus tuber weights per m2. At the commercial harvest 10 weeks after planting (WAP), LUE tended to be higher at lower densities. This compensated for the lower AIR and led to only slightly lower tuber yields. Lowering planting density increased tuber numbers per (planted) plantlet in all grades. It improved plantlet survival and increased stem numbers per plant. However, fewer stolons were produced per stem, whereas stolon numbers per plant were not affected. At lower densities, more tubers were initiated per stolon and the balance between initiation and later resorption of tubers was more favourable. Early interplant competition was thought to reduce the number of tubers initiated at higher densities, whereas later-occurring interplant competition resulted in a large fraction of the initiated tubers being resorbed at intermediate planting densities. At low planting densities, the high number of tubers initiated was also retained. Shortening of the production period could be considered at higher planting densities, because tuber number in the commercial grade > 9 mm did not increase any more after 6 WAP
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-119
JournalPotato Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Cultivar earliness
  • In vitro
  • Resorption
  • Stem
  • Stolon
  • Tuber initiation


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