Best Fertiliser for Potatoes

An image of ready to cook potatoes grown from best fertilizer for potatoes in Kenya

Are you looking for the best fertiliser for potatoes in Kenya? Has your potato farming business been disappointing despite following best practices? If the answer is yes, this guide was created just for you. Whether it is Shangi potato farming in Kenya or simply farming other varieties such as the Saviola, Toluca, or Mayan Gold, the procedure is similar. Ensure you have a soil test done to know whether the land has the required nutrients.

Also, a soil test will help you know whether you are planting your potatoes in a piece of land that has bacterial wilt. Bacterial wilt is a soil-borne disease that is one of the most destructive diseases in the country. If you are not careful, the bacteria can destroy your entire farm within weeks. 

Shangi Potato Farming in Kenya

Shangi potato farming in Kenya is one of the most profitable agri-business ventures in the country. You can decide to farm the Shangi variety and sell it as a tuber or specialize in producing high-quality potato seeds. Whichever the approach, farming practices are always the same.

Site Selection and Land Preparation

To avoid soil-borne diseases and pests, choose a location where potatoes or tomatoes have not been grown for at least two seasons (one year). Thoroughly plow the land to remove weeds and break up the soil for aeration. Also, avoid grounds that are poorly drained or are rocky.

Shanghai potato farming in Kenya is done in areas with an altitude of between 1500 -2800 meters above sea level. The tubers are planted at a depth of 10cm, with a spacing of 75 centimeters from one furrow to the other. A spacing of 30 centimeters is recommended from one tuber to the other.

How Much Fertiliser Per Acre for Potatoes Should I Apply?

The amount of fertilizer per acre for potatoes to use will depend on the soil test results and the type of fertilizer you are using.

For example, if you are using a commercial fertilizer such as DAP, you will require to apply 500 kg of DAP per HA or 200 kilograms worth of DAP per acre. If the soils are acidic, the best fertilizer would be Monoammonium Phosphate at the rate of 200KG per acre. 

Best Fertiliser for Potatoes in Kenya

The best fertiliser for potatoes should contain several nutrients that are beneficial to the potato. Some of these nutrients are:

  • Nitrogen: Boost growth and increases yields
  • Potassium K: Helps prevent the potatoes from being attacked by plant diseases 
  • Phosphorus P: Helps in cellular division and formation of energetic structures
  • Calcium Ca: Strengthens the cell walls and makes them less susceptible to diseases
  • Sulfur {S}: Important for the production of amino acid cysteine and methionine
  • Iron Fe: Used in chlorophyll synthesis
  • Magnesium Mg: Formation of chlorophyll molecules
  • Zinc: Used for auxin synthesis
  • Boron B: Helps the pollen tube to elongate, resulting in a bigger bulb

How To Identify Nutrient Deficiencies in Potatoes

Nitrogen deficiency is characterized by stunted growth and pale leaves, resulting in reduced yield (size and number). Nitrogen deficiency can be caused by excessive soil pH (low or high), low organic matter, drought conditions, and excessive irrigation.

Excess nitrogen can cause delayed maturity, a hollow heart, cracks, and increased susceptibility to biotic diseases. Also, after harvest, the vines might take longer to cook.


Typical phosphorus deficiency symptoms include fewer tubers, small-sized tubers, stunted growth, yellowing of old leaves, and small dark green younger leaves.

P deficiency may cause delayed maturity and yield reduction.


Calcium deficiency causes stunted root growth, deformed foliar, decreased yields, and low-quality tubers. Also, it is essential to note that Calcium-deficient potato tubers spoil quickly under storage. In addition, lack of calcium in the soil causes the soil structure to degrade.

Some of the main symptoms of calcium deficiency include yellow curled upper leaves, tip burns, and small chlorotic new leaves.

Excessive calcium in the soil prevents magnesium from being absorbed by the plant, resulting in magnesium deficiency. On the other hand, excess phosphorus binds itself to elements such as calcium and zinc, resulting in their deficit.


Magnesium encourages photosynthesis. Without it, there is decreased tuber formation and reduced yields. Magnesium deficiency can result in yield reductions of up to 15%. At the same time, Magnesium-deficient tubers are more prone to breakage during transportation and storage.

The main symptoms of magnesium deficiency are yellowing and browning, wilting, stunted growth, and early crop maturity.

Excess magnesium causes decreased calcium uptake, causing the potatoes to be calcium deficient.


Sulfur (S) deficiency causes stunted growth and pale green or yellow leaves. The leaf count per tuber also decreases.


Boron (B) regulates sugar transport across membranes and is involved in cell division, development, and auxin metabolism.

Boron deficiency causes buds to die and the plants to appear bushy with shorter internodes. The leaf tissue also darkens, and the leaves thicken and roll upward. The farmer should also spot brown necrotic patches with internal rust spots on the tuber.


Symptoms of zinc deficiency include chlorotic (light green or yellow) young leaves that become narrow, upwardly cupped, and develop a burn at the tip. Additional symptoms include green veins, spotting of dead tissue, and blotching.

Manganese (Mn) 

To tell if your plants have a magnesium deficiency, look at whether they have black or brown spots on younger leaves and whether the skin is healthy or not.

By knowing the type of nutrients required, you can make an informed decision on time. If the plants have Zinc deficiency, you should apply a zinc-based fertilizer. All in all, the best fertiliser for potatoes are those that serve the needs of your farm.

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. Solomon

    Can I use Safi fertilizer for potato farming, which one and how much

    1. safiorganic

      This will depend on several factors. For example, if your farm is acidic, We advise you to use Safi biochar. Also, if you do not have proper water irrigation systems biochar will work well because of its ability to trap moisture in the soil. Have you done a soil test yet?

Leave a Reply