How to Grow Sugarcane in a Greenhouse

How to Grow Sugarcane in a Greenhouse

Learn How-to Grow Sugarcane Plants from Seeds using Greenhouses

Sugarcane is usually grown only in tropical climates, but you can grow it in a greenhouse in any climate. Sugarcane can grow up to 13′ in height if you let it, but instead you can harvest it when it is 3′ tall to save space in your greenhouse. This is not an especially difficult crop to grow as long as you keep your greenhouse warm enough, which may require powered heating and insulation in wintertime depending on how cold winters get where you live as well. Sugarcane does not tolerate frosts. Heating is also necessary during the planting phase.


Planting Sugarcane in Your Greenhouse

After buying sugarcane pieces for planting, saw off the tops into 6” pieces and plant the freshest of these pieces into seed trays with bottom drainage holes and water collection trays. Warning: wear gloves whenever handling sugarcane stalks, since the leaves can be sharp enough to cut. Soil should consist of one part compost to one part coarse sand. Lay the pieces flat on top of the soil and sprinkle them lightly with compost, then mist them with warm water. Put transparent seed tray covers onto your seed trays and place the seed trays above heating elements and in full sun or otherwise bright light.

Keeping Your Sugarcane Warm

The soil should be warmed up to a temperature between 68 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and it should stay at that temperature over time. The air temperature in your greenhouse should be maintained between 65 and 75 degrees. Using ventilation can be helpful in maintaining a consistent air temperature. The sugarcane pieces and the soil they lie on should be watered only occasionally and lightly until the sugarcane seedlings sprout: expect this to happen in around 3 weeks. Once the seedlings are about 3” tall, remove the seed tray covers. Next fill planter pots that have bottom drainage holes and are 6” in diameter with one part compost to one part potting soil to one part coarse sand and transplant the seedlings to these pots very carefully – one to a pot. Re-potting will be required later on as the plants grow larger. Warning: they grow quickly if taken care of effectively.


Taking Care of Your Sugarcane Plants

Place your pots in full sun conditions and water them enough to keep the soil moist. You may need to provide additional lighting in wintertime, to provide enough for your sugarcane plants to thrive. Pests are usually not a problem for sugarcane, but sometimes plants will be stunted with mottled or streaked leaves – this is a sign of a viral infection, and these plants should be removed from your greenhouse and safely disposed of, to prevent a spread of the virus to your other sugarcane plants. You can harvest your sugar cane by hand, but again, take care to wear gloves and other protective clothing if necessary, as the leaves are sharp.


Greenhouse Requirements for Sugarcane

Growing sugarcane in a greenhouse also requires the right greenhouse equipment, but using the right equipment will serve you for most other crops you grow there as well. Sugarcane plants can share your greenhouse with crops that require very similar growing conditions if you wish. In terms of equipment, you will want benches in your greenhouse to place seed trays and pots on. Slotted benches are best, as excess water that drains from seed trays and pots can then drain onto the floor, where you can mop it up.


Greenhouse Equipment

Aluminum Greenhouse Shelving

Benches are also an easy way to grow sugarcane seedlings, as you can place heating elements beneath them. In this case, however, you will want water collection trays beneath the seed trays so that the heating elements do not get wet. Collapsible benches can also be useful, as you can more easily store them when you are not using them. Greenhouses also normally have vents for temperature control that can be opened during hot summer days and closed for cooler nights. These are useful for sugarcane as well because sugarcane should not get unreasonably hot during the day, or growth will be slowed.


More on Maintaining Your Sugarcane-growing Greenhouse

Setting a heater to keep temperatures at a certain level automatically is also a good idea, since sugarcane plants are especially vulnerable to cold. Drip irrigation systems are useful to save you the labor of manually watering large crops. Also, clean a greenhouse thoroughly at least once a year by scrubbing and hosing down benches, walls, the floor and the ceiling to keep out pests and diseases. Keeping the ceiling clean is especially important, since a dirty ceiling may block some of the light that your plants need, and sugarcane plants in particular require full sun conditions. Maintain your greenhouse and your sugarcane plants well, and a productive sugarcane harvest will be the result.

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This post was written by:

EarthCare Greenhouses - who has written 5 posts on EarthCare Greenhouse Gardening Advice Blog.

EarthCare greenhouses is a family owned company based out of Youngsville, Louisiana USA. EarthCare provides extremely unique, high quality, and very affordable hobby greenhouse gardening supplies & accessories, available at retail and wholesale pricing. The company strives to produce a customer and visitor experience, that creates better gardeners and thus better gardens, across the world.

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2 Responses to “How to Grow Sugarcane in a Greenhouse”

  1. Laura from Garden Girls Alliance Says:

    You know, it never actually crossed my mind, that I could be growing Sugarcane within a greenhouse environment. Typically, I thought sugarcane was always grown in a field and usually in the Southern part of the United States of America, but I am not a cane expert either.

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  2. Marion Says:

    This is an interesting article. I have never thought that we can grow a sugarcane in a greenhouse and even in a winter or non-tropical countries.

    I often think that sugarcane can only be found on tropical countries like South America and even in Asia like in Philippines. Having a sugarcane plantation requires a huge area of land and warm temperatures. So if you will go to Philippines or other tropical areas you will see sugarcane plantation in “haciendas” or rich family farm land because it really need an enormous manpower and huge acre of land to maintain.

    I think it’s worth trying to start a sugarcane planting in a greenhouse. Given the fact the the greenhouse temperature can be managed. And doing it in a greenhouse is more cost effective and organized to grow.

    Imagine the profit and business opportunity of sugarcane planting. No need to go to tropical countries. Just buy a commercial greenhouse, voila! a sugarcane plantation!

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