You are here

Potato Breeding

Potatoes are the first crop that we started breeding at the Open Plant Breeding Foundation. We experimented with grafting potato scions onto tomato rootstock, which turns the potato plant into a vine with many flowers along its length. This turned out to be much more trouble than it was worth -- it's much easier to let Nature do most of the work. We have had a number of volunteers growing test plot of potatoes, and we would be happy to have more, so let us know if you would like to join this project!

There is a lot more information about potato breeding in our wiki.


The Kitchen Garden Magazine August 2002 contained an article on the work of Dr Jack Dunnet. He uses a different method to encourage flower formation. I'll quote from the picture caption. 'A mother tuber is placed on a large stone and covered with compost to set it growing. Once growing, the compost is then washed off with a hose to discourage new tuber formation, so that the plant concentrates on producing flowers and fruit.' It also looks like he's tied a string around the stone and then attached it to the top of the greenhouse to act a a support. Personally I think that Raoul's method is more fun! I was a little supprized when I found out which method of grafting he uses. I thought that the grafting method used to graft resistant rootstocks tomato to tomato for contaminated greenhouse soil would be the most obvious one. I had intended to try some grafts this summer with the Sarpo potatoes I have just recieved, just to see if I could do it. As you haven't had much success with grafting i'll try both methods and report back which one is easiest.


Would I be able to get some tubers of these potatoes?

Merle Simrell


Would like to get seed potatoes of these sarpo potatoes mira, axona?

I live in USA Thopmson-Morgan only offers them in UK{ can some one help me out}

The Sarpo potatoes are a new introduction onto the market in Europe, as such the seed potatoes are all produced in Europe mostly Britain. I belive that due to phyto-sanitary laws, seed potatoes produced outside North America cannot be imported there. This will present some problems to you in obtaining them. Your best two options that I can see are to either contact your relevent government department to find out what you would have to do in order to import seed potatoes for research purposes. Or to make a start with the varieties you have avaliable to you and include the Sarpo varieties when they become available. The Sarvari Reseach Trust continues to produce new resistant varieties with different and better cooking qualities and some of these should make it to America eventualy.

I have grown Sarpo axona this year it is resistant to blight. The blight first reached my potatoes 3 weeks ago and there is still no sign of blight on axona the other varieties of potato have all gone over and I lost some tubers of Ratte to blight as well as the foliage. However it has got something else I haven't been able to identify. It is not blight I know what that looks like from the other potatoes and the tomatoes that are still standing. It appears to have spread in from some Charlotte potatoes I was growing next to them. They are still standing but they have necrotic patches not specks and have gone a bit yellow. Another problem with these varieties is they are very suceptible to potato cyst eelworm (yellow and white) breeding for HR to these pests is complicated because all the best modern cultivars have a functioning VR to yellow PCE there is no known VR to the white form. There are also some VR genes to virus diseases that crop up in a few otherwise very useful cultivars and how to elimenate them is a problem that is presently delaying my potato breeding efforts.

Hi Everyone, I'm new here and I'm looking for blight resistant potato material for my breeding project here in NW Washington State, USA. I've just recently heard of the Sarpo varieties .... does anyone have any of this in the USA? Any hints on how to get some? Who is handling these in UK? Other? Are they in Canada?

Anyone else working with potatoes with any good material to share?

thanks in advance for any help, sharing, encouragement, information...

All best wishes