Peanuts as houseplants can be enjoyed for both flowers and food

February 1, 2023

America loves peanuts so much that two peanut farmers have been elected president, Thomas Jefferson and Jimmy Carter.

Statistics indicate that women and children prefer creamy peanut butter, while most men prefer chunky peanut butter. Americans living on the East Coast prefer creamy, while those on the West Coast prefer crunchy.

It is easy to grow peanut plants in a pot indoors. You can grow them as houseplants and watch them bloom in just 40 days, or you can go all the way and grow them for the nuts.

Because peanuts form underground, it is important that you use a deep pot. Choose a pot that is at least 18-20 inches across and 18 inches deep for each plant, and fill it with well-draining potting soil.

The temperature must be above 70 F for the seeds to germinate. In about a week to 10 days, they will sprout.

Peanuts (Arachis hypogaea) are tropical plants that enjoy warm, slightly humid conditions, and won’t survive below 32 F. When growing peanuts in containers, choose the sunniest place in your house. The plants need at least 5-6 hours of direct sunlight.

To grow peanuts in pots, choose rich potting soil that drains well. Use unsalted, unroasted peanuts in the shell, or buy peanut seeds from a nursery.

The ideal pH range is 6.0-6.5. Gently break open the shell and plant the seeds two inches deep.

Keep the soil slightly moist but never soggy. Never let the soil dry out completely. If you just want to grow peanuts for their foliage and flowers, there is nothing more to do but keep your plant watered and in full sun.

But if you want to grow peanuts, here is where the magic comes in. 

Peanuts bloom with sweet pea-like yellow flowers. After they are fertilized, the flowers bend down and force themselves under the soil. The peanuts form at the end of these flower stems, called "pegs."

The base of your peanut plant needs to be completely covered with soil to increase the growth of the underground peanuts. When your plant is around 8-12 inches tall, add more soil around its base. This “hilling up” is like what you do when hilling potato plants. Keep adding more soil until your plant reaches 18-20 inches tall.

You probably do not need to fertilize your plant. As legumes, like beans or peas, peanuts can produce their own nitrogen from the air. If your soil is very poor, you can feed your plant with a general liquid fertilizer, diluted to half its strength. Avoid adding a high-nitrogen fertilizer.

The time from planting to harvesting your peanuts should be 100-150 days. When the leaves turn yellow, the underground peanuts are ripe.

To harvest, pull up the entire plant and let it dry in the sun. After it is dry, shake off any soil and gently break off the peanuts.

For a cheerful, yellow-flowered houseplant, grow some peanuts in a pot. Charlie Brown would be proud.


  • Paul Barbano writes about gardening from his home in Rehoboth Beach. Contact him by writing to P. O. Box 213, Lewes, DE 19958.

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