How to Plant & Grow Sugar Cane

Overview

Sugar cane is a tall perennial grass reaching heights of 12 feet or more. It is a tropical grass that requires year-round temperatures between 70 and 95 degrees F to survive and grow, according to Florida State University Cooperative Extension. The tall, swordlike leaves of the sugar cane make a visual barrier or a wind break when planted along a perimeter, or plant a small garden crop and harvest the stalks for their sweet sugar content.

Step 1

Dig a 5- to 9-inch-deep trench at the planting site. Full sun is best for optimum growth, according to the University of Florida.

Step 2

Spread 1 lb. of 8-8-8 fertilizer for every 10 feet in the bottom of your planting trench. Cover over with 2 inches of soil.

Step 3

Cut sugar cane stalks into 2- to 3-foot sections and lay the sections in the trench 2 inches apart. Cover with soil and pat down firmly.

Step 4

Water the area until the soil is damp to a depth of at least 3 inches. Keep the soil slightly damp but not saturated. You will see new shoots after 3 weeks provided temperatures have remained above 70 degrees F.

Step 5

When the shoots are 4 inches tall, add 1 inch of soil along the top of the planting trench. Continue to build up the soil as the shoots grow until you have a 6- to 8-inch mound around the base of your sugar cane stalks.

Step 6

Keep the stalks damp throughout the growing season. Water every 2 to 3 days during hot dry weather, less in cool rainy weather.

Tips and Warnings

  • Don't plant sugar cane along walkways or pathways--the leaves have sharp edges that can cut and irritate passersby, according to the University of Florida.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Knife
  • 8-8-8 Fertilizer
  • Water

References

  • University of Florida Cooperative Extension: Backyard Sugar Cane
  • Royal Botanical Gardens KEW: Sugar Cane
Keywords: sugar cane, ornamental grasses, food harvest

About this Author

Olivia Parker has been a freelance writer with Demand Studios for the past year, writing for Garden Guides and eHow. She has studied herbal and alternative medicine and worked as a landscape artist and gardener. Parker is currently pursuing a Bachelors of Arts from Boston University Online.