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Hello Permies!

I'm planing on putting in some sugar cane someplace in the garden and I'm not sure where the best place to plant it is.  Everywhere I read is says to plant sugar cane in full sun but we all know what that can mean here - fried plants come the summer heat.  I have an eastern exposure area that gets afternoon shade, but might it be too much shade for a good crop, or a perfect situation for this climate?

If you have successfully planted sugar cane and had a good harvest come fall what type of sun exposure have you used?  Of if your sugar cane endeavors have been dismal failures I'd like to know that too so the rest of us don't repeat your mistakes.

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sugar cane grows so beautifully under full blazing summer sun in las vegas. It could get as hot as 115F here during summer, so not much difference with phx summers.  It is the mojave winters  which kill it.

Hi Silvia,

I am here in the East Valley and have been growing sugar cane for about 6 years now.  It does indeed need full sun, super drainage and it does not fry in the summer - it grows lush.  Like bamboo it grows out as well as up, but not as hugely invasive as bamboo.

If you are able to get it into a full eastern spot where the afternoon shade does not come on until well into the afternoon it should do well.

Don't plant near walls, foundation or large trees.

Hope that helps.

I'm interested in growing sugar cane as well. I have big stock tanks I was planning on putting it in and place it near an eastern wall. Does anyone know a good source for sugar cane starts ??

Chris this is a tough time of year to find starts.  Also - the stock tanks may be okay, but the root structure can get huge - just an FYI and you need to add drainage holes.

Try Alex's Tropica Mango to see if he has some for sale this time of year.

buying from a nursery will ensure you have a live one, but will cost a lot  more. I see sugarcane being sold in practically all hispanic grocery stores here in vegas. You most likely  have them there in phx as well, considering your demographics.

you could strike sugar cane from cuttings. A cane with at least one node(one segment) would likely strike if you plant it an angle with  the node  peering just slightly above the ground, and the whiskery periphery(root buds) is below soil level and kept moist and warm. A cane two nodes long and with longer internodes would have better chances, since it can rely on its   food and moisture  supply longer until it finally becomes self-supporting.

when choosing sugar cane cuttings, choose the thickest and most turgid. Wrinkled ones are probably already dying or dead. Sometimes, though, the wrinkling  actually indicates that the cutting is in 'survival mode' and you'd see nodes being turgid or even already sprouting(much like sweet potatoes shrivel when it starts to sprout) Choose it instead, but take note that this  needs to be planted and kept moist  immediately, at least before its main depot of water runs out. The developing nodes cause the shriveling of the main segment, drawing off its moisture and sugars.

All accurate notes, Rafael.  We harvested the bulk of our crop just a couple of weeks ago to donate to the elephants at the Zoo.  The current canes are not growing much because of the cold.

Chris, if the store-bought canes are plastic wrapped and they have a node they can easily be grown as Rafael notes.

hey, i will take 'slow growth' anytime. Have never really attempted growing sugar cane here as almost certain it will  end in heartbreak when winter comes. Slow growth is the lesser evil compared to expiration... Having zone envy again, i am not? lol

btw, if the zoo elephants are of the asian type, they will certainly go 'nostalgic' about the treat, since sugarcane is a native of bangladesh/eastern india. 

exactly what they search for back home when their sweet tooth-- or tusk, gets activated :)

Rafael, what is your Sunset zone?  We are 13.

we are sunset zone 11 apparently.

or zone 8b to 9A-B per USDA. 

i am at ~ western side of town which is 8b, but managed to have lemongrass resurrect from the 'dead' after two springs, so just maybe, my pessimism with sugarcane is unfounded.. Will probably give it a try next spring!

Rafael, if you have some success with lemon grass then you might have some with the sugar cane. Once it gets over its cold soil feet dormancy, it grows very fast.

you betcha! I have to look at the glass being half-full than half-empty ;)

have been eyeing a property with a clump of  sugarcane as i drive by a  thoroughfare here, but never really stopped by to ask the owner if it is something that needs to be replanted yearly..

have grown  a couple varieties  in the philippines and  quite ornamental, aside from being delicious. Have been searching for the purple 'tortoise-shell' variety here, but haven't had luck. Will probably have to order online.

Rafael I grow the standard green/white and the heirloom purple sometimes called Pele's Smoke or Madam Pele - not sure if that is the purple one you are thinking of.


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