How to Grow Sugar Cane from Seed

Native to tropical regions, sugar cane is a plant that can grow up to 12 feet tall, and is the source for much of the sugar consumed in the world. According to the University of Florida, the sugar cane found throughout the world comes from different versions of one multi-species hybrid. Because the genetic characteristics are not found in the seeds, sugar cane isn't grown from actual seed, but rather from "seed pieces" or "billets," which are 2- to 3-foot-long sections of stalk. You may be able to grow sugar cane indoors in northern climates, but to grow it outdoors, you need a tropical or subtropical climate.

Sugar cane stalks can grow as high as 12 feet.

Step 1

Purchase a sugar cane stalk that contains at least one bud.

Step 2

Till the soil to break up the surface, and create furrows (depressions) in the soil for each row of sugar cane you are planting. Dig the furrows 4 to 6 inches deep, and keep each row at least 4 feet apart.

Step 3

Apply fertilizer to the plot. Use 1 pound of 8-8-8 fertilizer for every 10 feet of furrow length. The numbers 8-8-8 signify the ratio of nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium in the fertilizer.

Step 4

Cut the stalk into pieces about 6 inches long. Make sure each piece has at least one bud; this can help improve germination.

Step 5

Add about 2 inches of soil on top of the fertilizer in the furrows.

Step 6

Lay the stalks down into the furrows. It doesn't matter which direction the buds face, as they naturally break through the surface of the soil. Cover the stalks with a layer of loosely packed soil between 2 and 5 inches deep. Add enough water to the soil to keep it damp, but not soaking wet.

Step 7

Add soil to the furrows as the sugar cane grows through the soil until the furrow becomes slightly elevated.

Step 8

Continue to water the plants. Once the height of the stalks reaches 6 to 8 inches, begin adding more water, as the stalks can withstand standing pools of water for short amounts of time.

Carson Barrett

Carson Barrett began writing professionally in 2009. He has been published on various websites. Barrett is currently attending Bucks County Community College, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in sports management.