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Sugar cane

Sugar cane

Just wondering if any body is growing sugar cane in the Central Valley. I see plants around that look like it but I am not sure. A few years back I was in Portugal and it grew everywhere and the climate was much like here only more humid. And if it is grown what is the best way to do it? Thanks Jeff

The following thread was started by jeff of lodi on September 29, 2005 at 2:15 pm PST

Yup... it does fine

Just plant a 6 to 8 inch piece of sugercane side ways into the ground and water. The culture is simular to bamboo. Likes plenty of water.... leaf tips get a little nipped by frost but otherwise it does fine.


The above followup was added by Jeff on September 29, 2005 at 2:38 pm PST.

Sugar cane in Portugal

Jeff of lodi,

You have mistaken giant reeds (Arundo dorax)
for sugar cane.

Sugar cane does grow in Portugal, especially in the south, but is very rare.

The above followup was added by abiu(.pt) on September 29, 2005 at 2:57 pm PST.


Careful though- Can be quite invasive, even in temperate climates. it grows just fine in auckland, and is, along with Taro and bananas typical of gardens belonging to families from Pacfic islands [big part of the Auckland ethnic make up].

The above followup was added by Virgil on September 29, 2005 at 6:01 pm PST.


Thanks, I guess I made a mistake but I did get some sugare cane in a market that made me think the reeds were sugar cane. Are the canes used in the bulings there?

The above followup was added by jeff of lodi on September 30, 2005 at 8:27 am PST.

Use of canes

50 years ago or so, the giant reeds were used extensively. I suppose it kept them in check.

They were used to make mats to dry fruits and other stuff. They were used to support tomato and bean plants.

The canes are weak and brittle so they do not have much use in construction. They are not at all like bamboo. Nevertheless, the canes were used in modest homes, as a false ceiling under the roof tiles. Actually, it looks rather attractive and it is becoming more common to see them being used in that decorative way, again.

The above followup was added by abiu(.pt) on September 30, 2005 at 9:09 am PST.

no, you can grow cane

No, Jeff #2 has *not* mistaken cane for Giant Reed. You can grow sugarcane quite successfully in the Central Valley. You see it rowed out frequently in the Fresno area, for example.

Most large plantings you see now are probably from Southeast Asians who have tried their familiar food crop tried and have found out it does fine. It is NOT arundo donax, it looks quite different, being bluer and shorter and clumping at the base.

I even know of single plants and even row plantings in the Watsonville area, which makes me think they have already been successful in getting the cane to sweeten up.

It is relatively hardy, winter dormant with frost, but doing best with high summer heat. It has a reputation for being very hard on soils as a commecial crop.

We sell a very small amount of it in 1g cans, but you can also root it out from mature canes as described earlier.

Don't be afraid to experiment with sugarcane!


The above followup was added by luen on September 30, 2005 at 9:13 am PST.

I have sugar cane in Waterford CA, east of Modesto.

I did not really care for it this year, and it has not done well, never really watered or fertilized it; plus getting zapped more this last winter.

I had a week of 28/28F the end of November 2004. I had a max low of 26/27F the winter of 2003, and it didn't kill it below ground either, though it does die partially above ground.

I do get canes 6 to 8 feet in tall and some up to 2 inches in diameter a the base.

Fun to grow, but is very fibrous. I have the plan green type, but I hear their is a red type, which is much softer and has far more juice. I have not been able to find this one, and would like to rid myself of the green form this this red one.

I just bought my stock at a flea market. I don't know if there is hardier strain or not. I do see orientals growing it near their strawberry fields, and it seems to survive above ground, but may they are just dead and still standing. I do see sugar cane growing at times in Modesto, Merced and Turlock which is surviving above ground winter freezes, but here is the advantage larger cities and City Island effect.

It does like to spread, but not too fast, sort of like clumping bamboo.

I about the same low temps as Modesto, but get colder longer then Modesto, if you are in a larger town and closer to the delta air flow, you should do better, if not in a cold pocket.


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on September 30, 2005 at 10:30 am PST.

If you want to try some of this variety, and you are in the are, I'll give you some.


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on September 30, 2005 at 10:32 am PST.

my mistake

Yes I made a mistake I was thinking about the canes I saw growing all over Portugal and yes I saw them used as a false ceiling in a rental we stayed in near Loule. Yes David I would like to try to grow some but not sure when I could get some. Jeff

The above followup was added by jeff of lodi on September 30, 2005 at 11:40 am PST.

Madame Peeless Smoke

I used to have this variety of sugarcane growing at my house in Lemoore and it was a very beautiful dark purple color. I was wondering if anyone knows where I can find a source for this one again?

William Visalia Ca

The above followup was added by William on September 30, 2005 at 8:31 pm PST.

Jeff, I am probably not doing anything it until spring

Maybe by spring we can connect some how.

I just got my start from a flea market piece, that was 5 plus feet tall and nearly a couple feet thick. I cut it in 1 foot sections and just barely buried below soil level after it was nice and warm outside. I had plants coming up at each joint. If we dug up a main rooted cluster, it would produce much better right off the bat I think.

I cut it in sections and potted it up, because it was still in late winter, and wanted to protect it. Other wise putting it in the warm spring ground would of been ok.

I have seen various online sugar cane for sale, but it usually runs about $ $12, and not sure of the size.


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on September 30, 2005 at 9:25 pm PST.

Almost forgot William, seems someone around a year ago, mentioned they saw some red sugar cane.

Seems that about a year ago, someone on Cloudforest mentioned something about a Red Sugar Cane to me, but do not remember who it was.


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on September 30, 2005 at 9:28 pm PST.

Red sugarcane


I'm not sure which variety your refferring to, but the Madame Peeless Smoke variety is a very dark purple to maroon color. The canes, the leaves, and all parts of it are this color. Even if you never would be able to harvest the canes it would be worth growing just as an ornamental because of its color. It had a very sweet cane too when harvested at summers end. I want to find a source and start growing it here again.

William Visalia Ca

The above followup was added by William on October 02, 2005 at 6:37 am PST.

Madame Pele's Smoke

William, I think that is the one I have. I have a couple from Exotica. They are Rainbow and I believe Madame Pele. I can send you a couple of sections if you would like some. Hopefully you could Id it. Contact me offline to arrange details. Or if you can wait until February I could bring some to the CCA meeting.

The above followup was added by benp on October 02, 2005 at 10:54 am PST.

Sugar Cane


I think I remember seeing Rainbow variety at Exotica. I passed on it at the time. Is there anything special about rainbow?

The Madam Peeless Smoke variety I had came from Ben Poirier. In my opinion it is one of the most beautiful varieties with its deep maroon color.

I would be glad to get a start off these from you in Feb. I will mark my calendar and send you an email reminder before the CCA meeting.

Thanks again for the offer.

William Visalia Ca

The above followup was added by William on October 02, 2005 at 11:16 am PST.

Are these sugar cane varieties softer, with more juice?


The above followup was added by DavidLJ48, Waterford CA, zone9 on October 02, 2005 at 11:51 am PST.

sugar cane varieties

Rainbow is hard and woody in my opinion. It is very ornamental. Much better tasting and easier is Madame Pele's Smoke. William, Remind me before the meeting with an email and I will bring them then.

The above followup was added by benp on October 02, 2005 at 12:18 am PST.

where can I buy sugar cane?

I am interested in growing sugar cane for personal consumption...replanting my land after Katrina razed it...I live in the south Louisiana so I should have no difficulty. However, I don't know anything about the varieties/cultivars of cane. Any advice is appreciated.

The above followup was added by Jeff Bertrand on October 18, 2005 at 9:33 am PST.

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