Picking your potato variety

You can't beat new potatoes freshly dug out of your own garden! Choose your perfect potato variety based on your harvesting and cooking preferences.

When should I plant
  • Jan
  • Feb
  • Mar
  • Apr
  • May
  • Jun
  • Jul
  • Aug
  • Sep
  • Oct
  • Nov
  • Dec
  • Harvest in 90-160 days

Plant both early and main varieties for a continued harvest throughout the season. Tui Certified Seed Potatoes are available in a wide range of varieties.

Potatoes in a flash - early varieties

If you’re after a quick crop these three will come to fruition in 90–100 days. Get them in right at the start of the season so you can have them on the Christmas table.

  • Rocket is the fastest producing of early varieties and provides a good yield. Great for growing in containers. Rocket is a good boiling potato with waxy texture.
  • Swift is fast growing with exceptional taste, great for growing in containers. Swift potatoes will not discolour or disintegrate on steaming.
  • Cliff Kidney performs best in soils that contain peat. An excellent, firm potato for early cropping. Great for growing in containers and best for boiling.

Main crop varieties

Main crop varieties are ready to harvest within 130-160 days.

  • Heather is a reliable and steady cropper. With long oval tubers and white flesh, it has excellent cooking qualities - in particular boiling, mashing and roasting and is ready in approximately 130 days.
  • Nadine requires adequate soil moisture at all times. It is a lovely round, white waxy potato particularly good for boiling and is ready to harvest in approximately 140 days.
  • Rua is a good producer that will adapt and produce heavily in most soil types. With a white tuber and white flesh, Rua has excellent cooking qualities - in particular roasting and boiling and keeps well. It is ready to harvest in approximately 160 days.

For a bumper crop - high yielders

Ensure a continued supply throughout the season with these varieties. Grow plenty for the whole family with the below varieties:

  • Ilam Hardy is very adaptable and will give a good yield over a wide variety of conditions. It has light blight resistance and is a great variety for growing in containers. Ilam Hardy has excellent cooking qualities, in particular boiling and frying.
  • Agria is high yielding and great for growing in containers. They have excellent cooking qualities – in particular boiling, and store well.
  • Summer Delight is a popular variety and grows well throughout New Zealand in most soils and has high resistance to bruising damage and soft rot. Use Summer Delight for all types of cooking except frying.
  • Summer Beauty is a new variety this season. A cross between Summer Delight and multipurpose Coliban, Summer Beauty is disease resistant and produces extremely high yields. With an oval-round shape, with white skin and flesh, it has excellent flavour and cooking qualities, in particular boiling, mashing and roasting.
  • Moonlight is a very high yielder with excellent drought and wind tolerance. It has excellent cooking qualities – in particular boiling and frying.

Add some colour

If you are leaving the skin on your potatoes the below varieties add colour to your salads and roast veges.

  • Red Rascal as the name suggests has a lovely red tuber. It is a reliable steady cropper that is resistant to late blight and powdery scab and is suitable to be grown organically. Red Rascal has great all round cooking qualities.
  • Desiree likes reasonably fertile soils and has an oval pink/red tuber and offers good all round cooking qualities.
  • Purple Passion stands out with its oval purple tuber and cream flesh and has excellent cooking qualities – in particular French fries and boiling. Purple Passion has moderate resistance to blight and powdery scab.

Annabel Langbein’s picks

Annabel likes to try different heritage varieties of potatoes, and plant a variety to give a good harvest throughout the year. Her top picks are:

Jersey Benne and Swift potatoes are my favourites for early season – I like to get them in right at the start of the season so we can have them on the Christmas table. For main crop potatoes I find it hard to go past Agria, as they are so good cooked every which way, and they keep really well! If you get the chance to trysome heritage varieties look out for Pink Fir and the French Ratte potatoes.

Tui Tips:

  • Potatoes are gross feeders so need a lot of nutrients. To get the best from your crop, feed with a specialty fertiliser like Tui Potato Food. If your potatoes are planted in pots and containers, feed with an all purpose variety, such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.
  • Early varieties are ready to harvest when the flowers are fully opened, approximately three months after planting, (except for Nadine, Rocket and Swift which may have few or no flowers on them). Main and late cropping varieties are ready when the foliage dies off.

Follow our Potato Growing Guide here >

Post a comment

Picking your potato variety Comments

  • Fantastic job you do on this site ! How about a map showing best areas of NZ to grow different vege crops & varieties suitable ALSO

    Michael Ibbotson

  • I found this article on Potatoes interesting and informative. I love potatoes and am always keen to try different varieties.

    Tharon Matthews

  • That's great to hear! Thanks for your feedback Tharon. Happy potato planting from the Tui Team.


  • Hi Michael, thanks for your feedback. We do have a planting calendar here: www.tuigarden.co.nz/page/planting-calendar which shows the best time to plant different vege crops in the different areas of New Zealand. We will keep your feedback in mind regrading the varieties as well. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team.


  • My favourite potatoe is Lisette, good for an early variety, lovely flavour and good cropper. Last year I also planted Heathers and although they had a good crop hardly any were eadable as they are very prone to the potatoe physillid several of my gardening friends had the same problem.

    Melva Hewetson

  • We want to try summer delight potatoes but can't find where to get seed


  • Hi Leonie, if you let us know where you live we can check stockists in your area. Alternatively check at your local Mitre 10 store, if they don't have stock you can ask if they are able to order some in for you. Thanks, Tui Team.


  • Greetings Folk, just a comment about favourite potatoes, I always grow plenty of spuds as I have a big garden. My favourite variety is definitely Desiree, very good cropper, versatile and great taste. First plantings at the end of August and eating them from mid December and that's here at Mosgiel Dunedin. I'll continue with plantings right through to end of JasnuaryA very under-rated excellent spud in my opinion. I'll keep planting Desiree until end of January. I also plant a few rows of Rua as a winter eater. Both great and proven spuds.

    Tony Robinson

  • They had them at Oderings garden centre in Palmerston North if that helps

    Fiona Sharland

  • Can I plant potatoes in clay soil which is soggy now but very hard in summer. Debbie


    • Hi Debbie, planting potatoes in straight clay is not advisable. Potatoes like a soft loose soil, that is free draining and friable. If you are not able to cultivate the soil and blend in some organic matter then an alternative could be to grow your potatoes in pots or containers or in bales of hay or straw. Check out our Potato Growing Guide here. Happy gardening from the Tui Team 

      Tui Team

    • Thank you for your very helpful and informative answer on growing Potatoes. Tried growing in containers, Desiree . Very tasty. Thanks Debbie

      Debbie Patel

  • Hi I would like to grow Moemoe maori potatos....can you please advise the closest outlet ....I am in the South Canterbury area. Gae

    Gae Smith

    • Hi Gae, unfortunately we don't have this variety available this season. We suggest checking at your local garden centre or purchasing online here at Country Trading: https://www.countrytrading.co/products/moe-moe-seed-potatoes Happy potato planting ^Tui Team 

      Tui Team

  • Very good information thanks a lot Renata Taylor

    Renata Taylor

  • I'm on the hunt for a seriously floury potato variety like Dunbar Standards, British Queens or Kerrs Pinks. Any idea where to source these in NZ?


    • Hi Stephan, we aren't aware of those varieties being available in NZ but some suggestions are: Red Rascal for Kerrs Pink and Ilam Hardy, Agria, Summer Delight for the other floury varieties. Conditions throughout the season can also vary the texture of potatoes. Happy potato growing.

      Tui Team

  • Have found the Jersey Benne and the Heather Variety the best in crop and flavour


  • 2020 will be the 4th year I've grown Liseta spuds. Recommend these.

    Barbara Gordon

  • Can you tell me how long it takes to grow Summer Beauty seed potatoes?

    carol cornall

    • Hi Carol, Summer Beauty are a main crop seed potato and take approximately 150 days from planting to harvest. Once the foliage dies down, they will be ready. The wait is worthwhile, you won't be disappointed.  

      The Tui Team

  • Are any varieties resistant to psyllid? I used to grow lovely spuds but these days only get marbles, thanks to those little beasties. Can't grow tomatoes either :(


    • Hi Ann, no, unfortunately there are no potato varieties resistant to psyllid. Plant early in the season, and plant the early potatoes such as Rocket, Swift, Jersey Benne and Cliff Kidney. Protect plants from frost, place a fine mesh over the potatoes (such as fly screen mesh or net curtain mesh) so that light can still get in. Hopefully you will get a crop before the psyllid becomes a problem later in the season. Make use any infected plant material is not composted, but disposed of in the rubbish so that the psyllid cannot overwinter.

      Tui Team

  • I would love to have a go at growing potatoes in a container. Thanks for your information on growing potatoes.

    Cynthia Harland-Brown

  • What potatoes are best to plant now in a school garden which will be ready in Feb/March when school goes back?


    • Hi Joan, any main crop potatoes are suitable for February March harvest, such as Summer Delight, Ilam Hardy, Agria, Nadine, Desiree, Heather and Moonlight. These crops are all main crop varieties, they flower and then die down naturally, then they are ready to harvest. 

      Lianne, Tui Team

  • Over the last 3 years I continue to grow my Potatoes in Buckets as my ground has Scab within it, the outstanding Potatoe is Agria by a country mile, the rest are a distant 2nd, this year I will try some Red ones as they seem to keep better but they will only play a support roll to Agria.

    Alan Simpson

  • Hi Cynthia, here's how I do it. Get the $1.10 8L buckets from a hardware store, drill 3 x 20mm holes in the bottom, put a small square of weed mat in the bottom, then about 25mm of garden soil, it doesn't let the water run through it like potting mix, put your tuber in and cover it with about a 100mm of potting mix, then as the potato shoots appear, keep covering them right up to about 20mm from the top of the bucket, never to the top as it is difficult to water them due to run off. I've found that a 50/50 mix of Blood & Bone & General Garden fertiliser works well, I mix it in with my top up potting mix, this method works for me here in Hawkes Bay. Out of frustration I spray to try and combat the psyllid beast! Good luck!

    Alan Simpson

    • Thanks for that great information Alan, I am inspired to have a go at growing potatoes in containers. I think I need to find out more about psyllid though, never heard of that pest before.


  • Ilam Hardy are our absolute favourites but the taste of any potatoes grown at home beat bought spuds hands down!

    Sheryl Bainbridge

  • The potato tower looks like such a great idea for smaller garden areas. Is it suitable to do the tower on a concrete pad?

    Gabrielle Stott

    • Hi Gabrielle, the potato tower could be placed on a concrete pad, but it will stain the concrete due to the organic matter in the potting mix.


  • I tried something new this year. Used my petrol powered augur to make holes about 300-400mm deep in my fairly stony ground. Put a spud in the bottom and returned the soil, sifting it to remove rocks. Was easy to harvest by hand with no damage to the spuds.

    William Hughes-Games

    • Hi William, it is great that you have found a way to successfully grow in your soil, keep adding organic matter after each crop and you will continue to have bumper crops.