Saccharum officinarum, more commonly known as sugar cane, is a tropical perennial grass that is used to make syrup and granulated sugar. Because sugar cane grows best in areas where the average annual minimum temperature is at least 20 degrees F., USDA plant hardiness zones 9 and 10, it can be grown successfully in Georgia and other southern U.S. states. Growing sugar cane in Georgia is simple and will provide your family with plenty of delicious, fresh-cut sugar cane. Besides its benefits as an exotic food, sugar cane can also make an attractive addition to your home landscape.
Things You'll Need
Fresh-cut sugar cane
Purchase a 10 to 12 inch piece of fresh-cut sugar cane from the produce department of your local grocery store. Obtain fresh-cut sugar cane from a reputable online merchant if sugar cane is unavailable in your area.
Select a suitable planting location for your sugar cane in your yard or garden. Choose a location that receives six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day and offers rich, well-draining soil. Till aged manure and peat moss into the top 8 to 12 inches of soil at your selected location to enrich and aerate the topsoil before planting your sugar cane.
Dig a planting trench for your sugar cane that is approximately 4 inches deep and at least 4 inches wider than the length of the sugar cane. Place the sugar cane in the prepared planting trench horizontally. Use the amended soil to fill the planting trench and then tamp down the surface of the soil.
Keep the soil continuously moist, but not wet, for approximately three weeks until the sugar cane sprouts. Continue to water the sugar cane as often as is necessary to keep the soil moist. Check the soil moisture every two to three days and water only when the top quarter inch of soil is slightly dry to the touch.
Fertilize your sugar cane immediately after planting with a water-soluble fertilizer like Miracle-Gro, Blooms Plus, or similar, used according to package directions. Apply another fertilizer application in the fall and again in the spring.
You can harvest your sugar cane once it reaches 3 1/2 feet tall. Use a sharpened and sterilized pruning knife to cut the cane as close to the ground as possible.
Watch out for rabbits, deer and other wildlife who consider sugar cane to be delectable treat. Install a fence, or other physical barrier, around your sugar cane, if necessary, to keep out hungry wildlife.