How to Grow Your Own Peanuts

Peanut Growing and Planting Tips

George and Becky Lohmiller
Peanuts are a legume plant

Try growing peanuts in your garden! Often thought of as just a snack to be munched on at ball games or passed around at cocktail parties, peanuts are actually a healthful and nutritious food.

Whether eaten raw or roasted or spread on bread, peanuts are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals; have no cholesterol; and contain more protein than many meats.

The Peanut Plant

People are often surprised to find out that peanuts are not nuts at all. Actually, they are the seeds of a leguminous plant related to peas and beans.

The peanut plant is unique because its flowers grow aboveground, yet the pods containing the seeds develop in the soil.

The yellow, pea-like blossoms are self-pollinating. Once fertilized, the delicate petals fall away. The stalks (called pegs) just under the ovaries then elongate and bend toward the earth, growing into the soil. When underground, the ovary at the tip of each stalk enlarges to form a peanut pod.

How to Grow Your Own Peanuts

Although considered a southern, warm-weather crop, peanuts have been known to grow as far north as southern Canada.

Planting Peanuts

  • Peanuts have a long growing season (ranging from 100 to 130 frost-free days); they’re planted a few weeks after the average last frost date in the spring and often dug up anytime after the first of September.
  • The trick to raising them in the North is to choose an early-maturing variety such as “Early Spanish” (100 days) and plant on a south-facing slope, if possible. You could also get a head start to the season by sowing peanuts indoors 5 to 8 weeks before transplanting outside.
  • It’s important to select a site that receives full sun.
  • Plastic row covers are recommended to protect the young plants from spring frosts.
  • To grow peanuts, you will actually start with the the shells of fresh, unroasted peanuts.
  • To start inside, fill a large, four-inch-deep plastic bowl ⅔ full of moist potting soil. Shell four peanuts and place them on top of the soil; then cover with one inch of soil. Plants will sprout quickly. Transplant seedlings outside.
  • To plant outside, place the peanut seeds two inches deep and eight inches apart in loose, well-drained soil. (Add sand and aged compost to soil to loosen.)

Caring for Peanut Plants

  • When the plants are six inches high, cultivate around them to loosen the soil so that the pegs will penetrate it easily.
  • Then, hill them as you would potatoes and mulch with two inches of straw or grass clippings.
  • Small, yellow, pea-like flowers will develop along the lower part of the stem. After the flowers fade, the ovaries will swell, start to grow toward the ground, and then push into the soil.
  • Peanuts are harvested before frost, when the plant yellows.
  • Dig out the entire plant with a spading fork, carefully shake off most of the soil, and then hang to dry indoors for about a month.
  • The “nut” can be enjoyed raw or roasted to perfection by baking shelled or unshelled in a 350° F oven for 20 minutes.

Did You Know: It takes about 540 peanuts to make a 12-ounce jar of peanut butter.

Peanuts are thought to have originated in South America, where Peruvian Indians cultivated them at least 3,500 years ago. Besides valuing peanuts as food, the Peruvians considered them a status symbol and even used them as money—which isn’t surprising when you consider how many of us still think that we are working for peanuts.

Ever wondered where popcorn comes from? It’s also a seed plant! See our growing tips for popcorn.

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Reader Comments

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What does peanuts take out or put in the ground I have a 4 acre field and I was wondering if they took or gave nitrogen to the soil

Peanut growing.

We were growing peanuts for many weeks in a raised bed when rats dug up the whole garden. It turns our rats love peanut butter! We live in Western Australia. So disappointing.

Peanut planting

We live in zone 5 and our plants came about from some industrious squirrels and bluejays. They buried their bounty of raw in-shell peanuts in the soil all over my yard. Their best crops came from plants that shared my tomato planters but even the sunny in-ground gardens did well. We learned allot about the plant and the critters enjoyed their harvest. Thanks for the email day brighteners and good advise!

Peanut planting

Can i harvest my groundnut manually or is there any machine for harvesting it?

harvesting peanuts

In a home garden, you can dig up the plants by first loosening the nearby soil with a spading fork (careful not to damage the harvest–stay along the outskirts of the plant). Then you can gently pull or dig the plants up by hand or with a shovel. Commercial farmers have machinery that helps them to harvest fields quickly.


If I plant peanuts in a raised flowerbed, how deep does the soil have to be? How far down will they grow?

peanuts in raised beds

For growing peanuts in raised beds or containers, you’ll need a soil depth of at least a foot. The peanuts may start developing around 1 to 4 inches below the surface, but the roots of the mother plant will need more depth. Also allow for hilling, to encourage peanut development.


The above information is incorrect. They will never grow if you shell them first.

Peanuts will grow if shelled

My dad planted peanuts and yes he planted individual seeds. Not sure where the person who said they won't grow if shelled got their information from, but it's incorrect.

sowing peanuts

Certainly in nature, the peanuts are not shelled, and the seeds in the pod germinate eventually. However, if they are shelled (but with the seed coat left on), then germination often will be faster. Several seed companies recommend shelling before sowing, but many gardeners have had success without shelling, too.

Peanuts WILL grow if shelled

You are incorrect. Not only will they grow if shelled, but you can also grow SHELLED, store bought raw peanuts. I have 15 plants growing right now that I started from a bag of shelled, raw, store bought peanuts.

Peanuts grown in Nebraska

Do peanuts take over a garden spot? Will they run, and continue to spread year after year??? Are they perennial or do they die out die to our extreme cold winters?? Thank you.

peanuts: annual or perennial?

Peanuts are both annual and perennial, Kathy; that is, both varieties are available. They—presumably even the perennial varieties, but you should check—will not survive frost and their seeds will not germinate in cold soil.

hi im wondering if i can

hi im wondering if i can cover my peanut plants to protect from frost,since the pods dont seem to be quite matured.i would love to be able to leave them out another month but this is early october and expect we will have light frost in the next couple you think a floating row cover would keep them warm enough or even some blankets thrown over them at night time?what do you suggest?thanx!

Sorry for taking a few days

Sorry for taking a few days to get back to you: Hope it’s not too late, aa month later! You would do well to cover them, and row cover is light and keeps out moisture. A blanket alone might be too heavy, might weigh on the plants, so if you can manage something like an “A” frame, with the blanket over it, and draped to allow no cold air inside, that might be better. If not an “A” frame, think differently: how about large boxes set over the plants? You may not need a blanket in that case. Remember, too, that though you want to keep the plants going, they will naturally begin to retard their growth because the Sun is lower in the sky (and days are shorter!) and the air is cooling. Please let us know how made out, and if this was of value to you.


Hello Peanuts friends,

I posted the message below yesterday but did inadvertently leave some crucial info out.
I aim to get the guys to plant in vertical thus get them 3 raised beds and that way get them to harvest 4 times as much. Sun and water is of no issue. Bit worried about the soil but will get help conditioning the soil when ready. If this is do-able, please advise about how wide and deep the raised bed need to be in order to secure maximum harvest possible. I will gladly provide as much info as possible.
See, i believe i can get the folks there to obtain some kind of sustainable agro project and get them to gain some kind of freedom that way. I believe if i get to show them how to, they in turn will teach the others in villages around. This will hopefully bring changes to their daily lives.
Best regards
John Albert

How to grow peanut on vertical layers of soil

My name is John Albert and i am looking for ways to have people in an African community to grow as much peanut as possible on a small patch of land.
My idea is to have them first plant poles of 2.5m on the ground at 2.5m interval, Have them place some kind of support at very 80 cm between the poles and that way have them planting peanuts in containers 2.5m long, 50cm wide and 30 to 50cm deep. This way, have them harvest 4 times as much peanuts on that patch of land. Watering will not be an issue since they have plentiful of it. If this is possible, Can they in that case plant and harvest at least twice a year if i get people to tech them how to manage the soil?
This will be of tremendous help to the villagers and perhaps ven on a national scale. See, my aim is to help them help themselves in a country were government help is basically inexistant. Do you guys think this is possible? Please contact me a if you want to elaborate more on this subject with me. Please forgive my ignorance, i just feel like someone sometimes need to do something crazy in order to help the many needy.
I thank you all in advance
Best regards
John Albert


I feed birds with peanuts in the garden and some have dropped into the garden and sprouted in August within a few days. Not bad for the East Midlands, so I will try an earlier start next year.

Is it late to plant peanut first week of June?

Is it late to plant peanut first week of June? Which type of weed control can I use for peanuts? Thank you.

May is usually the best time

May is usually the best time to plant peanuts, but it shouldn’t be a problem if you plant them in the next few days. Use herbicides for weed control.

when to plant peanuts

When is the best time to plant peanuts

We answer this question below

We answer this question below. The best time to plant peanuts is generally in early May once the soil is warm and moist. If you don’t live in a place that has these conditions, you’re probably not in the right growing zone!

Peanuts and weed control

I would not poision myself by applying herbicides. A hoe is the best answer to cut off weeds


How Can I Plant Peanut?which Machinary Should I Use?

To grow peanuts, you do not

To grow peanuts, you do not need any special machinery if it’s a small-scale farm or garden. You just need a LOT of sun and nice loose soil as well the peanut seeds which can be planted with their shells. 

If you live in the northern regions, sow a peant seed (shell) about one-inch deep in a big peat pot about one month before the last frost. The soil outside needs to be at least 60 degrees to plant your seedling. In the warmer southern regions, you can just plant straight in the ground about 2 inches deep and 5 inches apart. Once seedlings grow up, thin plants to 10 inches apart.

I Found this peanut

So I found this peanut and it is a very weird stop. I don't know what to do with it and it is a big size peanut above ground. Any help what to do

i am interested to plant

i am interested to plant peanut . i need more information aBOUT IT,,

thank you for accpting me in

thank you for accpting me in this site,,

for how frequent do we need

for how frequent do we need to spray pestcide on pnuts and what type of pestcides should we need to spray at which level of growth

First, avoid pests with

First, avoid pests with healthy soil. Test and amend soil the fall before you plant. Peanuts prefer a pH between 5.8 and 6.2 so that you may need raise the soil pH with lime and many people also need to add calcium for good pod development. Talk to your local county extension about a soil test.
In terms of fertilizer, peanuts do not like direct fertilization as they can burn. Do not apply fertilizer with the seed or after planting. Instead, broadcast fertilizer over the ground and incorporate it into the soil. Speak to your county extension about what's best in your location.
In terms of pests and diseases: First keep the leaves dry when you water at the soil level to avoid leaf spot. You can also apply a fungicide. Insects can be either 1) left eaters or 2) below the soil. You need to identify the insect before assessing control. And speak to your local cooperative extension about pesticides that are legal in your area. We can't make recommendations here.