Peanuts, also known as groundnuts, are grown underground as they are buried a few inches deep under the soil but are not roots. Peanuts are legumes of self-pollinating flowers. These peanut seeds can then grow into a new peanut plant.
Peanuts do not grow back every year from the same plant. The whole peanut plant is pulled up by the roots to harvest nuts. Hence, the peanut plant survives only for one cultivation. However, you can utilize the newly grown peanuts for the next crop cycle.
Further in this article, we will see how peanuts grow, why peanuts can’t grow back every year, their harvesting process, and their cultivation period.
Why Can’t Peanuts Grow Back Every Year?
Naturally, peanuts grow as a family if the mother plant is not harvested. The mother plant keeps its offspring near to itself. When a plant fruits, it contains approx 25-50 peanuts that can grow into new plants in the next crop cycle.
The same peanut plant cannot grow back every year because the whole plant is uprooted to harvest peanuts. There is nothing left in the ground of the previous crop once a cycle completes. If you want to grow peanuts for the next crop, you need to start the whole growing procedure again.
If you see new saplings after a few days of harvesting the old crop, that might be because some seeds have fallen off in the ground from the previous cycle. However, the fallen seeds will not grow systematically in a row.
You can either pick out the fallen seeds before the next crop or plant the new saplings systematically.
How Do Peanuts Grow?
Peanuts are an exceptional crop as they flower above the ground and fruit under the soil. Very few people know the growing process of peanuts that leads to the confusion of its growing back.
Peanuts grow after you sow seeds into the ground. It will later flower and undergo self-pollination. After which, a peg develops and buries itself into the ground before becoming a pod with two to three seeds inside.
Let’s see the cultivation process of peanuts to understand how they grow and why they can’t grow every year.
1. Sowing of the Seeds
The cultivation process begins with the sowing of the seeds in the soil medium. Groundnuts grow best in light and sandy soil. However, if the soil is loose and nutritious, they can grow in any soil type.
The height of the peanut plant can range from 18 – 24 inches (45 to 60 cm). Its branches can spread up to 12 – 18 inches (30 to 45 cm). Thus, It is best to sow one or two seeds one foot (30 cm) apart so that the plants have enough space to grow.
2. Seedlings Coming Out of The Soil
The baby plants start to come out of the ground in five to ten days. During this phase, the seed germinates and begins to develop roots. After a few days of germination, the oval-leafed seedlings crack up in the ground.
In 10 – 12 days, they are around five inches tall (13 cm). They require good moisture content and sunlight to develop as mature plants in the next month.
3. Maturation of the Plant
The plant goes through the maturation period before flowering in the next two months. The foliage above the ground and roots under the soil develops. This phase of maturation takes up to one and a half months.
During this phase, it is best to provide the plant with proper organic fertilizers to help it prepare before flowering. If the soil does not contain appropriate nutrients, plants may not have foliage, flowers, or fruit timely.
After the maturation of roots and upper body, the plant starts flowering. The bright yellow flowers begin to bloom. Peanut flowers blossom near the ground, and after self-pollination, flowers wilt in a couple of days.
One plant can flower over two weeks. They don’t need outside aids such as bees and other flies to pollinate.
5. Pegging and Podding
Pegging is a unique phenomenon in the peanut growing process. After the flower pollinates itself, a shaft rises behind the flower. It contains an ovary and egg inside the tip of the peg.
The peg grows until it touches the ground and buries itself in the soil. The tip of the peg containing the ovary swells and takes the shape of peanuts. The swelling portion is called the pod, and the whole podding process takes up to one month to produce mature seed.
6. Maturation of Peanuts
In the next two months, the process of pegging continues, and peanut seeds mature inside the woody outer shell. During the initial phase, plants keep flowering and pegging and stop the flowering process after 15 – 20 days.
When the peanuts mature after three to two months of growing, the harvesting begins. Farmers use harvesters for large-scale harvesting or pull the plants out in small-scale cultivation.
During harvest, the whole plant is pulled off the ground. Then workers pluck out the peanuts from vines and process them further to sell in the market.
Typically, no part of the plant is left in the ground, making it impossible to grow back the following year.
Cultivation Period of Peanuts
The period of peanut cultivation is around 4 – 5 months or 120-150 days. It can vary for different varieties of peanuts. Some genetically modified peanut seeds can complete their cycle earlier than non-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) seeds.
The cultivation period of peanuts can be divided into the following phases:
- Germination (7-12 days)
- Maturation of plant ( 15-60 days)
- Blooming (60-70 days)
- Pegging (70-80 days)
- Podding (80-90 days)
- Maturation of seed (90-120 days)
- Harvest (120-150 days)
The period can vary a little due to climate conditions, soil type, and the nutritional value of the growing medium. Peanuts need 2 – 3 inches (30 to 45 cm) of water weekly. If the rainwater does not suffice, you will need an irrigation system. The improper moisture content can also hinder the growth rate of the plant.
Peanuts are an annual plant. They grow over 4 – 5 months and are harvested after that. The harvesting process requires uprooting the whole plant. Hence the plant lives for only four to five months.
However, if the mother plant is unharvested, it can grow into a new peanut family in the next crop cycle when the weather conditions become warm enough.