Zone-pushing sugarcane in cool West Coast climates?

Has anyone had luck overwintering or protecting the roots of sugarcane in cool west coast climates, such as inland central CA, coastal foggy parts of CA, or even the PNW?

On a whim I ordered some “Purple Ribbon” cuttings back in February, planting a couple outdoors and a couple in my greenhouse “experimental stuff” bed. I posted about it here when they were sprouting earlier this year:

The seller said he knew of one person growing greenhouse sugarcane in Oregon, but otherwise he had no idea if it was feasible to zone push here.

For the outside ones, I put them in direct sun where my rainwater collection pond overflows. Here’s what it looks like today (no full size segments yet):

I almost certainly didn’t fertilize them enough this year, I’m planning to cut them to ground level around the first mild frost and pile the roots under fresh wood chip mulch to protect them for winter. If they sprout in spring I’ll give them lots of food next year and see how big they can get in a season.

The greenhouse ones are a lot harder to photograph because the watermelon vine grew all over it, but it’s about twice as big and has a few nice looking segments around ground level, though no clue what the sugar content will be:

It also almost certainly needed more fertilizing, and I’ll do that next year if the roots survive.

I’ll also be rooting some cuttings from those for next year to try again for good annual production, even without overwintering any roots.


That’s pretty good growth for 7 months from cuttings. Almost as good as ours do in S. Tx. I think you’re going to do well with it. D

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Ribbon cane is an old variety they used to grow here in Louisiana. They have developed varieties that are much more cold hardy that are planted now. They are planting sugar cane farther north here in recent years. I believe the commercial sugar cane fared pretty well with last years Arctic blast. You could search LSU Ag Center for info on cold-hardy varieties they have developed.


The newer varieties are also much higher in sugar yield.