When to Plant Peanuts

Peanut seedlings

Plant peanuts in the garden 1 to 2 weeks after the last frost when the soil has warmed. Peanuts are a very tender, long-season crop. They grow best in regions where there are at least 120 frost-free days. The soil temperature should be at least 60°F (16°C) before planting peanuts.

Peanut seeds are usually sown directly in the garden after the last frost-free date. In short-season regions, planting in the garden earlier can be risky and starting seeds indoors may be a better option. Indoors, sow seeds in individual containers so that seedlings can be transplanted without disturbing the roots. Start seed indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost.

Peanut seeds can be planted either in or out of the pod. If the pod is thin, it is best not to shell the peanut. When removing shells be careful not to tear the red skin; if the skin surrounding the seed is torn germination will likely not occur.

Peanut plants in garden plant grow
Peanut plants in garden

Planting peanuts in the garden

Peanuts require full sun. Grow peanuts in loose, well-drained soil, a sandy loam is ideal. Loosen the soil to 18 inches (45cm) or deeper. If the soil is heavy, cool, or damp, seeds can rot.

Peanuts can grow in poor soil, but the yield will be improved by adding aged compost rich in phosphorus and potassium (add bone meal to the soil). Peanuts are legumes that build the soil; they need no nitrogen.

Keep the soil surface loose which allows runners to implant. You can mulch to cover the runners.

Peanut harvest

Peanuts mature in 110 to 120 days. Harvest can begin once the foliage has yellowed and seeds fill the pods. Even after top growth yellows or had been killed by frost, nuts will continue to mature. Dig or pull the plant using a spade or garden fork to unearth all of the peanuts in the soil. Cure peanuts for about 1 month in a warm, dry place.

Peanut planting dates

(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)

Average date of the last frostPlanting dates
Jan. 30Feb. 15-May 15
Feb. 8Mar. 1-May 15
Feb. 18Mar. 20-June 1
Feb. 28Apr. 1-June 1
Mar. 10Apr. 10-June 1
Mar. 20Apr. 20-June 1
Mar. 30May 1-June 1
Apr. 10May 10-June 10
Apr. 20May 20-June 10
Apr. 30Season may be too short
May 10Season may be too short
May 20Season may be too short
May 30Season may be too short
June 10Season may be too short
Peanuts at harvest plant grow
Peanuts at harvest time

Peanut planting details

  • Sowing depth: 1.5 inches
  • Space between plants: 12-18 inches
  • Days to harvest: 110-120
  • Suggested varieties: Warm regions: Virginia Bunch, Mammoth Virginia, Jumbo Runner; Cool regions: Red Tennessee, Early Spanish

Related peanut articles:

How to Grow Peanuts

Peanut Seed Starting Tips

Written by Stephen Albert

Stephen Albert is a horticulturist, master gardener, and certified nurseryman who has taught at the University of California for more than 25 years. He holds graduate degrees from the University of California and the University of Iowa. His books include Vegetable Garden Grower’s Guide, Vegetable Garden Almanac & Planner, Tomato Grower’s Answer Book, and Kitchen Garden Grower’s Guide. His Vegetable Garden Grower’s Masterclass is available online. has more than 10 million visitors each year.

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