Is it possible to grow peanuts in Iowa?


Is it possible to grow peanuts in Iowa?


While peanuts are grown commericially in the southeastern United States, they can be grown in Iowa.  Their unique growth habit makes them a fun addition to the home garden. 

Growing Conditions

Peanuts grow best in loose, well-drained soils.  Avoid wet, poorly drained sites and clay soils.  Plant peanuts after the danger of frost is past.  Peanuts require a soil temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit for germination.  Sow peanut seeds 1 to 1½ inches deep and 6 to 8 inches apart.  Rows should be spaced 24 to 36 inches apart.


Suggested varieties for home gardens include:

  • ‘Spanish’
  • ‘Early Spanish’
  • ‘Virginia Improved’
  • ‘Jumbo Virginia’

Peanuts are warm-season annuals that require a minimum of 120 frost free days to reach maturity. 

Flowering and Production of Seed

The flowering and fruiting of peanuts are unique.  Flowers are borne above ground, but the pods develop below ground.  Peanut plants bloom about 30 to 40 days after emergence.  The flowers are small, bright yellow, and pea-like in appearance.  After pollination and fertilization occurs, the stalk (peg) below the fertilized ovary elongates and curves downward.  It takes about 10 days for the peg to penetrate into the soil.  A week after soil penetration, the peg tip enlarges and pod and seed development begin.  The fruit mature in 9 to 10 weeks with favorable temperatures and moisture conditions. 


Harvest peanuts when the foliage begins to yellow in late summer or early fall.  Dig up the plants with a spading fork and carefully shake off the loose soil.  Cure the peanuts in a warm, dry shed or garage.  After the plants have dried for 1 or 2 weeks, pull the pods from the plants and dry the peanuts for an additional 1 or 2 weeks.  Once dried, place the pods in mesh bags and store them in a cool, well-ventilated place until roasted. 

Last updated on
February 28, 2022