This was something I did last year when I was feeling bored and wanted to have something weird and funny in the apartment. I was also pretty broke. The peanut plant thus represents to me a sort of humorous spirit that most anyone should be able to appreciate at home themselves, if they so wish to grow one of their own.
WHAT YOU NEED
- several fresh peanuts. they should be unroasted and still in their shells
- 2-3 pots with drainage holes
- dirt, preferably on the sandy side
WHAT TO DO
Fill the pots with soil. We want more than one pot because we want to plant a few peanuts at once in case some of them don't germinate. I know that for regular plants like basil or tomatoes, it is normal to fill a pot with several seeds at once. However, the peanut plant likes to grow its roots strong and deep before anything appears above the soil level, making it trickier to separate the seedlings for transplanting. It can grow to be as tall as two feet, so there should be only one plant per pot.
Take the peanuts out of the shell. Plant each one sideways. I'll admit it, I don't know which way is up so I just plant it on its side so it won't have to grow upside-down accidentally. I've sprouted two plants (out of three peanuts planted) therefore this method works well enough.
Put it in a sunny spot and water regularly. It may take as long as a month (or two) before anything seems to be happening. Once it has sprouted, though, it will quickly grow thin, drooping stems covered with small oval leaves. Eventually it will grow yellow-orange-ish flowers. As those shrivel and fall off, new stems will form where the flowers were, burrowing themselves in the soil where new peanuts will grow. It takes about two months for the peanuts to mature.
This probably goes without saying, but if you're starting with a smaller pot you will eventually need to transfer to a bigger pot (at least 12 inches deep) in order to grow a crop, so you may want to keep that in mind.