Sugar cane (*Saccharum*) is a perennial grass crop that food processors use to make [sugar](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/all-the-different-types-of-sugar-culinary-uses-of-sugar). Also called “sugarcane” or “sugarcane plants,” this agricultural grass grows in tall stems with feathery flowers.\n\nGrowers cut the sugar cane stalks (traditionally with machetes) to harvest sucrose—a natural sweetener—for sugar production, or they boil the cane in water to create cane syrup, a liquid sweetener. Alternatively, you can extract the sugar cane juice using a sugar cane press. Some processors use the castoff created by pressing the sugar cane, called bagasse, to power electrical equipment. Other commercial growers use sugar cane to create [biofuel](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/biomass-energy-explained) like ethanol.\nSugar cane is a tropical plant found often in Southeast Asia, Thailand, and Brazil, so it does well in biomes that are similar to those tropical regions. In the United States, planting sugar cane will have the best chance of success in USDA plant [hardiness zones](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/guide-to-planting-zones) 9–10, which include parts of Florida, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Texas. Sugar cane thrives in furrows (or trenches) that you make in nitrogen-rich soil. \n\nYou can plant sugar cane in your home garden during the late summer or early fall for your very own mini sugar cane farm. If you live in a colder climate, you can still grow sugar cane—just plant it during your area’s hotter temperatures and bring the plants inside over the winter, as they will not survive year-round if they’re exposed to frost.\nYou can grow sugar cane outdoors if you live in a warm climate, or indoors in pots. Sugar cane needs the following to survive and thrive: \n\n- __Light__: Grow your sugar cane where it receives full sun. Anything less than that and you risk the health of the plant. \n- __Water__: Sugar cane needs to remain moist to perform well. Water them regularly if they’re indoors—or if they’re outdoors but your region doesn’t receive much rain. You’ll want to give the plant one to two inches of water per week. \n- __Soil__: Plant your sugar cane in deep soil that drains well. The soil type should have a [soil pH](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/essential-guide-to-soil-ph-guide) of 6.0–6.5. If you place mulch around the top of the plant, it will help it retain some of the moisture so that it doesn’t dry out too quickly. \n- __Humidity__: It’s not necessary for sugar cane to grow in a humid environment—it can handle drier climates as long as you consistently water it. \n- __Temperature__: Sugar cane does well in 90–100 degree Fahrenheit temperatures, but it cannot handle frost (not applicable if you’re growing it as an annual). If you want to keep your sugar cane growing year-round, pull it inside during the snowy months so it can survive the winter. \n- __Pruning__: If it’s a decorative plant, trim the sugar cane back with shears to match your aesthetics and to keep it from sagging. You may find that if you prune your sugar cane it will develop a ratoon—a new shoot growing out of the base. If it’s visually unappealing, you can prune it off as well. On the other hand, if your goal is to harvest the cane, you can let it grow and only prune the plant when there are dead leaves.\nSugar cane propagation requires you to plant a section of sugar cane that contains nodes, the notches along the stalk from which new growth can sprout. To [propagate](https://www.masterclass.com/articles/how-to-propagate-plants) a new plant, follow these steps: \n\n1. __Identify a section of stem with two to three nodes__. Look at a healthy sugar cane stem to find a section with two to three nodes. You should ideally look for nodes that have small nubs, which indicate buds. Cut this section away from the plant with a sharp knife.\n2. __Remove sprouting leaves from the nodes__. Clean the section of sugar cane stalk of any young or sprouting leaves with pruning shears, scissors, or your sharp knife, leaving only buds. \n3. __Plant the section of stem__. Create furrows in your soil where you can lay the stem cuttings horizontally. Alternatively, you can place the stems in a glass of water. Either way, make sure that at least one node and bud are completely covered by the soil or water. If you plant the roots in water, transfer it to the soil when the roots are at least two inches long and a new stem has appeared.\nGrow your own garden with Ron Finley, the self-described "Gangster Gardener." Get the [MasterClass Annual Membership](https://www.masterclass.com/) and learn how to cultivate fresh herbs and vegetables, keep your house plants alive, and use compost to make your community - and the world - a better place.\nSugar cane is a relatively hardy plant that you can grow right at home for aesthetic as well as culinary reasons.