Can I Grow Sweet Potatoes From a Sweet Potato?
Yes, you can! Sweet potatoes are root vegetables that grow from the ground that can be grown directly from a sweet potato or from slips that you start off of another sweet potato. In order to grow sweet potatoes from a sweet potato you will need to plant the potato into a shallow pot with soil and allow the potato to sprout slips which you will then plant in their own pots and allow them to produce their own tubers in 2-4 months.
How to Grow Sweet Potatoes From a Sweet Potato
You will first need to buy a sweet potato. Place the sweet potato in a shallow pot or deposable aluminum baking pan filled up about half way with soil but don’t cover the potato completely up. Gently water the pan every 3-4 days being careful not to overwater it.
How Do You Get Sweet Potatoes to Sprout?
Place your sweet potato in a pan filled half up with soil. Water the soil and potato every few days.
You can place this pan in a window if inside or in a partly shady area outside. After 1-2 weeks you should start to see leaves growing from the potato. These leaves will grow into slips. Once those slips get to be 5-6 inches long they are ready to remove from the “mother potato” and root in either soil or a cup of water.
How to Root Sweet Potato Slips in Soil
You can root the slips in soil by placing each slip into its own pot of soil and keep the soil moist until the slip roots. You can tell when the sweet potato slips have grown roots because will see the roots coming out of the bottom of the pot.
How to Root Sweet Potato Slips in Water
You can also root the slips in a glass or jar of water by putting the slips into some water. Make sure to change the water every few days as it will start to smell. After a week or so you will begin to see roots in the jar of water.
Once you have rooted your slips in one of these methods, you are ready to plant your sweet potato slips in the garden. You can plant in the ground, raised beds or even in a pot.
How to Plant Sweet Potato Slips
Plant your rooted sweet potato slips or plants into your choice of growing method. You can grow them in the ground, raised beds or containers but make sure that is at least 8-10 inches of soil for your sweet potato plant to produce tubers.
Dig a hole big enough for the root ball of your plant. Place the root ball into the hole and pull the dirt up around the plant. Make sure to keep the plant watered over the first 3-5 days so that it can take root in its new home.
How Often Should I Water My Sweet Potatoes?
Once your sweet potatoes are established, they will tolerate dry soil but its best to give them one inch of water a week to remain moist. You should avoid watering your sweet potato patch or container during the last 3-4 weeks before harvesting as this will help prevent them from splitting.
Do I Need to Fertilize My Sweet Potatoes?
No, you shouldn’t fertilize your sweet potatoes during the growing season as giving them too much fertilizer will promotes leaf growth and can inhibit the roots or tubers from forming. It is best to add a good quality compost to the bed or container before planting your slips. A good compost will supply your sweet potato plants the nutrition they need to produce a good harvest.
How Long Does it Take to Harvest Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes generally take 3-4 months depending on the variety before they are ready to harvest. During this growing period you can harvest delicious sweet potato leaves to use in place of spinach.
Make sure to leave a few of the leaves on your sweet potato plants until they turn yellow as this is how sweet potatoes get their energy for storage.
How Do I Know When Sweet Potatoes are Ready to Harvest?
The first thing you should do is keep track of when you planted the sweet potatoes and compare that number of days to the number of days the variety you planted takes to mature. It generally takes between 3-4 months to harvest sweet potatoes and you will see the leaves start to yellow.
If you are almost at the end of the time that you sweet potatoes take and you see yellowing leaves, that is a good indicator that your sweet potatoes are ready to be harvested.
How Do I Harvest My Sweet Potatoes?
I will usually harvest one or two plants by using my pruners to cut away any excess foliage to clean up any debris on the soil surface. I will then take a garden fork and gently push it into the soil around the plant and carefully lift the soil to expose the roots. You can harvest the whole plant or just a few tubers that are closer to the surface.
Once you have some tubers dug up you can generally gauge what the rest of the harvest is going to look like based on the size of the potato. If it is small you may have some petite potatoes and they may need to be planted earlier next season.
If you choose not to harvest all of your sweet potatoes right away and a frost hits, don’t worry! Just make sure you get them out of the ground as soon as possible after the frost so they won’t rot. Sweet potatoes that are still in the ground when a frost hits are usually sweeter than ones harvested before frost.
If you like this article about growing sweet potatoes from a sweet potato and you want more information on growing your own sweet potatoes at home – check out our more in depth article on growing sweet potatoes here.