Can I Grow Sweet Potatoes From a Sweet Potato?
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.
Can I Grow a Sweet Potato from A Store Bought Sweet Potato?
Yes, you can actually grow your own sweet potatoes from a store-bought sweet potato. All you need is a little patience and some basic gardening supplies.
First, select a sweet potato that is firm and free of blemishes. Cut the potato in half lengthwise, then use a sharp knife to make 1-inch slits along the cut surface.
Next, fill a small pot with well-draining soil and place the potato halves cut side down on the soil surface. Gently cover the pot with more soil, then water it well.
Keep the pot in a warm, sunny spot and wait for new growth to appear. Once the plant has grown to about 6 inches tall, it’s ready to be transplanted into a larger pot or your garden bed.
Can You Grow a Sweet Potato from A Slice?
Yes, you can grow a sweet potato from a slice of a sweet potato. Just take a sweet potato, slice it in half either lengthwise and place it into a tray of moist potting soil with the cut side down. Keep it moist and over the course of a few weeks, you should have slips starting to grow.
Can You Plant an Entire Sweet Potato?
Even though the most common way to plant sweet potatoes in your garden is by starting and growing your own sweet potato slips from either a potato that you bought from the store or one you harvested, you can plant the entire potato that has the slips growing out of it.
You can also leave sweet potatoes in the ground and they will sprout the following year. This can be a great way to almost perennialize sweet potatoes in your area.
I planted them one time and by complete accident, I missed some small sweet potatoes when I harvested them only to find them in the sprouting in spring the following year. I grew them this way for about 5 years without having to plant any new slips.
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 halfway 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 keeping 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, in a raised bed, or even in a pot.
How Long Does It Take for Sweet Potato Slips to Sprout?
It takes about 2-3 weeks for a sweet potato to start producing slips once you have placed it in a cup of water or down into a tray of potting soil. They will start slow but these slips will grow faster after sprouting. Just make sure to keep the potting soil moist to encourage the slips to get started. Once the slips reach about 5-6 weeks old, they will be ready to plant into their own container to grow.
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 it’s 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 promote 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. Good compost will supply your sweet potato plants with 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 your 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.
Here are some common questions about growing sweet potatoes:
Can I Plant a Sweet Potato that Has Sprouted?
Yes, you can plant the entire potato or cut it into pieces where each piece has a sprout on it. This is a very common practice that works exceptionally well and it prevents you from just throwing that potato away. If you choose to plant the entire potato, the potato around the sprout or slip will be food for the growing plant during the early part of the growing season.
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.