Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Long Awaited Sweet Potato Post

I see I have picked up two new followers. Welcome and thanks for following.

To those of you who have been waiting for this post I apologize for the delay. 

The two photos below are the sweet potatoes that I found sprouting in my pantry. These photos were taken on Feb 02. For a larger view click on the photos.

I placed each sweet potato into a glass of water to root and continue to grow. Be sure to keep an eye on the water level during this time.

A month later I had several sprouts that were ready for potting.
March 06 2011
 March 6 2011 root ball
There were a few sprouts growing from below the water line. I was able to remove the sprout with the roots intact.

To remove a sprout place your fingers at the end of the sprout closest to the potato and twist until it breaks off.

Once removed pinch off some of the lower leaves to give you more stem to plant into the soil.
Sprout before lower leaves are removed.
Sprout after lower leaves are removed.
Sprout ready for planting

Cover stem with soil and water well.
It is not unusual to see some wilting once planted. Keep the soil moist to encourage root growth.

I was able to pull a total of 16 sprouts from the 5 potatoes.

I kept some of the sprouts on the potatoes to continue to grow just in case I lose a few during the rooting process.

The photos below are one week after planting the sprouts into the soil. So far I only have one sprout that is showing signs of stress.

March 12 2011
The rest of the sprouts seem to be doing well.
March 12 2011
Sweet potatoes like full sun and warm temperatures so be sure to keep them in a warm and sunny location until you can plant them into your garden.  I hope you found this post helpful.

Update: March 19 2011
It's been seven days since I planted the sweet potato slips into pots. They are all rooting now and are putting on new growth. In the photos below you can see the roots. They look strong and healthy. 
Click on photos for a larger view.

The slip below is the plant that was showing some transplant stress. It made it through the rooting process and is even putting on new growth.
I will have more than enough slips for my garden and for the Haven Family Garden.


  1. Very good post Liisa. I have never grown sweet potatoes and find the process very interesting. Maybe I will grow a couple next year. We are not big sweet potato eaters around here. I think that we only eat them on Thanksgiving.

  2. Great timing - I was about to do an informative post about this process as well....However, since you've done all the leg work on it, i'll just post a link to your tutorial. :-) Thanks!

  3. Robin - Thank you. We love sweet potatoes in this house.

  4. EG - Glad I could help (without knowing I was doing so) :-) I will update the post when I plant them out into the garden and during the growing season to give the post a beginning to end process. Though I do like your videos when you are pulling up your sweet potatoes. If you do any write ups during the season and on the harvest I'll just link to your posts :-) We can be sweet potato co-writers LOL. OK out the garden I go. I really need to finish my seemingly never ending water project.

  5. Thank you for sharing! I will remember to do this next spring! Lucky I found some new sweet potato shoots in the market last spring as our first attempt at growing them this warm season in Adelaide.

  6. It's crazy that a stem with no roots has enough energy to grow new roots fast enough to live through the trauma of separation from the potato. I'm looking forward to using your technique this year. Thanks for the great DIY post!

  7. I just potted up a bunch of sprouts from mine, too; never occurred to me to take pics and post a tut! Good job! Mine are looking pretty good, too.

  8. Kelli, Malay and Jimmy you are very welcome.I'm glad this was helpful.

    sb158 - Long time no read. Hope you are well. Happy to hear your potatoes are off to a good start.

  9. Found you through Engineered Garden link. Will be back!

  10. Hi LC - Thanks for stopping by!

  11. Hi Liisa,
    Great post! I am a little bit curious about the sweetpotato at the 6:00 o'clock position in photo #15. In particular, I am intrigued that all the adventitious roots appear to originate near the water line. Have you cut the sprouts from this root previously? If not, I suspect the proximal or stem end is actually in the bottom of the jar. Same for the tater at the 11:00 o'clock position. The "stressed" plant in photo #16 appears to show classic symptoms of magnesium deficiency, a reflection of the lack of nutrients in the water. Have you tried bedding sprouted roots in a container? In this mode of generating sprouts, some fertilizer can actually be incorporated in the bedding medium to supply the cutting with some nutrients prior to transplanting. Thanks.