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How To Grow Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato Vines


They’re truly gorgeous plants, don’t you think?  I’m so happy we tried growing them!  And it’s incredibly easy.


1.  Buy Slips or Grow Them At Home:



2.  Plant The Slips.


The slips are basically mini plants.  Plant them after the last frost, in rich soil with some well-aged compost, 12-18″ apart (we planted them far closer, but some of our potatoes were pretty small).


3.  Do Virtually Nothing.


Water regularly, but otherwise they need almost zero weeding, and we didn’t have any bugs or disease.  You can stop watering them during the last 3 weeks before harvest, so the roots are dry when you pull them out, and so that they don’t develop any molds.


To those of us in the northwest US, note that they are related to morning glories, so we can be assured they’ll grow very well!


Ready to be Pulled


4.  Pull Them Up!


They’re basically on the same schedule as Irish potatoes:  when they start to yellow in the fall, it’s about time to pull them. You can also feel them beneath the soil and get a sense of how big they are.


Mom Shows Off Sweet Potato Plant


Seriously, that’s it.  No excuses now – if you like them, grow them!


Our Sweet Potato Loot


Any Questions or Tips?


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12 comments to How To Grow Sweet Potatoes

  • This was actually very helpful, Melinda. I’m growing sweet potatoes for the first time this year, and the vines are everywhere. I didn’t know when to pull them up (and I am getting impatient!) but I see I have to wait a little longer here. We’ve been having unprecedented amounts of rain here in Atlanta, so I hope the potatoes are not rotting down there.

  • We’re in Atlanta area too. My mom got impatient and dug up one vine over the weekend – it only had one decent size sweet potato (plus a few tiny wisps). I hope some of the other vines have more. It was tasty, though.

    I’ll wait to pull the other vines. I’m still not sure what I need to do to cure them, though.

  • I am adding this to my list of plants for next year, especially since I see you grew them in a container. Now to get several large clay containers…

  • I can’t believe you grew them in containers! I’ve run out of excuses again…and as we’re getting into the not-quite-summer season here, I’m motivated once again to try my hand at some winter crops on the evil porch.

  • You got my gears running this morning since Sweet Potatoes are one of the crops I hope to add next year.

    Melinda J.
    Sweet potatoes love heat so watch the temps on the winter porch.

    How big are those pots? I hadn’t considered growing them in containers.

  • I think you covered everything in a nutshell and those are beautiful sweet potatoes. Growing them in a container is so easy.

    I’m very sad that I didn’t get organized enough to plant some this year. Luckily I can get some at the farmer’s market.

  • [...] so happy we tried growing them! And it’s incredibly easy. 1. Buy Slips or Grow Them. Continue Reading /*Overall width, height, and table style*/ .ae_table_horiz { width:auto; height:auto; [...]

  • Lemongrass

    I have some growing in a large pot. I home I get a bundle… pot is much larger than the one you used.
    The leaves are grean and healthy looking. I now know that I have to wait a while, since I am in the Southeast.
    Has anyone grown Japanese sweet potatoes? I grew them two ago and they are the best.

  • I’m glad this was helpful! Those containers are pretty big – I haven’t measured them but they’re probably 20″ in diameter, and pretty deep as well. Deb G, thank you – you wrote about them a while back, and it was one of my inspirations for growing them! Lemongrass, I haven’t grown Japanese sweet potatoes – how are they different? Very interesting!

  • Kathe Watanabe

    I was unable to find Carolina Ruby sweet potato slips on the Irish Eyes web site. They don’t even appear to have sweet potatoes of any kind—at least the search engine can’t find them.

  • Becca Tomlinson

    One site I read said you cn bury the vines to get more tubers. Does this mean hilling like irish potatoes or do you plant then in containers full of soil? Basically I’m asking how deep of soil should you have to plant them and is there any hilling required. Thanks you so much for any answers.

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