Sweet Potato

rabbit8(z8a AL)May 23, 2003

I just purchased one sweet potato from the store and planted it in a flower pot. Do you think it will grow a nice vine this time of the year and if so, how do I care for it?(hope I'm on the right forum).

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I have one growing in my office, under florescent lights. Brought a small one in for a snack, was going to microwave it, tucked it into a drawer in my desk and forgot about it. Found it sprouting, stuck it in a pot of dirt.

The one thing I didn't know: the vines will grow out of the potato only so long, then they need dirt to actually root in - they do NOT use the roots the tuber develops - the slip (vine) end must be in the dirt. You can cut off the slips and root them, and the tuber will keep producing more slips...

Practical result of my ignorance: I walked in one day and two out of the three vines off the sweet potato were dead. They had been growing off the potato above the dirt, no roots of their own. The one that was growing from below the dirt line is thriving, adding shoots. The potato is a dried out husk that I leave in the pot for looks.

By the way, you do know that the leaves are edible? You nip off the tender shoots, add to stir-fry.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2003 at 2:48PM
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rabbit8(z8a AL)

Thank you Carol for the information. Do I need one of those special lights? I guess I have to just let it sit until vines grow on it. No, I did not know the vines are edible.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2003 at 9:21PM
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Raymondo(Armidale, NSW)

Wondered why my potted sweet potato didn't thrive. Thanks Carol. By the way, although the vine is edible I don't find it very palatable, the texture is quite slimy. Maybe I'm cooking them incorrectly?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2003 at 7:53PM
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Have to confess that I'm not over-fond of them either. Quicker, as in stir-fry, is better, but... they seem to go into a lot of soups in Filipino cooking...

    Bookmark   June 2, 2003 at 3:56PM
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Will the vines live forever as a house plant or are they seasonal?

    Bookmark   June 3, 2003 at 9:28AM
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rabbit8(z8a AL)

Mid Tn Mama,
I'm not for sure if it will live inside or not, but I do know my girlfriend have them in her flower garden in Michigan and they are beautiful.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2003 at 11:14AM
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Don't know about their lifespan yet - did have a few live for a couple of years in the garden- lost leaves in the so-called winter (it got down to 34 once), but came back in the summer (not spring, mind you, they waited until the soil warmed up - 60 at night).

rabbit8 - there are ornamental varieties of sweet potato vine that get planted in the flower garden. I haven't seen any flowers, or maybe I missed them, off the one from the grocery store. Must have them, but maybe they're not particularly showy...

    Bookmark   June 6, 2003 at 11:42AM
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Are you saying that you put the potato in dirt, let it sprout--then turn it upside down in the dirt?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2003 at 9:33AM
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Frieda__IL(Z 5 - IL)

You can overwinter the vines in the house by taking cuttings and rooting them in water. They will survive in water for a long time.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2003 at 9:40AM
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I started mine the way I learned in kindergarten: three toothpicks, balanced over a jar of water. Now that I've seen it grow, next time I'll just bury the whole potato in the dirt. But for production gardening, if, for instance, I wanted to grow several sweet potatoe vines in the garden, I would root the main potato in dirt (just stick one end in a pot) and cut off each vine as it sprouts. Then bury the end of the vine in dirt till it roots on its own. The main potato will keep producing "slips" (more vines) until it's a hollow shell.

Special lights: I don't know if flourescents can really be called special - they're just plain old office lights. But the houseplants seem to thrive, and I was surprised that the sweet potato seems to find it adequate. Maybe because they leave them on 24/7?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2003 at 2:49PM
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ladyjenny(Z9a TX Houston)

carolj: do you put the whole sweet potato in or can I just put part of it?

raymond: sweet potato vine is quite tasty if you stir fry it very quickly...

    Bookmark   December 30, 2003 at 4:29PM
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I've had them grow both ways, but I think what Carol was referring to was using the entire potato, & then cutting off the vines, with their own roots, as they emerge, & planting them in the soil.

One Thanksgiving I forgot a couple of them, found them shriveled up in the pantry, cut them up, & "buried" the pieces in a flower bed, the idea being that they would become earthworm food.

I got beautiful vines as well as a number of potatoes!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2004 at 3:28PM
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I found some sweet potatoes I had bought for Thanksgiving in my fridge today.My question is since they dont have any sprouts or anything can I still have a house plant out of it? They are store bought.Any advice will be greatly appreciated.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2004 at 9:15PM
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micropropagator(zone5 S Indiana)

I agree with everything members have written in this thread about sweetpotato (one word because they are not sweet Andes potatoes, just as a Ladybug is not a true bug, but a squash bug is a true bug). In my micropropagation lab, I have grown 40,000 sweetpotato slips for universities' research and farmers. Here are some things I learned from those friends.
Commercial farmers plant the unrooted tops to avoid soil borne diseases. They grab a handful of tops and whack them off with a machette trying to get 50 to 75 slips per handful. They set them upright in wooden boxes under a shade tree (without any water) where they get lots of light and plant them next day using a cup of water. During that 24 hours the vine cuttings have developed root primordia and roots are present after a day in the soil. 48 hours after cutting, the cuttings have wilted flat onto the soil and look hopeless, but the next day (72 hours) they are reviving and less than 10% of leaves die although each plant only got that one cup of water. After the vines grow (2 weeks), you may cut vines into 2-node sections and plant those directly into soil same day. Thus, farmers got 6 acres from each acre or original planting.
CAUTION: When you cook sweetpotato greens you will find an extremely strong wooden tube inside the vine about 3 inches from the tip. It is as hard as a plastic drinking straw and could choke a child or adult. Use only the tender tips for greens.
I often eat a sweetpotato for breakfast. I cook it 4 minutes in microwave, cut it into .7 liter of water, add 50-75 grams of whole grain oats from a farm (grain blasted to a powder om a hammermill (Black and Decker Coffee Mill, $14 at Wal-Mart)), I sift some of the husk fragments out with a flour sifter, cook in microwave about 7 to 10 minutes (stirring as needed at 4 and 6 minutes). The mixture thickens, and I dump it in a blender with fruit and run one minute at highest speed. When frozen whole grapes are used, the blendor reduces the seeds to fragments smaller than blackberry seeds. That gives a tasty, huge morning meal and usually add 700 ml additional warm water to further rehydrates my body after the long night's sleep. A 100-foot ridge of Beauregard SP supplies me for a year and I have eaten them after 20 months without loss, but they get stringy (more fiber) during the second year.
To reach me direct use Eddleman@indbio.com

Here is a link that might be useful: Introduction to Virus-free Sweetpotato Production

    Bookmark   February 25, 2004 at 4:37PM
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jayreynolds(zone 6/7)

Now would be the best time to plant sweetpotato for sprouting. practically all available SP at this time of year were grown last season, and are practically ready to sprout. I grow them and just store them in the closet and mine have 6" sprouts. Storeboughten SP were stored somewhat cooler but should sprout readily for you in water. Don't hesitate to plant some in the garden, sometimes they will make small blue 'morning-glory' flowers, and are very easy to grow and bear potatoes.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2004 at 9:02PM
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Lin_7(z7 NY)

how long does it really take for a sweet potato to get started?? the one i rooted in water took less than a month to root and vine (about 4 or 5 vines)........while the one directly put in soil took almost two months to break soil....i kno potato plants take months to grow, but to break ground was this normal???

    Bookmark   June 10, 2004 at 12:23AM
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jimihendrix(5b Ont.)

I did my first crop of Sweet Potato in 2004. I live in Zone 5. I read Sweet Potato are not sprayed to stop them from rooting. (Regular potatos are though) I bought mine at the farmers market and started in a canning jar with toothpics in 7th of Jan then after a month planted in a pot of dirt it took a while for the slips to grow, starting them early produced 2 ft slips. Before taking them out to the garden be sure to harden them off properly. I did one row in my garden they where a bit smaller than the supermarket Sweet Potato`s but they where tastey i will do them next year. Do not put them in the fridge. Leave them in a hot warm location. The longer they sit the more sweet they get.Next Year i will do three row`s in my garden. Remember that they grow underground first then the leaves will take off later in the summer.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2004 at 12:04AM
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OK, I read every post on planting. If I put a cut Sweet Potatoe in a plastic soda bottle w/water in it of course, your saying it will actually produce potatoes?! Am I understanding this correctly? Also, which one is best just for flowering and how it that done differently in a bottle?
Just curious, and would love to try both mentioned above.
A Sweet Potatoe Lover!!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 1:50PM
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Don't cut the sweet potato. Just put it in a jar of water with about 1/4 of the potato sticking above the water. That way you can see what is happening. If a sweet potato experiences temperatures less than 55F it will be killed and will not sprout. If that happened to the potato you are using, anywhere between the field and your rooting jar, it won't work.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2009 at 9:39AM
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Can anyone explain why the baked, diced and frozen sweet potato bits that I just microwaved for 30 seconds in a clear glass bowl arched and charred the edges of some of the pieces? This has happened with carrots too, also cooked, diced and frozen.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2012 at 9:01AM
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You can wilt the leaves in a hot pan & add salt & pepper to taste.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 7:26PM
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