Propagating Sweet Potatoes in Styrofoam Cups

dciolek(5B)March 31, 2012

I have been keeping a bunch of sweet potatoes alive over the winter by propagating multiple starts from vine cuttings. I obviously started too early in the winter -- because I am being over-run with vines (can't bring myself to throw any away).

However, I read somewhere (can't find it now), that when you propagate sweet potatoes (the eating kind, not ornamental) in cups like that -- since the roots tend to grow all around into the cup and get jumbled together, when you plant them outside, the potatoes will all be crowded together from the jumbled roots and not really grow out well/expand -- just staying mainly below the plant.

Should I be thinking about trimming the roots back to the stem in these slips about a week before planting so that the plant establishes itself with NEW root growth from the get go and avoid the problem above?

Does that even sound like a possible problem described above (you can't believe everything you read on the internet right)?

Anyone have any experience with this to share? Its been all I can do to keep trimming the vines back to keep them under the lights so they survive long enough to get planted out in about six weeks. It would be sad to have a failed crop after all that work.

Thanks for any help.

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Have you tried to root one from the potato? That turns out to be fun. Put toothpicks in the sides of the potato just so that a couple of inches of the potato is in water and it will start growing like crazy. One year I planted the potato with vines on a fence, and it made the most amazing vines. By the end of the season, the potatoes were HUGE and the sweetest I have ever eaten.

The way you are growing the cuttings shouldn't hurt at all to cut the roots back when they need it, but only as much as needed and not quite to the stem.

That is all of my experience so hope it helps

    Bookmark   April 7, 2012 at 1:14AM
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