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Grow your own sweet potato: Tips on how to preplant, plant & harvest the tuber (in bed or pot).

Already in January you can advance the first vegetables, and sweet potato is one of them. Even if the normal potato without question simply belongs, but more and more amateur gardeners also consider the sweet alternative. Not only because it tastes incredibly delicious, but also because it actually performs better in terms of nutrients. If you would like to grow the sweet potato yourself, follow our tips and steps for pre-growing, sowing, caring for and harvesting.

When is the right time to grow them in advance?

Grow your own sweet potato for the pot or garden bed starting in January

From the end of January, you can grow the sweet potato yourself and start preparing. But you also have until mid-February to do this. And this means, first of all, to grow the potatoes in advance and for this purpose to germinate. For this you need whole potatoes, which you can buy in any store / supermarket, but necessarily in organic quality.

Grow sweet potato yourself directly outdoors or indoors?

Since it’s still too cold to plant the tubers directly outdoors, you’ll need to grow them indoors in the warm. Why not just wait until spring and then sow the potato tubers directly? Of course, you can do that as well, namely after the Ice Saints in May. However, we recommend the first variant, because this way you can harvest the first sweet potatoes earlier. In fact, it is best to use both variants to benefit from two harvests.

To get them to sprout

Grow sweet potato yourself in water - germination and shoots with roots form

Take a potato and cut it in half if necessary, if it is large (you can also use the whole one, but cut off the bottom tip). Prepare a jam jar or larger jar of water. Now insert toothpicks or other sticks into the sweet potato at approximately equal distances from each other and in the center. These serve as supports so that the tuber does not fall completely into the water. So hang them in the jar, cut side down. Now place the jar in a bright and warm place so you can let the sweet potato germinate.

Sprouting can take different amounts of time, depending on the potato, and can take up to several weeks. In the meantime, you don’t need to do anything other than add water or change the water as needed. Eventually, roots will appear in the water or several shoots will appear above the water.

Planting seedlings

Cut off shoots and place in water for root development

Once the shoots are about 20 cm long, you can plant them. Here you have two options, depending on whether you are looking to harvest or use the sweet potato plant more as a decoration:

  • Plant the whole potato, including shoots and roots, in soil. New tubers should be guaranteed here.
  • Break off the shoots and plant them individually in soil. In this case, if necessary, there will be no tubers to harvest and the plant will serve more decorative purposes.

Note: You can also put the broken off shoots in water beforehand as well, so that they form their own roots before you plant them.

Alternative directly in the pot with soil

Grow sweet potatoes in soil for harvesting or for ornamental purposes


Another variant to propagate the sweet potato is to put the potatoes directly into soil. Use the whole tuber or cut it into 7 to 10 centimeter pieces (then let the cuts dry for a day). With either option, plant the potato tuber only halfway in. Once the shoots are 10 to 15 centimeters long, break them out and replant in soil. You can also divide long shoots for multiple cuttings.

Plant sweet potato and grow it yourself – Can you grow it in a pot?

As mentioned above, after the long frost period, the plants can go outdoors without any problems. And here you have the choice of planting the tuber with the shoots directly into the bed or continue cultivation in a pot. Either way, you need to offer it a sunny place, as this is important for good development. Keep in mind that temperatures below 10 degrees will temporarily stop the growth of the plants.

These plants need plenty of space. So plan a distance of at least 60 centimeters between each specimen in grooves in the bed. So, if you grow the sweet potato in a pot, also give it enough space in the form of a large container. This should also be deeper, as the potato plants root quite deeply. If you grow the sweet potato in the garden or bed, the soil should be loosened deeply enough.

Care for the plants properly

In itself, the plants quite unpretentious, but you should not neglect the watering especially in the summer during the long dry period. Especially for potted plants this is important, because there the soil dries out faster. Also fertilize from time to time.

Grow your own sweet potato – When is the right time to harvest sweet potatoes?

Grow your own sweet potato - tips for growing, caring for and harvesting sweet potatoes

As soon as the above-ground parts of the plant and more specifically the leaves begin to turn more yellow, you can assume that the potatoes are ripe and can be harvested. Usually this happens from September . However, if you want to harvest larger tubers, leave them in the ground for some more time (until the first frost at the latest) to allow them to continue growing. Either way, a dry day is best for harvesting. A digging fork is best for picking.

To keep sweet potatoes for a long time during storage, make sure they form their typical skin. For this purpose, let them rest for two days, choosing an airy place for this purpose. This will also contribute to a better taste. By and large, sweet potato tubers are stored no warmer than 15 degrees, and only for a few weeks.

How to harvest early potatoes, you can learn here .