Sweet potatoes are a great food to learn how to grow. They are nutrient-dense and have a significant amount of calories. Plus they’re easy to start from scraps, and easy to grow! Even if you don’t have much space, growing sweet potatoes in containers is totally an option!
Start With Sweet Potato Slips
Just like growing sweet potatoes in the ground, growing sweet potatoes in containers starts with what’s called slips. These are the vines that grow from the actual sweet potato root.
Use an organic sweet potato from the store, a sweet potato from a friend’s garden or your last harvest, or order one from a seed supplier. Place the sweet potato halfway in water and let the vines begin to grow.
Once the slips form, gently pinch them off and place them in water to grow their roots. Change the water regularly. Once they have a nice little set of roots it’s time to put them into their permanent containers!
Planting Sweet Potato Slips in Containers
Sweet potatoes are warm weather loving plants. If you were planting outdoors, you would need to wait until all chances of frost were gone before planting. But because you can keep your containers indoors in a bright location, or move them indoors at night or cold days, you can plant any time!
Any garden pot will work for the vines. I recommend something the size of a five gallon bucket or larger for harvesting roots. Make sure your pot has drainage holes so your potatoes won’t rot. Fabric bags will work too!
Keep the potting soil very moist after planting, and gradually stretch out watering sessions one day at a time until you only need to water once a week. (If you live in a very hot area and they are in full sun you may still need to water every few days.)
Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers For Aesthetics
If you aren’t interested in a sweet potato crop, you can still use sweet potato vines in decorative container gardens as well. The vines make a great addition to vary the height of your planting, and they have beautiful green foliage.
You can also harvest from just the vines and use the leaves like you would spinach in the kitchen.
Harvesting Your Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes take at least 100 days to form. The vines will start to yellow, or you can wait until your first frost kills off the plant.
Be very careful when digging the sweet potatoes out, as their skin is very fragile. You can even gently dump the soil out of the containers if you prefer.
Once your sweet potatoes are harvested, gently brush off dirt, and keep them in single layer in a dry place for two weeks while they cure. After that you can stack them in a cool dark place like the pantry, but don’t store them in the fridge.
Have fun growing sweet potatoes in containers!
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