With the growing popularity of container gardening, many growers wonder how to grow sweet potatoes in a container. Growing sweet potatoes in containers is a great way to enjoy fresh, delicious veggies without dedicating lots of vegetable garden space or having a garden.
Sweet potatoes have two types: vegetable varieties cultivated for edible roots and ornamental trailing sweet potato vines bred for their attractive trailing vines.
Both varieties are members of the Ipomoea batatas species, a fragile perennial usually planted annually. As a bonus, the beautiful and culinary kinds are simple to cultivate in containers. Both varieties thrive in bright, full sun environments. Depending on the cultivars you plant, growers may grow edible tubers in approximately 100 to 140 days.
All About Growing Sweet Potatoes in Containers
It may be necessary to start your plants six to twelve weeks before your area’s estimated last frost date to ensure a long enough growing season in some country regions.
In the spring, sweet potatoes are commonly available for purchase as container plants in various sizes. A seed potato is another option. However, they are simple to cultivate by sprouting sweet potato slips from parts of the tubers.
Planting sweet potatoes in containers is a great way to grow your own sweet potatoes and is a fun DIY project. These delicious spuds do well in raised beds, whiskey barrels, or grow bags, and like regular potatoes, they produce a high yield per plant.
Though often confused with yams, sweet potatoes have sweeter and softer flesh and lighter skin. It’s actually easy to distinguish between sweet potatoes or yams if you know what to look for.
Save a visit to the grocery store or farmers’ market and grow sweet potatoes at home by learning how to grow sweet potatoes in containers.
How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in a Container – Sprouting Slips
The first step in growing sweet potatoes in a container or the way to plant potatoes in a pot is by sprouting slips from tubers. Most garden centers have sweet potato slips for purchase, but they’re easy to germinate at home.
Select firm sweet potatoes free of any damaged patches on the skin. Avoid refrigerating them if at all possible. Cut the tubers into portions just slightly smaller in diameter than the entrance of the glass container with a sharp knife.
When you are starting potatoes indoors, find the center of each tuber piece and insert four or more toothpicks; they should go around 1/2 to 1 inch into the tuber. Space the toothpicks uniformly around the circumference of the portion of the tuber. You may use a thin nail to make a small hole in the tuber and then insert the toothpick through it if the potato is too firm.
Set up each piece of tuber so the toothpicks rest on the edge of the glass’s rim, with the pointy side of the tuber facing the bottom. Fill the jar halfway with water, enough to completely submerge the lower half of the tuber.
Place your jar of water on a windowsill in full sun and change the water every few days to keep it clean. Make sure the tuber’s bottom remains wholly submerged in the jar of water.
How long to grow sweet potatoes will take a few weeks to a month before you notice green growth growing from the top of the tuber’s surface. Slips are the individual stalks sprouted from the tuber when you grow potatoes from eyes and propagate a new sweet potato plant. Potatoes are not bad when they sprout – it just means they’re trying to grow new potatoes.
How to Grow Sweet Potatoes in Containers – Separating Slips
The next step in how to grow sweet potatoes in a container or to plant potatoes in a bucket is to separate the individual slips. Carefully remove each one by gently twisting each slip away from the sweet potato tuber once it sprouts. It’s possible the slip already has a primary root system attached to it; if so, avoid disturbing the roots.
Fill a shallow dish half full with water and place each slip in it, with the stems’ bottoms immersed in water and their leaves dangling over the side of the jar. Within a few days, new roots begin emerging from the bottom of the slips.
Carefully plant potato slips into potting soil once the new roots have grown to about one inch in length. Discard any slip that has wilted or failed to develop roots as it is not viable in producing a sweet potato plant.
Transplant Sweet Potatoes into Containers
To develop your sweet potato vines as ornamental plants, choose a 4-inch seedling pot with proper drainage and place them in it. As soon as your plants begin to thrive indoors, they are ready to be transplanted into larger containers and blended with other plants.
To grow edible sweet potatoes, the way to plant potatoes in a 5 gallon bucket is to ensure it has good drainage to give them enough area to grow. Alternatively, if you intend to plant your edible sweet potatoes in the garden, start the slips in seedling pots.
Fill a container halfway with good quality potting soil so the dirt reaches about an inch below the top of the container before planting potatoes in pots. Don’t compact the soil too much; the tubers require loose soil to develop. If your potting soil does not already include ingredients to fertilize, mix in a slow-release fertilizer mix to give it a boost.
Use a garden fork to dig a pit in the dirt deep enough to accommodate the slip’s roots completely. Gently insert one or two slips, pressing the earth around them to make them solid. Check for air pockets near the roots, remove them if necessary and thoroughly water the area.
When you choose to plant potatoes in containers, place the container in a bright, well-ventilated area of your home, and keep the soil damp but not soaked. Poke your finger into the dirt to check the moisture level. If the earth appears to be dry, water it. If it’s still wet at the tip of your finger, wait until it’s completely dry.
Moving Containers or Replanting Outdoors
Sweet potatoes thrive in warm weather, so wait until all risk of frost has passed before putting your fresh seedlings outside to establish themselves. Ideally, temperatures are continuously at or above 65 degrees Fahrenheit for several days beforehand.
It helps to harden off new plants by gradually acclimatizing them to the outdoors before transferring them to their final location, whether planting potatoes in a container or garden bed. Growing potatoes in hay is just as easy as planting them in the ground.
If temperatures fluctuate unexpectedly, black plastic row covers and mulch help protect your crop. If keeping your sweet potatoes in a container long-term, a trellis keeps the vines under control. Basil grows well with sweet potatoes, whether in a nearby container or beside them in the ground.
Sweet potatoes are harvested at any stage of development. Check the label of your variety to find out how many days it takes to develop fully. Harvest your sweet potatoes prior to the first frost of autumn at the end of the season for the optimum taste.
Curing sweet potatoes in a dry, warm place for around 14 days before eating ensures they have the best flavor possible and extends their shelf life.
Whether you choose the Vardaman, Beauregard, or another variety of sweet potatoes, understanding how to grow sweet potatoes in containers allows you to enjoy delicious produce from a minimal space footprint.
Growing sweet potatoes in containers is a fun and easy DIY project requiring few supplies and producing a high yield of delicious potatoes.
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