Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers At Home

Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers At Home

Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

The following information is about Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers.

The sweet potato is a sweet flavored large starchy root vegetable which is a source of many nutrients. A sweet, potato plant is a perennial plant in its native environment, but if you grow sweet potatoes in containers it is an easy process, but the plant is usually grown as an annual. The nutritious flesh of sweet potatoes come in two different varieties —one is dry flesh types and moist flesh types. The moist fleshed sweet potatoes transform its starch to sugars when cooked, thus becoming softer and sweeter when grown in tropical regions. The roots of the sweet potato plants have a vined root that trails down into the soil and some parts of the roots swell and form a storage root. These storage roots are called sweet potatoes, which are harvested and consumed.

The young leaves of sweet potato plants are also consumed. The Sweet potatoes are different from the normal potatoes, these don’t belong to the same family. The sweet potato plant has a heart shaped or palmately deeply clustered leaves with flowers. The plants produce storage roots with smooth skin and their color ranges between yellow, red, brown, purple, and beige. The flesh of potatoes ranges from white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. The sweet potato plants are frost sensitive, the ideal temperature for growing sweet potatoes in containers is of 24°C with a good amount of sunlight and warm night temperatures. Sweet potatoes are rich source of carbohydrates, dietary fiber and beta-carotene.

  • Scientific Name for Sweet Potatoes: lpomoea Batatas
  • Common Name: Sweet Potatoes.
  • Sweet Potatoes belong to the Family: Convolvulacae

Types of Sweet Potatoes for Growing Sweet Potatoes in Containers:

There are many varieties of sweet potatoes. For growing Sweet Potatoes in Containers, choose a suitable variety of plant that grows well in Containers depending on your climatic conditions. Types of sweet potatoes classified depending on their flesh type, some varieties of sweet potatoes have moist flesh, and some have dry flesh.  And plants of sweet potatoes are both bush and vine varieties, choose compact varieties that grow well in a compact area. Compact sweet potato plant  varieties that grow in containers are Porto Rico and Vardaman.

Porto Rico: This sweet potato plant is compact variety, that is suitable for container gardening. These plants come in both vine and bush type plants. Portiorico is also known as putertorico and portorica, these sweet potatoes come with copper-colored skin and light red flesh. The maturity period of these sweet potatoes is 100 – 140 days. These potato plants have short, compact vines. Ideal sowing time for Porto Rico is 2 to 3 weeks after the frost. The plant life cycle is annual when grown in containers. The Spring season is the best time to plant sweet potato plants. And it grows well tropical climate and thrives well in full sun. The Maturing period for Porto Rico is 100-140 days it varies with climatic conditions.

Georgia jet: Georgia jet is a short-season sweet potato variety, this is the best variety to grow in containers. These potato plants grow very quickly and is very easy to maintain. The Harvesting period Georgia jet sweet potato is 90to 100 days. These sweet potatoes have amazing sweet taste, these have a red-skin with deep orange colored moist flesh. Spring is the ideal season to plant sweet potato, sow the seeds 2 to 3 weeks after last frost. The plant life cycle is annual when grown in container in tropical regions. It requires humid climate and full sun to thrive.

Varadman: This is a famous sweet potato variety grown in Mississippi regions. These sweet potatoes are best tasted sweet potatoes among all the varieties. Vardaman sweet potato plant is a bush type, these potatoes have golden yellow skin that darken after digging. The harvesting period of this variety sweet potatoes is 100 days, Spring is the ideal season to plant these sweet potatoes. Sow the seeds after the week after last frost date. It requires semi tropical climate with full sunlight to thrive.

Beauregard: These are compact variety sweet potato plants that are best for container gardening. These sweet potatoes have pale reddish skin with dark orange flesh.

Centennial: This is a quick growing sweet potato variety and is highly disease resistant.  These sweet potatoes have a great taste. The harvesting period of these variety sweet potatoes is 90 days. Spring is the ideal planting time for sweet potato plants. It requires semi tropical climate with full sunlight to thrive. The plant life cycle is annual when grown in containers.

Georgia jet: These potatoes have red colored skin with orange colored, moist flesh, these sweet potato plants have good resistance power. It is the best variety for container gardening. The harvesting period of these variety sweet potatoes is 90 days. Spring is the ideal planting time for sweet potato plants. It requires semi-tropical climate with full sunlight to thrive. The plant life cycle is annual when grown in containers.

Patriot: these sweet potatoes have copper skin with orange colored flesh, these sweet potato plants have good resistance power. It is the best variety for container gardening. The harvesting period of these variety sweet potatoes is 100 days. Spring is the ideal planting time for sweet potato plants. It requires semi tropical climate with full sunlight to thrive. The plant life cycle is annual when grown in containers.

Best variety for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

For growing sweet potatoes in containers, Select the bush varieties, bushy varieties has short vines and grows well in compact spaces in containers.

How to select sweet potato varieties?

Select a variety that grows well in the containers, many gardeners refer ‘Portio Rico’ (both bush and Vined ) as the best plant for container gardeners . Puretorico and Vardaman are best to grow in containers

‘Vardaman’ is also the best variety for container gardening for its bush habit and reined in vines.

You can buy sweet potato slips from online garden stores, local garden centers or hardware stores. Don’t grow from the sweet potatoes that you get from the grocery store and sprouting process of these grocery sweet potatoes can be an unsuccessful as they chemical treated to control sprouting.

Steps For Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

For growing Sweet Potatoes in containers, you need large containers in tropical climates. You can sweet potatoes in containers from both Slips or transplants, you can get them from nearby nurseries or garden centers.

Best season for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

Sweet potatoes are warm crops. And they grow well in hot and warm areas. Sweet Potatoes thrive well in all USDA zones except the cold regions. The Spring and the summer are the best seasons to grow sweet potatoes in containers.

Best Containers for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Select a suitable container for Growing Sweet Potatoes.
  • You can get many containers suitable for growing Sweet Potatoes.
  • Don’t choose plastic containers or metal containers, select the container made of clay and you can reusable whisky barrels, these are the best choice.
  • Containers should have a good draining system. Make sure that the container has 2 to 3 draining holes.
  • You can also grow sweet potatoes in Fabric potato planter bags or potato growing. These grow bags are available online or in garden stores.
  • Grow bags are the best option, grow bags provide good aeration to the roots which provide an adequate draining facility. Harvesting the sweet potatoes in grow bags is very easy. You can just lift the bag and dump the contents into a wheel barrow making harvest extreme easy.

Soil for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:  

  • Sweet potatoes required, deep, loose sandy and well-drained soil that allows storage roots to grow easily and well drained soil avoid rotting due to over watering.
  • The best potting soil for growing potatoes in containers, enrich the soil with the compost or organic manure, and the pH level of the soil should range from 6.5 to 7.0.
  • Commercial high-quality potting mix is highly recommended for growing sweet potatoes in containers.
  • Mix the potting mix the organic compost and granular organic fertilizer high in potash, these provides a constant supply of nutrient to the root of the plants.

Planting sweet potatoes for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Sweet potatoes can be grown from both transplants and slips.
  • If sweet potatoes are grown from slips, slips are the sprouts grown on the stored sweet potatoes or ready-made slips are available in nurseries or local gardens.
  • You can also grow slips at home itself, buy fresh, unblemished and uncracked potatoes from the market. From one sweet potato you can grow minimum 12 plants.

How to grow Sweet Potato slips?

  • Ideal time to grow slips from sweet potato is November.
  • For growing slips, Store sweet potatoes in room at temperatures of 15-20°C. Store the sweet potatoes till the you see them sprouting.
  • Fill the container, with the potting soil. The container should hold 2 to 3 gallons of soil. Fill the container with 3-inch to 4 inches of mulch and then fill 2 inches of potting soil.
  • Now place the sweet potatoes in the container at a 45 degree angle, this makes the sweet potatoes to sprout and grow above the soil.
  • Water the sweet potatoes deeply. Keep the soil moist levels constantly. The sweet potatoes take more than 6 weeks to sprout.
  • Now move the container to outdoors, it needs 3 to 4 hours of sunlight for the sweet potato sprout to sprout.
  • Wait till slips grow up to 6 to 12 inches, and then transplant them into desired containers.
  • Fill the container with commercial good soil and plant the slips, plant them so deep to cover the roots and about ½ inch of the stem.
  • And water mixed with liquid fertilizers. Water the plant constantly till stems root well.
  • Sprouting the sweet potatoes may not be successfully job, some potatoes may sprout and some may not.

How to transplant slips in Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Instead growing slips at home, it is a good method to buy them from nurseries or garden centers and transplant them.
  • Once the slips grow up to 15-20cm long, prune some leaves at the bottom, except the two sets of leaves at the top.
  • Now plant the slips in containers filled with potting soil and the organic compost. Leave the leaves on the top of the soil.
  • Fill the soil till the roots get firm and stand alone in the soil. New tubers will produced from these roots.

Propagating Sweet Potatoes:

  • You can also grow sweet potatoes from the existing plants. Select a branch that has several leaf nodes.
  • Prune all the leave at the bottom and place the stem merged with water.
  • After 2 to 3 weeks you can notice root formation at the bottom the stem.
  • Then transplant he plant in a large container.

Water for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Sweet potatoes need lots of water to thrive.
  • Water the plants at regular intervals, keep soil moist constantly.
  • Don’t make the soil wet, it may cause root rot.
  • During the summer, you should  water the plants very well and with more frequently.
  • Water quantity required by the plants depends on the type of container.
  • If you are growing, sweet potatoes in grow bags, moisture levels should check once in a day.
  • If growing sweet potatoes in containers made of clay or wood, clay and wood can hold moisture for a long time.

Sunlight for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Sweet potatoes thrive well in full sun to partial shade.
  • During slips formation period, the potatoes need 5 to 6 hours of sunlight per day.
  • After transplanting, the plant needs full sunlight 8 to 9 hours per day.
  • Sweet potatoes can tolerate high temperatures in peak summers.

Temperature for Growing Sweet Potatoes in Containers:

  • Ideal temperature for growing Sweet potatoes in containers should range from 20° to 24°C throughout the growing period.
  • Sweet potato plants are not resistant to cold. Move the container to indoors  when the temperatures  go below 10°C.

Best location for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Sweet potatoes don’t grow in locations. They need a warm location to thrive.
  • Temperature should be above 15°C during the day and night.
  • Place the container in a location where it gets direct sunlight all day.
  • Balconies, backyards, front yards, terrace gardens, etc., are the best location to grow sweet potatoes in containers?

Fertilizers for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Sweet potato plants are low feeders. Feed the plants with low-nitrogen organic fertilizer blend or with organic feed like fish emulsion or seaweed.
  • Use mild organic fertilizer in ratio (N: P: K) 5-10-10 or 15-30- 15.
  • Fertilize the plants with natural fruit compost once in month to fasten the growth tubers.
  • You can fertilize them with home-made manure, like leaf mold, vegetable waste, tea composts.
  • You can also use commercial organic fertilizers at the time of planting.
  • Mulch the plants with a 2-inch layer of leaf mold on the top of the soil surface, this will provide the constant supply of nutrients.
  • After 7 to 8 weeks, side dressing the plants with leaf or vegetable compost will supply nutrients to the roots of the plants.

Diseases and pests for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Common pests that can affect sweet potato plants are Wire worms, beetle grubs, white grubs, beetles, aphids, thirps and whiteflies.
  • Grow disease resistant varieties to avoid pests and diseases.
  • Use organic pesticides to control these pests.
  • You can also use neem oil sprays or horticultural soaps or insecticidal soap sprays.

Harvesting and storing for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:

  • Harvesting period is sweet potatoes is 90 to 100 days when grown in tropical regions and it period may increase when grown in colder regions.
  • After harvesting, allow the sweet potatoes to air dry for 7 to 8 hours.
  • Then the sweet potatoes should be cured for 10-15 days at 22°C.
  • The Ideal temperature for store tubers is 12°C to 15°C.

Tips for Growing Sweet Potatoes In Containers:              

  • Sweet potatoes cannot tolerate when the soil temperature goes below 15°C.
  • The Optimum temperature for growing sweet potatoes in containers is 16°c.
  • Don’t fertilize the plants with nitrogen rich fertilizer during planting time, excess nitrogen can harm the plants.
  • Constant Mulching helps to keep the soil moist during summer season. Mulching also controls weeds.
  • Sweet potatoes are drought tolerant, under watering can cause splitting.
  • Give support of wooden stakes that improves the vine growth of plants.
  • Don’t cut the vines, it may affect the growth of sweet potatoes.
  • Sweet potatoes are less tolerant to cold, the plant stops growing in cold seasons.
  • Stops watering the plants before 3-4 weeks of harvesting, this protects the roots from spitting.
  • Regular pruning keeps the plants compact, Pruning should be done in summer and spring season.
  • The Warm temperature will quicken the formation of tubers.

Last Updated: August 15, 2018
Author: Jagdish

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