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A picture of a Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato

Ipomoea batatas

Also known as

sweetpotato, Yam, Kumar, Spanish Potato, Brazilian Arrowroot, `Uala

Photo by luispauperrimo (CC BY 4.0)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Frequent watering
Tender

H4-H1c

RHS hardiness

-10°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

50cm

Max

2m

30cm

Min

1.5m

Flowering

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

This plant has no fragrance

More images of Sweet Potato

A bunch of purple Ipomoea batatas flowers

Sweet Potato Overview

Ipomoea batatas is a tuberous, climbing perennial species resides in the Convolvulaceae family. It is more often grown as an annual plant for the roots. Commonly known by the name Sweet Potato, the tuberous roots, which are consumed widely as food are oblong and have orange to brown skin with cream to yellow to orange flesh. It has excellent yields, vigorous vines and produces a couple of large roots in each bunch. Sweet Potato is used as snack, meal and staple food in many countries, also known by the names Batata, Kumara and Yam in different locations. Both the tuberous roots and leaves may be consumed, they are said to taste like spinach!

Common problems with Sweet Potato

Sweet potato can have Fusarium wilt, sweet potato flea beetle and the tubers can be affected by wireworms and nematodes.

Sweet Potato Companion Plants

Companion plants that grow well near sweet potatoes include dill, thyme, beets and parsnips. Avoid planting squash near sweet potatoes because of a similar vine spreading growth.

How to harvest Sweet Potato

Tubers are ready to harvest 3-5 months after planting. Stop watering 3 weeks before harvesting to keep mature tubers from splitting. Greens can be harvested throughout the season with light cuttings. Dig up potatoes where the slip was originally planted.

How to propagate Sweet Potato

Cuttings

Take tip cuttings of about 30-40 cm long with approximately eight nodes. Cut away the lower leaves, as tearing these off may damage the nodes that will produce the roots. Plant cut end in the ground.

Tubers

Place slips 7.5 cm deep, spaced 30cm apart and rows should be about 0.9-1.2 m apart.

Seed

Propagation is by seeds in the spring.

Special features of Sweet Potato

Crop rotation

Rotate with other groups of vegetables before replanting the same area with root crops again.

Wet sites

Tubors can grow in aquatic systems - roots will benefit from the nutrients from fish, clearing the water and the vine will quickly grow out to breath in air.

Attracts bees

Bees are attracted to the flowers.

Attracts butterflies

Butterflies are attracted to the flowers.

Other uses of Sweet Potato

Culinary, vegetable, food

Edible

The leaves, shoots and tubers are edible. Tubers can be boiled, roasted or cut into chips and the shoots and leaves can be cooked and used as a spinach or green vegetable substitute. High in Vitamins and minerals and effectively used as staple food.