If you’ve ever left a sweet potato out for an extended period of time, you may have noticed it begin to sprout. This begs the question of how to grow sweet potatoes! In fact, just like regular potatoes, you can start growing new sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) from a few leftovers.
All you need are sweet potato slips, which are little sprouts grown from an old potato that serve as the foundation for new plants. And guess what else? Those new plants don’t have to go in the garden; they’re also very decorative indoors!
Continue reading to learn everything you need to know about growing sweet potato slips as houseplants or outdoors to produce your own sweet potatoes.
What exactly are sweet potato slips?
If a potato (including sweet potatoes) sprouts, these are referred to as slips. As long as your store-bought sweet potato has eyes (nodes on the potato from which roots or stems can grow), it can be used to start sweet potato slips.
But do these slips serve any purpose? Without a doubt! If one of your sweet potatoes begins to sprout, don’t throw it away. Allow the sweet potato slips to grow before separating them to pot or planting them in full soil. They are useful as decorative vining houseplants or for growing more sweet potatoes!
Let’s delve a little deeper into sweet potato slips and how to grow sweet potatoes with them.
What do you need to grow a sweet potato?
If you want to grow sweet potato slips to use as houseplants or to plant in your garden to grow new sweet potatoes, you’ll need the following:
Sweet potato is a root vegetable. Duh! Because not all of them will always sprout successfully, I recommend starting at least two or three at the same time. You can start by purchasing sweet potatoes online.
Potatoes with rot should be avoided.
Glass or vase
Picks for teeth (optional).
To begin growing your sweet potato slips, simply cut them in half, fill your vase or glass with water, and place the pieces in there. They should be submerged about halfway. The rounded side is where baby plants will begin to grow, so make sure that side is facing up. If your container is a little too wide, you can easily suspend the sweet potato and keep it in place with three or four toothpicks.
How to Begin Making Sweet Potato Slips
The waiting game begins once you’ve immersed your sweet potatoes in water. Place the container in a warm, well-lit area, and change the water on a regular basis.
Although, as previously stated, not all sweet potatoes will sprout, the majority will begin to produce roots on the underside and small stems and leaves on top. In both cases, the growth will emerge from the potato’s skin’s small bumps (eyes).
Depending on the environment, the growth process can be quick or slow, but you should see some results within a few weeks. Slips develop at a slower rate than roots.
If the water becomes cloudy and/or smells strange, discard the potato piece. It’s starting to rot, which is unfortunate because there’s nothing you can do about it.
If there is no rot and healthy sprouts are appearing, simply wait until the stems are healthy and firm, with a few leaves, before proceeding to the next step.
What is the best way to grow sweet potatoes as a houseplant?
You’ve successfully grown sweet potato slips!
These sprouts can now be transformed into completely new sweet potato plants. The foliage is quite decorative and looks lovely grown indoors, but you can also transplant the slips into your garden to grow your own sweet potatoes. If the latter is of interest to you, take a look at this article.
You can now remove the sweet potato slips from the’mother potato’ if you want to keep them indoors and grow them as houseplants. Simply twist them off gently, being careful not to damage the stems too much. Then simply re-immerse them in water (small shot glasses might be an easy option). Before transferring them to their own pots, wait until they have developed some roots.
When potting up your baby sweet potato plants, choose a planter with a drainage hole, such as a plastic nursery pot, and well-draining soil with some added perlite. Select a sunny location and keep the soil moist.
To encourage faster growth, the best sweet potato fertilizer is simply regular houseplant fertilizer. Nothing out of the ordinary is required here!
And there you have it: how to grow your own sweet potato slips! It’s as simple as pie. Looking for more enjoyable projects involving the regrowth of food and the multiplication of plants? Examine the Propagation category.
Do you have any additional questions about starting sweet potatoes, or would you like to share your own experiences with growing sweet potato slips? Please leave a comment if you have any questions or comments.