In this article, we’re going to show you how to grow sweet potatoes in a pot. It’s the perfect solution for those who are short on space but still want to enjoy the deliciousness of homegrown sweet potatoes.
We’ll walk you through every step of the process, from choosing the right variety to harvesting your tasty tubers. So grab your pot and let’s get growing!
1. Pick a suitable variety for the pot
When selecting a sweet potato variety for your pot, look for compact and bushy varieties that have shorter vines. These types are better suited for containers as they take up less space and are easier to manage.
Some popular container-friendly, sweet potato varieties include ‘Bunch Porto Rico’, ‘Vardaman’, and ‘Centennial’. These varieties have smaller tubers and are known for their ability to thrive in confined spaces.
Choose varieties that are disease resistant and have a shorter growing season, as this will increase your chances of a successful harvest.
2. Choose the best time to grow sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are warm-season crops that require a long growing season, so it’s best to plant them after the last threat of frost has passed. Typically, this is in late spring or early summer.
Planting sweet potatoes when the soil temperature reaches around 60°F (15.5°C) is ideal for their growth. During this time, the days are longer and temperatures are warmer, providing the perfect conditions for sweet potatoes to thrive.
3. Find out how long it will take to grow sweet potatoes
The time to grow sweet potatoes can vary depending on various factors, such as the variety of sweet potato, environmental conditions, and care provided.
On average, it takes about 90 to 170 days for sweet potatoes to fully mature and be ready for harvest. However, it’s important to note that we can harvest sweet potatoes earlier if you prefer smaller, tender tubers.
To determine the readiness for harvest, monitor the foliage of the sweet potato plants. When the leaves turn yellow and die back, it’s a good sign that the sweet potatoes are ready to be dug up.
4. Pick the right pot to grow sweet potatoes
Choose a pot that has drainage holes to prevent water from pooling and causing root rot. The pot should also be deep enough, at least 12 inches, to allow the sweet potato roots to grow freely.
A container that’s 2 feet across per plant will provide enough space for the plants to spread out and produce a good yield. Using a larger pot will result in larger yields. Remember to plan on one plant per pot to give each sweet potato enough room to grow.
5. Prepare the pot for planting
Choose a pot that’s at least 12 inches deep and 2 feet across to allow enough space for the sweet potato plant to grow.
Make sure the pot has drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, as proper drainage is essential for healthy tuber formation.
Fill the pot with well-draining soil, preferably a mix of compost and sand, to provide the sweet potato plant with the nutrients.
Consider adding a balanced vegetable fertilizer to the soil before planting to ensure optimal growth.
6. Add support to the plant
Place a sturdy trellis or stake in the pot alongside the sweet potato plant to provide support as it grows. Sweet potato vines can grow long and heavy, and without proper support, they may become tangled or fall over, affecting their growth and yield.
A trellis or stake will help keep the plant upright and prevent it from sprawling all over the place. Make sure we securely anchored the trellis or stake in the pot to withstand the weight of the plant.
As the vines grow, gently tie them to the trellis or stake using soft plant ties or twine. This will help guide the growth of the plant and ensure it stays supported throughout the growing season.
7. Get the required sweet potato slips
Get your sweet potato slips by sourcing them from garden centers, seed or nursery companies, or individuals on platforms like Etsy or Amazon. These sources typically offer a variety of sweet potato slips to choose from, allowing you to select the ones that best suit your preferences.
When getting slips, it’s a good idea to plan ahead and get extra slips to account for potential rot or drying out. This way, you can ensure that you have enough healthy slips to plant in your pots.
Remember to check the quality of the slips before purchasing to ensure that they’re in good condition.
8. Plant sweet potato slips in the pot
Create evenly spaced trenches in the soil for planting the slips, making sure to plant them deep enough to cover the roots.
After planting, water the soil daily to keep it moist but not waterlogged.
It’s important to maintain a room temperature or above to ensure optimal growth.
9. Provide the required sunlight
Sweet potatoes thrive in full sun, so choose a spot that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day.
Place your container in a south-facing area or any location where it can receive ample sunlight. If you’re growing sweet potatoes indoors, place the container near a south-facing window or use grow lights to provide sufficient light.
10. Provide the required water to the plant
Container-grown sweet potatoes require frequent watering because the soil in containers dries out quickly.
Before watering, check the moisture level of the soil by sticking your finger about an inch deep into the soil. If it feels dry, it’s time to water.
When watering, make sure to thoroughly saturate the soil until the water drains out from the bottom of the pot. This will ensure that the roots receive enough water and prevent dry soil, which can negatively affect tuber development.
Maintain consistent moisture levels by watering whenever the soil dries out.
11. Provide nutrients to the sweet potatoes plant
Use a balanced organic fertilizer to nourish your sweet potato plant and promote healthy growth and tuber development. Sweet potatoes are heavy feeders and require regular nutrient supplementation to thrive.
Choose an organic fertilizer that’s specifically formulated for vegetables and has a balanced ratio of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), and potassium (K). This balanced ratio will provide the necessary nutrients for strong root development, lush foliage, and abundant tuber production.
Follow the instructions on the fertilizer packaging for the correct application rates and frequency. It’s important to note that organic fertilizers may have lower nutrient percentages compared to synthetic fertilizers, so reapplication may be required during the growing season.
Providing the right nutrients will ensure a healthy and productive sweet potato plant.
12. Tie the plant to the support
As your sweet potato plant grows, it will produce long vines that can become heavy and may need help to stay upright. You can use materials such as bamboo stakes, trellises, or tomato cages to provide support.
Gently tie the vines to the support structure using soft garden twine or plant ties. Make sure not to tie them too tightly to allow for growth and prevent damage to the plant.
Regularly check the ties to ensure they aren’t becoming too tight as the plant continues to grow.
13. Harvest and store the sweet potatoes
Harvest your sweet potatoes when the foliage starts to yellow and dies back. Use a garden fork or shovel to carefully dig up the tubers, being gentle to avoid bruising or damaging them.
After harvesting, it’s important to cure the sweet potatoes by storing them in a warm, humid place for about two weeks. This process allows the sweet potatoes to develop their flavor and sweetness.
Once cured, store the sweet potatoes in a cool, dry, and dark place for long-term storage. Properly cured and stored sweet potatoes can last for several months, providing you with delicious and nutritious tubers throughout the year.