Sweet potatoes are incredibly easy to re-grow! In fact, one single potato can grow dozens more! Keep reading to learn how to regrow sweet potatoes from one plant.
If you live in a warm climate or are looking for an easy plant as a beginning gardener, sweet potatoes should be on your list!
Sweet potatoes do grow a bit differently than a regular potato would, but it’s still just as easy! You can grow LOTS of sweet potatoes from one plant!
Don’t Throw Away Old Sweet Potatoes!
Ever look into your potato box and notice that your sweet potatoes have started to sprout? Instead of throwing them away, keep them! They’re exactly what we need!
That’s because to regrow a sweet potato, you need to plant the sprouts, also called “slips.” If you don’t have a sprouts yet, all you have to do is wait for one of your sweet potatoes to start growing them.
Where Do Sweet Potatoes Grow Best?
Sweet potatoes are a tropical plant, making them ideal for hot climates. They like a lot of water, so locations with substantial rainfall and humidity are also a plus.
We live in East Texas, which is hot and humid for most of the year. Sweet potatoes are one of our most successful crops!
However, they will grow anywhere that has a few months of warmth. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a tropical climate.
How Long Does it Take Sweet Potatoes to Grow?
Sweet potatoes generally mature in about 3-4 months. You’ll want to plant them about a month after the last frost.
If you live in an area with hot summers (like Texas), this is a great plant to grow during the months when other plants struggle.
Sweet potatoes love heat, so summer is their ideal time to grow. Instead of leaving parts of the garden empty, or trying to grow plants that wither in the heat, grow sweet potatoes instead!
The large leaves also offer shade to the neighboring plants in the garden, which is helpful during those hot sunny months.
How Much Space Do You Need?
Sweet potatoes grow on a vine, so make sure that you leave PLENTY of room for them to grow! They will pretty much take over anywhere you plant them.
In addition to the vine system, sweet potatoes also produce a lot of leaves above the surface. They provide excellent shade from the sun and can be used to protect the soil from drying out.
However, the sweet potato vines will often spill out over the garden area in which you planted them, if left to their own devices. You may want to trim them from time to time.
Sweet potatoes can be planted in a container garden, 5-gallon buckets, or in the ground. If given time, they will usually fill the area completely.
How to Plant Sweet Potatoes
When growing sweet potatoes, you’ll need to start with a “seed potato” as opposed to seeds themselves. This makes them ideal to re-grow from kitchen scraps or “old” potatoes that you no longer want to eat.
First, take your potato and place a wooden skewer through the middle. Fill a jar with water and place the potato in the jar, so that the skewer rests on the rim and only half of the potato is submerged.
Place the jar in a window or an area with some sunlight…and wait. Over the next couple weeks, your potato will begin to sprout. These sprouts are known as “slips” and what we will use to plant new potatoes.
When the slips are about 10 centimeters long, pull them off from the seed potato.
Use the back of a wooden spoon (or something similar) to make a hole in your garden that is about 5 centimeters deep.
Place one sweet potato slip in the hole you created — it should stick out of the ground about halfway — and press the dirt around it to secure. Plant the slips about 20 inches apart.
Treat these slips as you would any other plant in your garden — water them and care for them as they grow. In a few months, there will be lots of delicious sweet potatoes in the ground where you planted those slips!
How Many Sweet Potatoes Can Grow from One Slip?
Each slip that you plant could yield anywhere from 5-10 full grown potatoes in a few months. Or more!
With our most recent sweet potato crop, I planted 5 slips and we ended up with about 50 potatoes (that’s my best guess because I didn’t actually count them).
They’re a very good return on time and investment!
The other amazing thing is that you can grow multiple slips from a single potato. And you can keep re-growing slips from this potato even after you pick some! All you need to do is make sure to keep enough water in the jar.
What Can You Do With Sweet Potato Leaves?
Sweet potato leaves are prolific — meaning they will grow readily and quickly take over the garden!
However, these large green leaves are useful for quite a few reasons:
- They provide ground cover and shade, which helps keep soil from drying out during periods of intense heat or dry spells.
- Animals love to eat them, and will often go straight for the big clumps of sweet potato leaves, rather than other areas of the garden. I used my sweet potato leaves as a “sacrifice” of sorts, to protect the rest of my plants from the deer that frequent our property.
- They’re edible! Sweet potato leaves are packed with nutrition and can be enjoyed raw or cooked.
How Do You Know When Sweet Potatoes are Ready to Harvest?
A sweet potato crop is usually ready to harvest after 3-4 months, but you can let them mature a bit longer and grow more tubers if you like.
When the leaves start to yellow or wither, you’ll know that it is time to get them out of the ground.
More Foods You Can Regrow
Also check out this awesome list of 15 Foods You Can Regrow from Scraps!