How to Propagate a Sweet Potato Vine

Overview

It isn't always necessary to pay big bucks for beautiful houseplants, and sometimes you need look no further than your kitchen pantry. If you have sweet potatoes, set one aside for planting, and in a short time you'll have a lush green sweet potato vine. Propagating sweet potatoes is a good way to introduce kids to the pleasures of gardening, because they can watch the sweet potato vine grow day by day.

Step 1

Choose a firm sweet potato that has plenty of "eyes," which are small protuberances where the vine will grow. Sweet potatoes without eyes will still grow, but they will take longer.

Step 2

Fill a glass or a jar with lukewarm water. Any glass container will work, as long as the opening is slightly larger than the potato.

Step 3

Poke four toothpicks into each side of the sweet potato, toward the middle of the potato. The toothpicks should be inserted across from one another in a spoke fashion so that the potato can be supported in the glass or jar.

Step 4

Put the sweet potato in the glass or jar with the narrow end pointing down into the water. Put the glass or jar in a sunny spot, but don't put it in a window that gets hot afternoon sun. Indirect but bright light is best. You should be able to see roots growing from the bottom of the sweet potato in about a week, and green shoots will soon follow.

Step 5

Pour out the water once a week and add fresh water. Brackish water can attract insects and eventually rot the potato.

Step 6

Allow the sweet potato vine to keep growing in water, or transplant it to a container filled with commercial potting soil. Any container will work if it has a drainage hole in the bottom. Bury the sweet potato in the soil with the vines emerging from the top of the soil. Put the sweet potato vine in a sunny spot and keep the soil moist.

Things You'll Need

  • Sweet potato
  • Glass or jar
  • Toothpicks
  • Container with drainage hole (optional)
  • Commercial potting soil (optional)

References

  • University of Illinois Extension: The Great Plant Escape
  • House Plant Care and Information: How To Grow An Old Fashioned Sweet Potato Vine
Keywords: sweet potato vine, sweet potato, houseplant

About this Author

M.H. Dyer is a long-time writer, editor and proofreader. She has been a contributor to the East-Oregonian Newspaper and See Jane Run magazine, and is author of a memoir, “The Tumbleweed Chronicles, a Sideways Look at Life." She holds an Master of Fine Arts from National University, San Diego.