How to Grow a Sweet Potato Plant

Views: 19281 | Last Update: 2009-02-04
To grow a sweet potato plant, also known as ipomoea, plant it in a lush, warm climate while providing plenty of moisture to keep the soil damp. Avoid cold weather exposure when growing sweet potato vines with plant tips from a sustainable gardener in... View Video Transcript

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Yolanda Vanveen

Video Transcript

Hi, this is Yolanda Vanveen and in this segment we're going to learn all about how to grow the sweet potato. It's also known as ipomoea batatas. It's a beautiful climbing vine from Central America and the South Pacific. So sweet potato or ipomoea batatas is found in all of the Pacific islands, in Fiji and Tahiti and then all the way through Central America. And so they're a food staple in all of those countries. And back in the time when all of the pirate and the discoverers were sailing around the world, they realized that it was a great source of food. And that they brought them with their ships all over the world, so now we found ipomeas all over the world. So sweet potatoes only grown in zones nine to twelve, they cannot handle any cold temperatures at all. They don't want to freeze in any way or even drop below fifty degrees. And so you start them by seed in the spring, and they make a beautiful vine and then they bloom and then they produce the potatoes and then they die back in the fall, so you can either save the seeds, or you can start them from the starts and save them indoors and bring them outside in the spring. And if you live in a warmer climate you can leave them outside year round. But they're easy to grow, they're from lush, dense tropical forests, so they like moisture, so you don't want to dry them out completely, they want to stay a little bit moist but they don't want to sit in water. And they like real dense forest tropical areas. So when you're growing them in other areas, try to make sure that you keep them moist enough and never let them dry out and give them lots of heat. And many times they don't want direct heat, sometimes they'll sunburn, so it's almost better to put them in half and half under a carport or next to the house where they're going to get shade for part of the day. And then that way they'll stay warm but they don't have that direct sun on them, and they seem to do a lot better. Just like a morning glory. So they grow from a little tuber too, so whether you start them from seed or a tuber, it's best to start them in the spring and then let them grow all summer and enjoy them, 'cause they're a beautiful flowering plant.