Sweet potato plants are as ornamental as they are useful. Each vine produces a profusion of flowers that appear similar to the plant's close relative, the morning glory. While sweet potatoes are perennials, the plant is grown as an annual in areas with freezing winter temperatures or if you want to harvest the root. A large garden isn't needed to grow sweet potatoes. They are well-suited to containers, allowing these attractive vegetables to grow even in small spaces.
Mix a slow-release 5-10-10 analysis fertilizer with the potting soil, following application rates recommended on the fertilizer label. Blend with the fertilizer a quality potting soil that is rich in organic matter such as peat or compost.
Fill a 3- to 5-gallon container with the fertilizer and soil mix. Leave a 2-inch space between the top of the soil and the rim of the container. Set the container in an area that receives full sunlight.
Plant the sweet potato start into the center of the container. Plant it so the crown of the plant, or the area where the stems emerge from the root, is just at the soil surface. Burying the crown can cause the sweet potato to rot.
Water the container from the top until the excess moisture begins draining from the bottom. Water thereafter when the top 1-inch of soil feels dry to the touch. Check moisture levels in the soil daily, as containers dry out quickly.
Place a 1-inch layer of straw mulch on top the soil in the pot to limit moisture loss in containers.
Things You Will Need
- Potting soil
- Sweet potato start
- Bush varieties such as Bush Porto Rico or Vardaman are best-suited to container gardens.
- Harvest sweet potato roots when the vines are killed off by the first fall frost.
- While all sweet potato varieties are edible, some are sold for ornamental purposes, and they have a bitter taste. Verify that you are purchasing a food variety.