To be honest, I didn’t expect much from the sprouty sweet potato that I planted this spring. They grow nice vines, which is why I planted the tuber instead of composting it. Confining it to a container didn’t seem to be the best idea for actually producing anything edible. However, the spud had other ideas. Look at these cute little sweet potatoes!
So the takeaway here is: plant your sprouty sweet potatoes!
They have a long season, which means earlier in spring is better than later. Mine were growing in my greenhouse for a bit before they were outside in their containers. If you don’t have any sprouty sweet potatoes, I would recommend buying organic if you want them to actually grow. Often the conventional ones will be sprayed to prevent them from sprouting. (link)
Even if they’re not sprayed, though, keeping them at cooler temperatures before you try to grow them will also slow down germination (see above link, a comment on the post by another researcher). So keep them warm when you bring them home from the store! And buy them in January for sprouting in March/April. Just leave them out on the counter/shelf somewhere warm in the house, they will likely sprout on their own before you plant them.
They will sprout stems/leaves from one end, and roots from the other, generally, but the tuber is flexible. In my case, the end sprouted, so I chopped off the top 2 inches and planted that. As you can see, it grew lots of roots from the amount of tuber I left it. So you could probably chop it in half and plant both halves and it will give you two plants.
If you grow the vine in a container, give it a deep container with lots of room and healthy, nutritious soil. Keep it watered but not soaking wet – make sure you have drainage holes in the bottom of the container so the roots don’t rot. It likes sunshine, 6-8 hours or so per day.
Next year I think I’ll try growing it in the ground, see if I get bigger sweet potatoes! This was such a nice surprise, I’m hoping that maybe I can grow even more next year. Let me know if you have any experience with these, I’d like to know if there are any tips or tricks that will help.