The Q&A Archives: Starting Plants From Store Bought Sweet Potatoes

Question: Can I use a grocery store sweet potato to begin sweet potato plants? How would I do it?

Answer: You may be able to do it, but most gardeners find that purchasing the slips is a more reliable approach, especially in northern areas with shorter growing seasons. You will also receive slips of varieties that grow well in home gardens rather than commercially grown varieties which may not do as well at home.

To produce slips, sweet potato roots should be laid on their sides in a warm soil that is sandy or that contains lots of compost. Cover the sweet potato roots with 2 inches of moist sand. When the shoots are 10-12" long, remove them with a twisting tug. Additional transplants (slips) will form from the bedded sweet potatoes if left in place.

Plant the slips with the basal end about 4" deep in moist soil. Keep the soil moist and the slips will root and start to grow sweet potato plants.

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