The Main Plant entry for Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas)

This database entry exists to show plant data and photos that apply generically to all Sweet Potatoes.

Common names:
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General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Vine
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 11 +4.4 °C (40 °F) to +7.2 °C (50 °F)
Underground structures: Tuber
Uses: Vegetable

Fall Harvest: 44# from a wading pool as raised bed.

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Posted by Marilyn (Northern KY - Zone 6a) on May 23, 2013 11:09 PM

"The plant does not tolerate frost. It grows best at an average temperature of 75 °F, abundant sunshine and warm nights. Annual rainfalls of 30–39 inches are considered most suitable, with a minimum of 20 inches in the growing season. The crop is sensitive to drought at the tuber initiation stage 50–60 days after planting, and it is not tolerant to water-logging, as it may cause tuber rots and reduce growth of storage roots if aeration is poor.

Depending on the cultivar and conditions, tuberous roots mature in two to nine months. With care, early-maturing cultivars can be grown as an annual summer crop in temperate areas, such as the northern United States. Sweet potatoes rarely flower when the daylight is longer than 11 hours, as is normal outside of the tropics. They are mostly propagated by stem or root cuttings or by adventitious roots called "slips" that grow out from the tuberous roots during storage. True seeds are used for breeding only.

They grow well in many farming conditions and have few natural enemies; pesticides are rarely needed. Sweet potatoes are grown on a variety of soils, but well-drained, light- and medium-textured soils with a pH range of 4.5-7.0 are more favorable for the plant. They can be grown in poor soils with little fertilizer. However, sweet potatoes are very sensitive to aluminum toxicity and will die about six weeks after planting if lime is not applied at planting in this type of soil. Because they are sown by vine cuttings rather than seeds, sweet potatoes are relatively easy to plant. Because the rapidly growing vines shade out weeds, little weeding is needed. In the tropics, the crop can be maintained in the ground and harvested as needed for market or home consumption. In temperate regions, sweet potatoes are most often grown on larger farms and are harvested before first frosts.

In the Southeastern United States, sweet potatoes are traditionally cured to improve storage, flavor, and nutrition, and to allow wounds on the periderm of the harvested root to heal. Proper curing requires drying the freshly dug roots on the ground for two to three hours, then storage at 85–90 °F with 90 to 95% relative humidity from five to fourteen days. Cured sweet potatoes can keep for thirteen months when stored at 55–59 °F with >90% relative humidity. Colder temperatures injure the roots.

Besides simple starches, sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, beta-carotene (a provitamin A carotenoid), vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese and potassium. Pink, yellow and green varieties are also high in beta-carotene.

In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the common potato."

Taken from wikipedia's page at:

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Posted by Horseshoe (Efland, NC - Zone 7a) on Jan 19, 2013 7:31 PM

Although the photos are listed as "roots" sweetpotato actually produces "tubers". None-the-less the product is a healthy and delicious treat, easy to grow and seldom plagued by pests.
The foliage is also delicious when cooked as you would greens. Beware, deer also are aware of the tastiness of sweetpotato plant.

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Posted by Marilyn (Northern KY - Zone 6a) on Aug 27, 2013 3:53 AM

This is the state vegetable of Louisiana and North Carolina.

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Plant Events from our members
AndreA33 On April 1, 2016 Potted up
AndreA33 On February 15, 2016 Plant emerged
piksihk On May 19, 2018 Obtained plant
GMB swap
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