Growing Sweet Potato, also Kumara

Ipomoea batatas : Convolvulaceae / the morning glory family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

Not recommended for growing in USA - Zone 5a regions

  • Plant shoots or cuttings (Slips). Best planted at soil temperatures between 17°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 60 cm apart
  • Harvest in 15-17 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best in Separate bed
  • New shoots on Kumara
  • Well grown Kumara

Sweet Potatoes require a long warm growing season. Plant in free draining loose soil . Fertilise before planting but no more when the plants are growing as it will encourage vine growth. They will go for miles and you will get no tubers. If they do start spreading, lift the vines off the ground to prevent them rooting.

Mound up the soil about 20cm (8 in) before planting Let the plants die down, (leaves die or turn yellow) before harvesting the tubers. Dry them in the sun for a few days . then store in a cool dry place for up to five months.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sweet Potato

Use mashed, boiled, roasted, baked or fried. Or use in soups, pies, casseroles, curries and salads.

Your comments and tips

30 Oct 22, bernie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I live in the Redlands on the sourthern outskirts of Brisbane. I am trying to grow sweet potatoes for the first time. I have grown my own slips and planted them out and the vines are growing nicely. What I would like to know is where do the tubers grow from. Is it from the base of the slip or from the vines. Also I only have one vine growing from each plant. Do I need more than one vine and if so how do I encourage the extra vines.
30 Oct 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
The best way to plant sweet potatoes is to take a piece of vine with growing tip at one end about 400mm long, strip most of the leaves off but leave the growing tip (last 150mm) plant that in a trench with the tip sticking out of the soil. Water every day until it starts growing. Along the slip where the leaves joined the vine tubers will grow.
16 Oct 22, marco (Australia - tropical climate)
hi i live gold coast queensland .i just dug up my sweet potato crop .did ok ..lots of small shoots left ..i dug everything back in the ground now will add some lawn clipping and blood and bone for the next 3 to 4 weeks .then leave and see what we get ...
13 Aug 22, Phillip (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I lived in Maitland in the Hunter Valley until 1985. We used to get a white fleshed sweet potato that when cooked was soft, almost opaque, and very sweet. My mother would post to me when I moved to Brisbane as I couldn’t get them here! My questions is. What were they and where can I get them? Phillip Caruthers.
16 Aug 22, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
They grow a white purply one in Bundy - check on the internet.
30 May 22, Bryon Ellison (Australia - tropical climate)
Where can I get kumara Wairaraka. Red with white flesh and very light central red streeks
31 May 22, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You would have a very slim chance of finding some in Australia.
01 Jun 22, Bryon Ellison (Australia - tropical climate)
Does any one know what is a similar species in Australia?
30 Apr 22, Robyn ballantine (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
When we have a big supply, how do you cure? And keep them. ? I have found they just rot when we dig them up
02 May 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Don't water them for the last 2 weeks or so before digging them up - toughen them up a bit.. Put them out in the sun or shaded area for a week or two to get a tough skin. Then in a cool dry place. They should keep for few months.
Showing 1 - 10 of 282 comments

I lived in Maitland in the Hunter Valley until 1985. We used to get a white fleshed sweet potato that when cooked was soft, almost opaque, and very sweet. My mother would post to me when I moved to Brisbane as I couldn’t get them here! My questions is. What were they and where can I get them? Phillip Caruthers.

- Phillip

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