Growing Sweet Potato, also Kumara

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 63°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 16 - 24 inches 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

10 Aug 20, Nicky Holmes (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi can you please tell me if Dunedin is the right temperature to grow Kumars outdoors or is it to cold? Thanks.
29 Jun 20, John Martin Barger (USA - Zone 7b climate)
I have a sweet potato that has sprouted pretty heavily on my kitchen counter. I live in Memphis, TN. Is there any chance of having success if I were to plant it now? Or is it too late in season?
30 Jun 20, Betty (USA - Zone 7b climate)
I'm just next door in Arkansas and will be planting some slips from one in my kitchen today (June 30). We have just enough time before frost to make decent sweet potatoes. You know we can eat the leaves like spinach as well? My (American) kids grew up in SE Asia and thought sweet potato leaves were a variety spinach.
05 Apr 20, Pam Adam (Australia - tropical climate)
I have sweet potato growing. Is it okay to cut away the continuous runners it is producing?
06 Apr 20, Anon (Australia - temperate climate)
You could cut them off from about 1-1.2m each side if you like. Over fertilising with N will produce a lot of leaves/vines. Cut off some of the new vines and plant them with the growing tip out of the soil. Read below about how to do it.
09 Mar 20, Garden Gnome (Australia - temperate climate)
I have had for over one year a half 200 litre plastic drum with a sweet potatoes growing in it. Just this past weekend I have dug around in the totally dry soil looking to see what was there. I did this with my hands after loosening it up with a garden fork all around the side of the drum. The leaves were not dying off in fact new shoots are forming. I only did this as we have had 1 week of dry hot weather. I harvested 3 very good sized spuds and put the rest back and topped up with well mulched soil. No extra fertilizer has been used and this is the second time I have turned this drum. As the soil lowers and parts of tubers show I top up with more well mulch soil. With watering and good old mother nature we have bought no sweet potatoes at all for quite some time. I have no idea how long they have been growing I don't garden like that.
11 Mar 20, Tineke (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Brilliant! Mine are growing all over the place - better have a look see soon!!
10 Mar 20, ML (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Many ways to grow things. You could have just a patch of swt potatoes and pick whenever you like. I'm growing them in my volunteer gardens. Take a slip of vine (about 40cm long), strip all the leaves off except the last 10cm of the growing tip, plant it along the ground with the tip out of the soil. Swt potatoes will grow from where the leaves were broken off. Or if you like put the slips in a bucket of water to have the slip producing roots before you plant it.
13 Jan 20, Paul (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
I m interested in Sweet potato farming where can i get the seedlings or cuttings in the Western cape or eastern cape (NOTE - Gardenate is not intended for farmers )
15 Jan 20, Another gardener (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
You would have to look around your local area and find some sweet potato growers. I assume you are just wanting to plant a few. If a lot then ring your agricultural department. You need the new fresh part of the vines, about 1/2 m long, take all the leaves off except the last 3-4 where the tip is growing. Make a furrow in the soil and place the slip along it and cover the vine but leave the last few leaves out of the ground. Lots of water for the first 10 days.
Showing 1 - 10 of 236 comments

I'm just next door in Arkansas and will be planting some slips from one in my kitchen today (June 30). We have just enough time before frost to make decent sweet potatoes. You know we can eat the leaves like spinach as well? My (American) kids grew up in SE Asia and thought sweet potato leaves were a variety spinach.

- Betty

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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