Propagating Sweet Potatoes

In the late spring of 2020, a friend of ours gave us two sweet potato plants. I’d never grown sweet potatoes before, but thought, “what the heck, let’s do it.” So, we planted them in an old tractor tire filled with mulch we’d gotten from Tom the Tree Guy (that’s what my husband calls him, anyway). 

It wasn’t long before the plants had sprawled well beyond the tire. The plants reminded me of the philodendron my mom always has growing at her house. So, I wondered if I could just chop off a section and grow a new plant, like you can do with my mother’s favorite houseplant. That’s affirmative. 

I grew sweet potatoes again in 2021 with slips started from the 2020 crop. And, I have a ton of slips almost ready to plant this spring. 

So, how do you do it? There’s clearly no wrong way. I’ve seen all sorts of videos about how to orient the potato, but I haven’t paid much attention to how I was doing it, and I got new plants. 

Plop a sweet potato in water and it will start growing roots and eventually will sprout. You can snap off these sprouts and then root them in water. Then once those slips start getting bigger, you can chop off a section and root that in water. It’s seriously easy. 

A few things to note:

You can’t grow a crop of sweet potatoes by planting a sweet potato – you need to plant a slip. A slip is a piece of sweet potato vine with roots. 

If you are snipping off part of a vine to begin a new slip, know that the roots will form at a leaf node. So, lop off a section of vine with at least 2 leaf nodes. Remove the lower leaf and place that section in water, leaving the upper leaf / leaves in tact and above the water. 

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I am a mom, small business owner, and lover of all things. I have a variety of interests and obsessions and use this website as an outlet for my eccentricities. I live in Missouri on a small farm, that was originally one of the first homesteads in Laclede County. I enjoy volunteering, gardening, foraging, knitting, canning, local history research, and genealogy. I am a member of Mensa, Phi Alpha Theta, Rotary International, Daughters of the American Revolution, Society of Indiana Pioneers, First Families of the Twin Territories, United States Daughters of 1812, Daughters of Union Veterans, United Daughters of the Confederacy, Clan MacBean, Clan Sinclair USA, and the list continues to grow.