Sweet potatoes aren't grown from seeds like most vegetables. Sweet potatoes are related to morning glories. Unlike other white potatoes, sweet potatoes are grown from small seedlings, known as slips.
You can order sweet potato plant slips from some local garden store like the Natural Gardener, but it’s very simple and much less expensive to sprout your own. This post will break dow two methods, one faster than the other on how to grow your own slips.
When to Start Sweet Potato Slips
The timing is important if you want to grow large and tasty sweet potatoes. This plant loves warm weather and should be planted when the soil reaches 65 degrees F. (18 C.). The slips take about 4-6 weeks to mature, so you should be starting sweet potato slips indoors about six weeks before your last frost date in the spring. So in Texas, that is beginning of February into March.
How to Start a Sweet Potato Slip
SOIL METHOD (FASTER): This method usually takes around 4-6 weeks.
After 4 weeks, once several 5-6 inch sprouts have formed, scroll down to see the rest of the directions.
SUSPENDING METHOD (SLOWER): The suspending method the sweet potato in water. This method works, but often takes a 6-8 weeks (or more) to produce slips.
1. Simply put toothpicks into the top 1/4 of the sweet potato and suspend in water. The rooting or pointy end should go in the water. Here are a few ways to determine the difference between the rooting end and the sprouting end:
2. You want the bottom, rooting half to be immersed in water and the top, sprouting half above the jar. Roots will form in the water, and sprouts will form in the top part of the potato.
Providing warmth, a seedling warming mat or on top of the refrigerator or and heat from a grow light or sunny window will speed up the process.
3. Keep the water level up in the jar and keep water fresh by replacing it every week or so. Within a few weeks, roots will develop first and then sprouts will start to form on the suspended potato.
Once several 5-6 inch sprouts have formed, follow the directions below.
HOW TO REMOVE SPROUTS