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General Information

Plant Care Instructions By Steve Brigham

Related to morning glories, the various cultivated forms of Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) are all heat-loving perennials which are usually grown as annuals. One group is grown for ornament, including some with blackish or chartreuse foliage that are often used as color accents in decorative container plantings. But the other three types of Sweet Potato are grown as vegetables -- one type (Sweet Potato Spinach) is grown for its leaves, and the other two types are grown for their edible tubers. Of these, one type has tubers with firm, white flesh; but the most popular type in the USA (particularly in the South) has soft, sugary, orange-fleshed tubers that are often (but erroneously) called \"yams\". It is this type of Sweet Potato that is is a staple of the traditional Thanksgiving menu in the USA. Sweet Potatoes need a long, warm growing season to produce a good crop, with warm, well-drained, sandy soil being ideal. Plant in late spring, when soil temperatures have warmed to 70 degrees F., and harvest before frost. In cool-summer climates, cover rows with plastic tents or other row-cover material to increase heat and promote vigorous growth. To avoid the build-up of disease organisms in the soil, don\'t grow Sweet Potatoes in the same location 2 years in a row.

Is Indoor Plant?

No

These month by month plant care tasks are for plants in the following zones :
Sunset Zones : 8, 9, 1012, 13, 14, 1518, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
USDA Zones :
Web Link - For more information

Plant Care Instruction

  • Scroll down or click on any month for plant care instructions
    • April
    • May
    • June
    • July
    • August
    • September
    • October
    • November
    April
    1. Water

    Water regularly during growing season.
    May
    1. Buy

    Buy disease-free rooted cuttings from a reputable nursery or mail-order source to get the varieties you want. \"Centennial\" is a standard variety of \"yam\" Sweet Potato for home gardens, but there are also many others.
    2. Plant

    Plant in full sun, in well-drained, sandy or loamy soil, when soil temperatures have warmed to 70 degrees F. In cool-summer climates, provide a tent of row-cover material or plastic to increase heat around the plants. In corporate a low-nitrogen fertilizer (such as 5-10-10) into the soil when you plant.
    3. Water

    Water regularly during growing season.
    June
    1. Buy

    Buy disease-free rooted cuttings from a reputable nursery or mail-order source to get the varieties you want. \"Centennial\" is a standard variety of \"yam\" Sweet Potato for home gardens, but there are also many others.
    2. Plant

    Plant in full sun, in well-drained, sandy or loamy soil, when soil temperatures have warmed to 70 degrees F. In cool-summer climates, provide a tent of row-cover material or plastic to increase heat around the plants. In corporate a low-nitrogen fertilizer (such as 5-10-10) into the soil when you plant.
    3. Water

    Water regularly during growing season.
    July
    1. Water

    Water regularly during growing season.
    August
    1. Fertilize

    Fertilize with 5-10-10.
    2. Water

    Water regularly during growing season.
    September
    1. Water

    Water regularly during growing season.
    October
    1. Water

    Water regularly during growing season.
    2. Harvest

    Harvest before frost, digging carefully to avoid cutting or bruising tubers. Flavor improves in storage, as starch is converted to sugar. Let tubers dry in the sun until soil can be brushed off, then cure by storing tubers 10 to 14 days in a warm (85 degrees F.) humid place. Then store in a cool, dry environment (not below 55 degrees F.)
    November
    1. Harvest

    Harvest before frost, digging carefully to avoid cutting or bruising tubers. Flavor improves in storage, as starch is converted to sugar. Let tubers dry in the sun until soil can be brushed off, then cure by storing tubers 10 to 14 days in a warm (85 degrees F.) humid place. Then store in a cool, dry environment (not below 55 degrees F.)
  • Buy

    When's the best time to buy this plant? When can you buy these from seed (if you can)? When is it usually available? What are things to look for when you're buying it? Or anything other tidbit of information you can share!

    May

    Buy disease-free rooted cuttings from a reputable nursery or mail-order source to get the varieties you want. \"Centennial\" is a standard variety of \"yam\" Sweet Potato for home gardens, but there are also many others.

    June

    Buy disease-free rooted cuttings from a reputable nursery or mail-order source to get the varieties you want. \"Centennial\" is a standard variety of \"yam\" Sweet Potato for home gardens, but there are also many others.

    Plant

    When's a good time to plant this plant or bulb? Any special planting instructions?

    May

    Plant in full sun, in well-drained, sandy or loamy soil, when soil temperatures have warmed to 70 degrees F. In cool-summer climates, provide a tent of row-cover material or plastic to increase heat around the plants. In corporate a low-nitrogen fertilizer (such as 5-10-10) into the soil when you plant.

    June

    Plant in full sun, in well-drained, sandy or loamy soil, when soil temperatures have warmed to 70 degrees F. In cool-summer climates, provide a tent of row-cover material or plastic to increase heat around the plants. In corporate a low-nitrogen fertilizer (such as 5-10-10) into the soil when you plant.

    Fertilize

    When should you fertilize this plant? Which kind of fertilizer do you recommend? Should you use different fertilizers at different times of year?

    July

    Lightly

    August

    Fertilize with 5-10-10.

    Water

    Is there a time to reduce or increase watering? Any special requirements? Things to avoid during certain times of the year?

    April

    Water regularly during growing season.

    May

    Water regularly during growing season.

    June

    Water regularly during growing season.

    July

    Water regularly during growing season.

    August

    Water regularly during growing season.

    September

    Water regularly during growing season.

    October

    Water regularly during growing season.

    Harvest

    When's a good time to harvest this plant? What's the best way to harvest? Are there special requirements or features?

    October

    Harvest before frost, digging carefully to avoid cutting or bruising tubers. Flavor improves in storage, as starch is converted to sugar. Let tubers dry in the sun until soil can be brushed off, then cure by storing tubers 10 to 14 days in a warm (85 degrees F.) humid place. Then store in a cool, dry environment (not below 55 degrees F.)

    November

    Harvest before frost, digging carefully to avoid cutting or bruising tubers. Flavor improves in storage, as starch is converted to sugar. Let tubers dry in the sun until soil can be brushed off, then cure by storing tubers 10 to 14 days in a warm (85 degrees F.) humid place. Then store in a cool, dry environment (not below 55 degrees F.)

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