How To Plant & Grow Sweet Potatoes In Containers and Buckets
To grow sweet potatoes in a container, plant the slips (sprouted sweet potatoes) in a deep and wide container in well-draining soil. Keep the pot in a sunny location and water regularly till it is ready for harvest in about three months.
Sweet potatoes are delicious and incredibly nutritious, making them a favorite among food enthusiasts. These versatile tubers are loved for their vibrant colors, rich flavor, and myriad culinary uses.
Imagine if you could have an endless supply of it at home. Interesting, right? So, let’s start with learning how to grow sweet potatoes in containers at home.
Fortunately, growing sweet potatoes at home in containers is a hugely easy and rewarding endeavor, provided you give them the right conditions to grow and ample space to thrive.
Start with a container at least 12 inches deep and 3 feet wide to accommodate the sweet potato’s robust root system. Fill in the container with compost and well-draining potting soil. Choose healthy sweet potato sprouts or slips, available at the garden center, and plant them.
Learning how to grow a sweet potato in a jar or a pot gives you the convenience of homegrown produce. With proper care, you can get your hands on a bountiful harvest of these delicious tubers right at your doorstep.
So read this guide to learn more about container-grown sweet potatoes.
Sweet Potatoes Overview
|Plant Name||Ipomoea batatas|
|Temperature||75-85°F (24-29°C) during the day; 60-70°F (15-21°C) at night|
|Fertilizer||Balanced, organic fertilizer (e.g., 5-10-10 or 10-20-20)|
|When to plant||After the danger of frost has passed and soil temperature reaches 60°F (15.5°C) or above|
|Harvest time||90-120 days after planting|
How To Grow Sweet Potatoes In A Bucket or Container?
Growing different types of sweet potatoes in a container is usually rewarding and feasible.
Here is a quick summary of the process:
Pick a pot with a depth of at least 12 inches and a width of 36 inches to accommodate the roots. Fill the container with well-draining potting soil with compost to provide adequate nutrients.
Acquire healthy sweet potato slips from a garden center or sprout them from store-bought sweet potatoes.
Plant these slips in the pot, leaving a space of at least 12 inches in between. Move it to a sunny location, ensuring your plant gets full sun and exposure. Water the plants regularly, leaving the soil moist, not water-logged.
Over time the vines grow. So train them to trail over the container’s edges or provide a trellis for vertical growth.
Harvest the sweet potatoes when the leaves wither and turn yellow. It takes around 90 to 120 days from planting. Store your harvested produce in a dry, warm place for about two weeks to accentuate its storage life and sweetness.
Need a detailed drill to grow sweet potatoes in containers? Continue reading below.
1. Choosing the Right Container
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Picking the correct container is vital for successfully growing sweet potatoes. When selecting the container, be cautious of a few things:
A. How big of a container do I need to grow sweet potatoes?
The container’s width and length can vary depending on the number of plants you wish to grow. However, ensure that it leaves ample space for the sweet potato vines to spread out comfortably.
A 36-inch wide and 12-inch deep container is a good starting point for growing sweet potatoes. Generally, the larger the container, the more room your sweet potatoes will have to grow and yield tubers.
B. How deep should a container be for sweet potatoes?
The container must have a minimum depth of 12 inches for growing sweet potatoes. This depth gives sufficient soil volume for the sweet potatoes to develop and expand.
Sweet potatoes typically have a rob root system. So, providing them with adequate depth allows the tubers to grow. A shallow container curtails the root system and limits the yield and size of the sweet potatoes.
Hence, a 12-inch depth is necessary to ensure ample space and the successful growth of your sweet potatoes.
C. Pot material and drainage holes
When it comes to the material selection for the pot, you have several options. The most vital aspect is picking a container that allows for proper drainage. Here are a few options to consider:
1. Plastic or resin pots are durable, lightweight, and widely available. Look for a container with drainage holes in the bottom to ensure excess water can escape.
2. Clay or terracotta pots: These pots are porous and allow for better airflow to the roots. But they can dry out faster, so you must monitor moisture levels closely and water more frequently. Ensure the pot has drainage holes.
3. Fabric pots: These containers have a breathable fabric that promotes good drainage and aeration. They are foldable, lightweight, and ideal for growing sweet potatoes. Look for fabric pots with drainage holes.
2. The Best Soil For Sweet Potatoes In Containers
The choice of soil is of prime importance in learning how to grow sweet potatoes in pots. Here are some considerations for picking the best soil for growing sweet potatoes in containers:
- Choose well-drained soil, and avoid heavy clay soils. Instead, opt for a well-draining, loose potting mix.
- Ensure the soil is nutrient-rich by adding well-rotted manure or compost for nutrients and fertility.
- Aim for a slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH between 5.8 and 6.5.
- Use a loose, lightweight potting mix exquisitely formulated for containers. Ensure easy root penetration.
Fill your container with a well-draining, loose, and well-prepped soil mixture to ensure an optimal growing environment for your sweet potatoes.
3. What Is The Fastest Way To Sprout Sweet Potatoes?
The fastest way to sprout sweet potatoes is by using water. Here are the steps you need to follow to sprout the sweet potato slips:
1. Pick healthy sweet potatoes: Look for blemish-free and tight sweet potatoes from a reputable source.
2. Submerge in water: Fill the container or jar with water and partially submerge the sweet potatoes by inserting toothpicks around their middle to suspend them in the water.
3. Wait for sprouting: Move the container to a warm area with indirect sun and change the water every few days. Within 1-2 weeks, the sweet potato will develop sprouts known as slips.
4. Separate and plant slips: Gently cut or twist the slips from the sweet potato once they reach about four to six inches in length. Insert these slips in your prepared container for growing the sweet potatoes.
By sprouting the sweet potato slips in the water, you expedite the process and have ready-to-plant slips.
4. How To Plant Sweet Potatoes In A Pot?
To plant the sweet potatoes and grow sweet potatoes from sweet potatoes, you can follow the steps below:
- Buy sprout sweet potato slips or sprout them using the method mentioned above.
- Dig small holes in the container soil, and space them around 12 inches apart.
- Place the slips in these holes, burying them with their leaves. Leave a few inches of the top exposed.
- Water the slips well after planting to settle the soil around the roots. Keep the soil moist, not waterlogged, in the growing season.
- Move the container to a sunny location.
- Train them to trail over the container’s edges or add a trellis for vertical growth.
When To Plant Sweet Potato Slips In Containers?
You can plant the sweet potatoes in the container after the frost danger has ceased and the soil temperature is around 60°F (15.5°C) or above.
Usually, it occurs in early summer or late spring, giving your sweet potatoes ideal conditions to grow and thrive in containers.
Do Sweet Potatoes Need A Lot Of Water?
Sweet potatoes need regular watering, but you must maintain a balance. Your plants demand consistent moisture but do not overwater, as it can result in root rot.
Leave the soil evenly moist, watering them when the top inch is dry. It provides the plant with adequate hydration sans waterlogging.
Do Sweet Potatoes Need Full Sun?
Yes. Sweet potatoes thrive in full sun. They need at least eight hours of direct sun every day for optimal tuber development and growth. You can keep them in a location where they receive ample sun to ensure robust and healthy growth.
Consistent Temperature For Sweet Potatoes To Thrive
Warm temperatures are conducive to their growth, They do best at 75-85°F (24-29°C) during the day and around 60-70°F (15-21°C) at night. Consistent warmth is necessary for successful sweet potato growth and tuber formation.
What Is The Best Fertilizer For Sweet Potatoes In Containers?
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Container-grown sweet potatoes seek an organic, balanced plant food with an NPK of around 5-10-10 or 10-20-20.
To the potting mix, add well-rotted manure or compost for added nutrients. Apply the fertilizer following the package instructions, ensuring you do not overfeed the plant.
Here are our recommendations for sweet potato fertilizers.
Trellising or Staking The Sweet Potato Vines
While the sweet potato vines can trail on the ground, staking and trellising provide added benefits. It boosts air circulation, conserves space, and makes harvesting easier.
You can use sturdy stakes or trellis to support the veins, ensuring they have adequate room to climb or be trained vertically and grow well.
Managing Pests and Diseases In Container-Grown Sweet Potatoes
Managing pests and diseases in container-grown sweet potatoes is critical for a successful harvest. Good sanitation is imperative to avoid prevalent issues. So whenever you spot any damaged tubers or diseased foliage, you must remove them promptly.
Examine your plants regularly for sweet potato weevils, whiteflies, or aphids, and combat them with neem oil or insecticidal soaps.
Provide good air circulation and avoid overwatering to avoid fungal diseases. Further, rotating crops and using disease-resistant varieties can help keep the risk of diseases and pests at bay.
Harvesting and Storing Sweet Potatoes
Once you follow the steps on how to grow sweet potatoes in containers, here are a few signs of sweet potato maturity and readiness for harvest:
1. Vine senescence: When the sweet potato vines decline or turn brown or yellow, it implies that tubers are mature.
2. Size color: Mature sweet potatoes will have a deep skin color. The skin darkens and hardens as they mature.
3. Tuber size: After establishment, the tubers reach a desired size based on your planted variety.
Follow the steps for harvesting the sweet potatoes from containers:
- Dig around the plant’s base using a trowel or garden fork to loosen the soil and expose the sweet potatoes.
- Cautiously lift the sweet potatoes from the soil without damaging the tubers. Always lift one at a time, carefully supporting the plant with one hand and using the other to remove the tuber from the soil.
- Once you harvest, cure the sweet potatoes by placing them in a warm (80-85°F or 27-29°C), well-ventilated area for about ten days. It gives the sweet potatoes enough time to toughen the skin, adds flavor, and extends their storage life.
- Now store the cured sweet potatoes in a dark, dry, and cool (55-60°F or 13-16°C) location. Properly stored sweet potatoes can last for several months.