Sweet potato was originally an exotic vegetable that has now become widely popular. With its crawling and voluble stems that make it look like bindweed, sweet potato can be grown in the vegetable garden while at the same time being chosen to make a new and original house plant.
Being a cold perennial that is not hardy, for the vegetable garden, it is better to consider planting it in southern gardens with a climate preferably Mediterranean. It grows exactly like our potatoes underground.
Baby sweet potatoes will be born around their mother’s tuber.
A very fast climbing houseplant
The plant of the sweet potato is a climber which goes up at a mad speed.
It is said of it that it is magic, in only 1 or 2 months it can climb to several meters in height.
Wrap the thin stems around the stake, direct it, guide it so that it is beautiful to see.
Then its voluble stems wrap themselves around the supports.
Cut the stems when they are too long or when they disperse a little too much, so that the plant remains beautiful and stocky.
Plantation of the sweet potato as houseplants
At the bottom of the pot place a shard to seal the hole and prevent the earth from escaping.
If you can, place a few centimetres of fine gravel at the bottom of the pot to drain and keep the roots from soaking in water.
Then fill the pot completely with potting soil or a mixture of potting soil and garden soil, 50% of each, as this mixture dries more slowly.
Sweet potato planted directly in the water
It grows very quickly when partially submerged in water.
In a vase or a large transparent glass, the appearance of the roots and the first green shoots is impressive.
The children love it and so do the grandchildren that we have left behind!
But in a few weeks the growth is so imposing that we don’t really know what we are going to do with it. At this moment put it in the ground.
Condition of sweet potato cultivation
Full sun and warmth are preferable although ornamental varieties tolerate mid-shade. The temperature must be above 68°F to expect a good development.
The sweet potato appreciates a fertile, light and cool soil in summer. In poor soil, add compost and well decomposed manure to the planting.
In pots, choose a good commercial potting soil and add a handful of crushed horn. Don’t forget to drain the bottom of the pot with a good layer of gravel.
Sweet Potato as houseplants Care
As soon as temperatures drop in September, the foliage starts to yellow. Beware! The sweet potato is very frosty, if you want to keep it from one year to the next, take it out of the ground in dry and sunny weather and leave it for one day.
Cut the foliage, brush the tuber gently to remove excess soil and store it in dry sawdust or sand in a frost-free cellar (read: Wintering of the plants).
Propagation is done by cutting the young shoots that appear on the tuber in the spring. It is sufficient to take a young shoot with its root and transplant it in a rich and light mixture. Stem end cutting can also be done in summer.
Sowing is carried out in spring after scarification of the seeds on a background heat of 20°C.
Watering and fertilizer
Water the plants regularly so that the soil never dries completely, especially in summer and on windy days. No need for fertilizer if the soil has been tilled at planting.
Pay particular attention to potted plants. Do not leave any water in the pot and water as soon as the soil dries by 0.5 inch. Apply nitrogen-rich fertilizer every two weeks.
The decorative sweet potato is declined in many cultivars with astonishing foliages, intended to emphasize the other plants in the hangings or to magnify massifs and pergolas.
To make the sweet potato grow like a houseplant, you can also follow the culture in a glass of water: when shoots have developed well as well as roots, you can plant the tuber by pushing it half to 2/3 in a pot filled with potting soil. Beautiful, voluble stems will form.