Growing Sweet Potato Slips – Update

In my earlier post I forgot to mention which end of the sweet potato should be immersed in water.

growing sweet potato slipsIt is the root end.

How to tell? There are 2 ways:

1. Observe the sweet potato, if there are hairlike roots, notice which direction the roots are growing. Photo at right shows the hairlike roots growing downward (it is the thin line on the left of the photo). Place the end that the roots are growing towards in the water (in this photo it would be the lower section).

2. If there is no hairlike roots, then observe the 2 ends of the sweet potato. The root end has a sharper point (photo lower section) this is the end to immerse in water. The stem end has a flat scar (photo upper section) this is the end that was attached to the growing vine and should be facing up.

Copyright © by Norma Chang

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About Norma Chang

I am the author/publisher of 2 user-friendly Chinese cookbooks: "My Students' Favorite Chinese Recipes (updated edition)" and "Wokking Your Way to Low Fat Cooking" A gardener who enjoys cooking and eating and loves to think outside the box A garden volunteer at Locust Grove Heritage Vegetable Garden Conduct hands-on cooking workshops for teenagers Conduct cultural programs for children and family Conduct healthy cooking classes for adults
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31 Responses to Growing Sweet Potato Slips – Update

  1. mac says:

    Happy New Year!

    • Norma Chang says:

      Thank you Mac.
      Happy New Year to you too!!!!!

      • sky says:

        after searching the web for a long time–and i mean a long time–i came upon your explanation on which way is up.. well i can say that there has never been a better and more definitive example on this dilemma..all you tube videos and webpages from so called gardening experts have never so simply and clearly done what you have. i shall share your information as much as i can & will hopefully save other folks the time and energy searching for this gem of an insight thank you so much.. no wonder i have had so many failures wrong end up-each time i tried.. great

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello Sky,
        Thanks for visiting and thanks for the compliment. Glad you find my post informative and useful, please keep me updated on your results. Thanks also for sharing my blog. If you read my other posts you will notice that I am a minimalist, try to explain things in a clear and simple manner and with few words.

  2. Liz says:

    And I guess that is why whenever I’ve had them sprout they’ve only sprouted at one end. Oh I do like to learn something. Thankyou.

  3. Lrong says:

    Potato slips already? It is still very cold for us here to grow these lovely plants…

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Lrong,
      I do not normally have sweet potato slips at this time of year, but because I needed photos for my post I had to start in November of 2011. The challenge I am now facing is how to keep them happy until I am ready to plant them outdoors (end of May early June). Should be an interesting experiment, who knows, I may be harvesting the leaves for eating, that would be a bonus.

  4. Joanne says:

    I really hope I someday get the opportunity to use this advice and actually grow sweet potatoes!

  5. Wilderness says:

    Nice post. I have started the slips several times but never seem to get them in the ground. I have had good luck with the ones from the supper market but they do take longer to sprout. I should do them again but not sure where I would plant them. That is what happens every time no place to plant them.

    I had just finished explaining on a gardening chat board the other day how to do this but didn’t have any pictures so have referred my friend to you post.

  6. leduesorelle says:

    Is this why I’ve had problems sprouting them, I’ve been placing them upside down?

  7. john says:

    I see a lot of folks starting slips using this water method. However in biology class I learned that water based roots are different than soil type roots. When transferred to soil plants are stalled out until soil type roots replace the water roots.

    Is this not so with sweet potatoes?

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello John,
      I do not know, that’s a question I never thought about. I must remember to ask the horticulturists at Locust Grove where I volunteer.
      Once my potato slips develop roots in the water I place them in pots to continue to grow and develop while waiting for the soil to get warm. I must observe more carefully to see what’s going on, thanks.

      • John Hite says:

        If you are still waiting for the soil to get warmer then it probably doesn’t matter if growth stalls a few days. You are growing your own slips instead of buying them and that’s the goal, right? So perhaps it is a moot point.

        Best Regards,

        John Hite

      • Norma Chang says:

        Hello John,
        Yes, the goal is to grow my own slips. But I still need an answer to your previous question, the enquiring mind needs to know. Will try to remember to let you know what I find.

  8. Hi Norma! How have u been, I hope everything is well. =)

    I couldnt find the post where u explained on how to grow sweet potatoes. Anyway, just wanted to tell you, that I had grown them as u had shoen and it all worked out well. a couple of weeks back I tried to digg them out unfortunately the insects r evil here and there was nothing left of the roots only the plant survived on top. Any idea what I could do the next time so that they dont get eaten up by those insects? thanks in advance for your reply.

    • Norma Chang says:

      Hello Helene,
      Are you sure they were eaten by insects and not borrowing animals? I am having problems with voles and moles and plan to plant my sweet potatoes in large tubs next year hoping the animals will not climb.

  9. sky says:

    Norma… my update: success- there are a few tiny roots starting to appear !! i am so pleased.. your words have created this, again i thank you ! sky

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  14. sue marquis bishop says:

    Thanks. Sue

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