starting sweet potato slips?

tempusflitsApril 12, 2013

I've read sweet potato slips may be started by putting a sweet potato into a jar of water. My question is does it matter which end is submerged. The potatoes I'm working with have one rounded and one pointed end. Am I over thinking this or does which way round matter?

Thank you.

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Shoots come from the round end.

If you do the cup of water method you'll have to change the water every day or two, thats a lot of work. Its easier to just plant the thing in some dirt and water it like you would a normal plant. It'll sprout and grow with much less attention that way.

1 Like    Bookmark   April 12, 2013 at 9:50AM
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Thanks for the information on which end up, and thank you for the planting tip! I think I'm going to follow up on your latter suggestion.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 7:35PM
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Its actually really easy to get the slips going.

What I do is plant 3/4's of the potato, pointy end down, in a medium sized pot. Water it like anything else. It will then sprout much like a normal potato.

What you do after that depends on how many sweet potato slips you want to make, and how fast you want to make them.

If you only want a few, go ahead and pinch the shoots off when they get around 6 inches long. Toss them in some fresh water long enough for them to start showing some root growth, then put them in soil, and you'll be ready go go.

If you want to make a *BUNCH* of slips in short order, let the initial shoots grow out longer (8 inches or even a foot), then lay them down horizontally in the water with just the tip end sticking out. That'll make it root along the entire length of the shoot. Once it does, you can dice it up into inch to two inch long segments and plant those, and they'll all become individual plants.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 7:31PM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I have to beg to differ with the pointy end down. Most youtube videos of people starting slips show the round end down if they are using a whole potato to start. I say "most" because some don't, and some people have gotten roots and slips from both ends. I recently cut a large sweet potato in half and am trying to grow slips from both ends. I have the cut part of both halves in water. The pointy half is starting to grow roots and just beginning to show a slip emerging from the pointy end. I'm also trying with a whole potato suspended in water round end down.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 9:53PM
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I cut mine long ways, and lay the cut sides in a tray of damp soil. They are making sprouts all over.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 10:35PM
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Interesting! Thanks, everyone, for the info.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 7:04AM
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The round end is the end that was originally attached to the parent plant.

Much like a potato can grow sprouts from any eye anywhere on it, they will prefer to grow from eyes near the "top" end.

Its not that they can't sprout from anywhere, its just that they will sprout first from there, with the least effort.

For someone that has never done this before, I generally find it easier to just tell them the most reliable method first, let them get the hang of that, then expand them into the other ways of doing things. Giving them a wide array of options of varying difficulties can be overwhelming, so I try to stick to the KISS method when possible.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 10:16AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

Our local supermarket has organic sweet potatoes. I'm going to try the NilaJones split in half in soil method. It's tough when they're just in water....they tend to rot, and the water has to be changed alot. My father-in-law who lives in Florida just tosses a couple of potatoes in a bucket of soil, buries them about half ways sideways, and they grow.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:29PM
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does anyone know how long it normaily takes to get slips ive had mine in water for 5 days now and i still have no slps maybe its takes a while i just dont know

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:40PM
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Mine took several months.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Yeah, I'd say mine took about a month as well.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 3:07PM
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yukkuri_kame(Sunset 19 / USDA 9)

I also prefer soil over water.

Also, keep in mind, they like it warm.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Just lay the whole sweet potato horizontally on surface of the soil in the pot. Keep the soil wet. You will see the sprouts emerging within 2 weeks.

    Bookmark   April 17, 2013 at 6:52PM
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weedlady(Central OH 6)

What if I do not have slips but do have some smaller sweet potatoes from last year--could I simply plant those now, just a couple of inches deep? I know it is too late to try again for slips (and I do not want to buy them), so I figured I may as well put them right out into the garden. I have raised beds and can be sure the soil remains moist. The potatoes I have in mind to plant are about 1 1/2" thick and about 4-5" long.

I had tried for slips two months ago as I always have done with great results in the past, using the potato-suspended-with-toothpicks-in-water method and got zilch slips but a lot of roots, so I am going to plant those 2 potatoes for sure. But 2 sweet potatoes will not provide me with much of a harvest.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 9:47AM
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edweather(Zone 5a/b Central NY)

I gave up on the split in half method.......rotted way to quickly. So I've had a whole potato laying sideways buried about halfway in soil for 3 weeks. It has tons of roots but no shoots "yet."

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 10:41AM
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I rooted some cuttings from a sweet potato vine last fall before the first frost, and planted them in the greenhouse for the winter. They didn't have enough light and crawled around all over the place losing most of the leaves except at the ends. Now I can cut those long vines into about 8 inch pieces and they root and sprout in in water in just a couple of days. I could have hundreds of sweetpotatos from this easy method and have been giving cuttings away right and left. The problem is that I have no idea what variety they are.

An acquaintance offered me some thornless blackberry transplants this past week. I scored two new friends and 8 beautiful thornless blackberry plants. I plan to intentionally root new plants once the berries are picked so that I can pass on those plants to others. Keep paying it forward is the way to go!

    Bookmark   May 16, 2013 at 11:41AM
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