Sweet Potato

birdsnbloomsMarch 23, 2013


Ever since I read/heard sweet potatoes and yams were sprayed with a retardant, I gave up trying to root them.
The few times I worked at it, they'd rot.

Anyway, I buy sweet potatoes for my birds, 'to go w/their scrambled eggs, corn and peas.'

I forget the sweet potato was sitting on the counter. About a month!
When I discovered it behind dh's booze collection, it had sprouted. It was in complete dark, w/o moisture.

A week or so ago, I set it on a shelf adjacent a north window. It's not in soil or water. Now that it's sprouted, the only moisture it gets is daily misting on the growth, not the potato.

Should I let it be or place in water/soil?

Any ideas? Thanks, Toni

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I would put that in a pot with some good potting soil, others will have more advice for you. I've never seen one grow so nicely out of water or soil..

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 4:52PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

I would put that in a pot with the end closest to the camera at the top, the other 2/3 buried. Moisten the soil lightly when you plant it. By the time it gets dry, it should be warm enough to put it outside. If you put it in the ground, it will grow so fast you can take cuttings from it about once a week and add them to pots, or make a pot full of them.

If you put that giant potato in a hanging basket, for example, it's going to be hard to keep it happy for long. Not much room left for thirsty roots. When you stick cuttings in a pot, about a foot long, they take off fast.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 6:04PM
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I would cut it into halves or thirds and pot each piece. Double or triple your chances. Just make sure each piece has new growth on it when cutting

Thats what I would do, but Im sure others here will have some advice

Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 6:23PM
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Hi Toni,

I agree with purple. Plant it whole and watch what happens. Do you want it to be a potted plant or do you want to put it outside in the ground? If you keep it in a pot you may have to go to a fairly large pot eventually.


    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 12:34AM
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They do grow easily, so I'd just pot it up, even if only to lay it on top of soil. It'll put the roots out when it detects moist soil. And the shoots can be cut and potted up in soil, or put into a stir fry - they're great for that.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 7:03AM
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Good Morning & Thanks,

Christine, thank you.
In a way I'm afraid to pot since sp has done well on its own. On the other hand I don't know how long it'd survive w/o water or soil.

You said you've never seen a sp grow outside water or soil. I've never seen a sp grow anywhere except photos. lol

Purple, thanks.

Potting potato 2/3rds deep, in soil, will produce roots? In other words it should be repotted similar to a bulb 'plant'?

Purple, IF sp lives, it will be summered outside, but can't plant in-ground. Not with the critters. Rabbits, etc.

Does sp look giant-size to you? Actually, it's small. Probably the photo.

Are you saying roots grow deep? If so, I have tree pots that stand 3' and taller.

Tuck, thanks. Stems are close together, so I'd rather not cut sections. Besides, I'm afraid..lol.
Also, I don't have room for duplicates, especially 'if' sw lives and gets big.

Hi Larry and thanks.

Between growing in-ground or as a potted plant, I choose the latter. Sp would never survive in-ground.

I read certain parts of potatoes are poisonous. Our dog, Coco sometimes nibbles greens. Can't take that chance.
If Coco doesn't munch first, critters will. lol.

Tropic, thanks.

You think sp's are easy growers?
Red and white potatoes root and grow fast, but did you ever see regular potato foliage? It's boring. Looks like celery. lol.

Stir fry, huh? I prefer baked with lots of brown sugar, spices, 'cinnamon and clove,' butter, pecans and marshmellows..
Not diet food but tasty. :)

What about light? Humidity? Soil type? Toni

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 12:28PM
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wndy_gardenweb(USDA z4b)

"Ever since I read/heard sweet potatoes and yams were sprayed with a retardant, I gave up trying to root them. "

eugghh, what is it exactly? I take it they don't spray baking or red potatoes, since if I don't cook with them soon enough they start to grow.

I eat normal potato peels, but I've never cooked with a sweet potato before (though I have one that's been sitting in my fridge for.. hrmm a couple months?) that I was -planning- on eating at some point (not any more). Anyhow, now I'm a bit cautious of eating sweet potato.......

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 11:17PM
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Morning Wndy,

Gross, isn't it?

My plant book states sweet potatoes and yams are sprayed with a retardant but doesn't list type/s'.

So, I ended up Googling, 'Sprout Inhibitor' and 'potato sprout retardant.'
Retardants inhibit potato eyes from sprouting.

An older site, 1995, said sp's and yams were sprayed with Tetcychacis.

A newer site, 2012, named two 'chemicals??' Maleic hydrazide and Chloropham.

Google each.

I don't want to sound like a conspiracy theorist but I'm starting to believe the government is attempting to reduce the population by foods and medications we eat/take.

My plant book, 'Starting from Scratch,' suggests going to an organic grocery store that sells untreated potatoes. 'For planting.'
After reading the info on Google, it's a good idea buying organic potatoes for human consumption, too. Sheesh!

Like I said, gross.

I don't know if red and white potatoes are sprayed, but information can be found on Google.

We love potatoes, too. Red, white and sweet.
SP's are supposed to be very healthy, minus chemicals.

I wash potatoes thoroughy before boiling/baking.

Although, imo, fruits/veggies that are sprayed must absorb chemicals. Just my opinion.

You've never eaten a sweet potato? Not even for the holidays? :)
I wash, boil, then bake sp's with sugars and spices. Otherwise, they taste terrible. lol.

Wndy...don't worry about eating a sp or any other type of potato.
Unless we start growing our own veggies, we buy at the grocers. As far as I know, all veggies and fruits are sprayed with pesticides, and 'possibly' non-organic fertilizers, etc.

Once a month I Google food, dog & bird food, and medication recalls.
You'd be surprised.

Maybe you should root your 3-month-old sp?? However, since it's been in the fridge, it might not sprout.


    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 1:25PM
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teengardener1888(NY Albany 5a)

Oh my!!!! I tried to bring cuttings of my Blackie sweet potato but in bright light with pruning, it still grew leggy. Im 99% shure it would mthrive if put in soil. Good luck

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:50PM
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Ooh! What a fun experiment. I think the foliage of blue potatoes is beautiful. I had one and the leaves had a blue/purple tint to them. Wish I got a photo before some anonymous critter snipped the stem. I'll have to try again.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:58PM
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"Stir fry, huh? I prefer baked with ......"

I was referring to the green shoots. They're such prolific growers when you have a patch of them growing you can just keep clipping off the young green shoots and use them in stir frys. Some people put them in stews as well.

Most tuber type vegetables have toxins and or other compounds that have a negative health effect, even if not very significant. That's why they need to be well cooked.

I found the best sweet potatoes were "escapes" from the garden that got in under some trees (Acacia) and were growing in the thick layer of leaves over sandy soil. The tubers were in amongst the leaves, not in the ground.

If you put cuttings in water they'll soon grow a mass of roots, then can be planted out.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:18AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Teen, IME, 'blackie' doesn't come close to growing as fast as 'margarita.' If you like chartreuse leaves, look for that one to try - should be with the annuals soon. The foliage on those usually sold at the grocery store will probably be a medium-dark green but those do have the bonus of morning glory flowers.

If it's sprouting, the retardant is a moot point, whether it was added or not. That hurdle's been jumped.

Wndy, sweet potatoes are YUMMY! I like to peel, chunk, boil until a fork slides in but not yet mushy. Drain, add a little brown sugar. Heat on low until a syrup forms, a few minutes for the sugar to melt. Also good with honey.

This discussion reminds me, I have a bag with a few sprouting potatoes (regular, not sweet) I can't remember to plant in the garden. Of course too cold at the moment, busy typing...

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:40AM
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FF...Blue potatoes???

Tropic, Unfortunately, garden space in limited. No room for potatoes.

I'll be honest, I've never stir-fried. Don't think I've ever eaten sprouts, either.

Funny you should mention tuber veggies.
Since potatoes are in the Solanacea family, 'toxins,' how are they edible?
There's a good number of plants, 'edibles and ornamentals,' in the Solanacea family.

Imagine, in the beginning when man grew hungry, came across wild veggies and fruit, then satisfied his/her hunger by eating, 'unknowns,' growing in the ground. Stoves were not yet invented. :)
Probably, the majority didn't think about roasting on an open fire.
Wonder how many died during the early ages.

Did sp tubers, 'hidden under Acacia leaves,' have roots? How did they survive?

Tropic, my sp is still sitting on the shelf. lol.
I was wondering if roots would form by placing the potato in a glass container, 'stones on the bottom,' with an inch or so of water.

Ususally, cuttings, etc, rooted in soil, die. 'Excluding succulents.'

What did you mean, 'they can be planted out?'

Purple, umm, honey, too. Never tried honey.

I have a recipie for mashed, sweet potatoes. I made it once, but decided baked or boiled are tastier.
Which is the reason mashed were only made one time.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 11:59AM
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yes! google them, they're really pretty...and yummy!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Earlier on I looked into them and wow they sure are pretty...and the hint of blue in the leaves is neat too!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 12:28PM
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FF..Wow, blue potatoes are very pretty and unusual!

At first glance, they resembled plums or egg-plant.

You said leaves are tinged blue/purple, so I Googled, blue potato leaves. Several pics popped up. Flowers are amazing.

I came across a grafted blue potato tree, but it turned out, an actual photo for sale. lol.
Then I Googled, grafting blue potatoes. There's information, 'mostly tomatoes,' but I found a few potato instructions, too.

FF, thanks..Toni

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 1:09PM
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I got some Adirondack Blues one year from a compost bin and grew those.

I didn't find photos of grafted potatoes. I'm not sure I know what I'm looking for. Why would you want to graft a potato?

Sorry to get everybody off track on this thread, but this just reminded me of those blue potatoes and I had to share!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 3:01PM
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Hi FF,

Sorry, the only potato brand I know is Idaho. lol.
But thanks for sharing blue potatoes. First time I've ever heard or seen one.

Maybe it's me, but I like the looks of grafted plants.

Have you ever seen grafted Daisy and Verbina?
Home Depot sells both in summer.

Grafted plants provide more room, they're disease-resistant, and hardier.
Grafted/Standard plants I have, Citrus, Gardenia, Plumeria and Brugmansia. All do well, and adapt to cooler temps.

Anyway, just my opinion. I'd be happy to have a blue potato plant even if it wasn't grafted. lol.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 3:34PM
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Toni, sweet potatoes are vines and become quite rampant, they don't just need lots of room, they'll take it. They're Ipomoeas, Morning Glories, in the Convolvulaceae family. Ordinary potatoes (Irish Potatoes) are Solanaceae family (I'd call them solenoids, but some electricians might object). Included in that family are some extremely toxic plants, like Deadly Nightshade, but also include tomates and eggplants. One of our locals, Solanum echinatum has fruits like small yellow tomatoes. If you eat that it ruptures the lining of your stomach and you vomit blood until you die, reasonably rapidly. Yet similar looking fruit off other solanums here are eaten as a healthy natural food. Those are fruits, though, tubers you can often cook to make them edible.

It was interesting, some years back I was living with Aborigines in a remote part of Central Arnhem Land. Some times when the elders came across a plant they weren't familiar with and weren't sure of its edibility they'd try a bit. You could see they were checking for any telltale signs of substances that could be harmful. But they were tuned into that, much the same as people everywhere in old times before we became "civilised" (and less knowledgable). Now days we just trust the food processors, or our next of kin sue them.

Sweet potatoes grow easily from vine cuttings. As I said, if you put them in a glass of water (in a warm place) they'll have a mass of roots after a few days. That's when I plant them in soil.

The ones under the Acacia got there themselves from vines running from the garden. When I went to remove them a while later they'd already produced tubers, but on top of the ground, under the leaves. So I left them. Roots ran through the leaves and also into the ground.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 10:42PM
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Tropic...I recall you mentioned living with Aborigines some time back.
I find it VERY interesting.
You should write a book. :) Seriously.

I don't mean to sound disrespectful, but which 'tribe, don't know if tribe is an accurate title,' did you stay with?

I imagine testing different plants is quite scary. I wouldn't want to be a food taster. lol.

Other than parks, has Arnhem Land become a tourist attraction? Do natives welcome outsiders?

I Googled Arnhem pics. Very beautiful land. Unfortunately, didn't see many plant shots, but, 'being a bird lover,' birds are exceptional, beautifully colored.

By chance, are or were you an Archeologist or Anthropologist? If you don't mind me asking.

Had to laugh when you " " civilized. Today's society is soooo 'civilized.' lol

Calling Irish potatoes solenoids, not only might electrictions object, but car mechanics, too. lol.

Tropic, you're RIGHT! Sweet potates are Conolvulacaes/ Ipomoeas! Something I Should have remembered. Plants 101....

I Googled S echinatum...although a pretty and unusual plant, it's one I can live without.

Anyway, I finally got around placing sp in a little water, with pebbles. Hope the bottom doesn't rot.
It's still on a shelf, adjacent a north window. Tiny red leaves are forming.

Weedy vines are a pain. There's a weed here, 'don't know its type..I named it IL Morning Glory,' that produces 100' plus roots and the longest vines. Except for size, flowers are identical to MG.
These weeds strangle wanted plants.
The more they're pulled, dug, the thicker they grow. lol.

Well, again Tropic. You should think of writing a book about your ventures. Toni

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 4:07PM
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