How to grow a sweet potato in your home
Sweet potatoes are started from slips, which are shoots that grow off a mature sweet potato. This one started to grow a beautiful, delicate slip right in my fruit bowl, so I removed it and placed the slip and the potato in a jar. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

Sweet potatoes are started from slips, which are shoots that grow off a mature sweet potato. This one started to grow a beautiful, delicate slip right in my fruit bowl, so I removed it and placed the slip and the potato in a jar. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

Sweet potatoes have to be one of the more fun kitchen-food plants to grow in the home. The best ones to grow are organic ones that I get at the farmers market, since the local farmers, at least who sell in NYC, often don't spray anything on the potatoes to prevent sprouting. The ones I get at the supermarket never seem to ever give off any slips! 

If you don't get around to eating your sweet potato and would like to try your hand at growing one in the home, then I encourage you to do it. Surprisingly, one sweet potato can produce up to 50 slips, or so I read. These "slips" are simply sprouts that come off of the tuber. You don't need to put the tuber in water for it to grow slips, but when you start to see the sprouts emerge, I'd place the potato in a jar of water.

Toothpicks can be used to hold the potato in place so it doesn't fall completely in the water. All you want is about 1/3 of the sweet potato submerged. Place it on a windowsill and replace water every other day or every third day. If you don't, the water will get pretty scummy.

In a few weeks, the leaves will start to appear and unfurl and the roots of the potato will look like the below. You may want to move your potato to a larger jar for a little while longer, or you can start to twist off some of the slips, place them in a shallower jar of water and wait for a few days for the roots to fully develop. Once that happens, you can begin to transplant some of the slips (provided they have a substantial enough root system) into a large pot with loose, well-draining potting soil. I typically plant mine in the largest pot I can find. After all, these are underground dwellers and you want to get as big of potatoes as you possibly can.

A sweet potato will start to grow "slips", which are stems with leaves. Once those slips start to develop, they'll each have their own root system. You can snap those off the mother sweet potato and plant those individual slips into the ground or in a large container in the home. 

A sweet potato will start to grow "slips", which are stems with leaves. Once those slips start to develop, they'll each have their own root system. You can snap those off the mother sweet potato and plant those individual slips into the ground or in a large container in the home. 

When you plant the slips, water them generously. I was giving mine a thorough soaking every day, sometimes every other day for the first two weeks until they were fully established. If you give your sweet potato really good sunlight and adequate enough water, you can harvest them in about 3-4 months time. 

I harvested these thin, but tasty, beauties from my indoor container garden in 4 months. Okay, okay, so that's A LOT of effort for very little potatoes, but they made a nice breakfast and were truly fun to grow in the home. 🌿

Once the slips are established, they can be planted in your container. This is what mine looked like after around three months. I harvested them about 3 weeks later. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

Once the slips are established, they can be planted in your container. This is what mine looked like after around three months. I harvested them about 3 weeks later. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

I could begin to harvest my tiny sweet potatoes from my container garden after about 4 months of growth. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

I could begin to harvest my tiny sweet potatoes from my container garden after about 4 months of growth. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

These sweet potatoes were harvested in my container garden indoors after 4 months of growth. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

These sweet potatoes were harvested in my container garden indoors after 4 months of growth. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

I sliced up the potatoes and sautéed them for breakfast. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes

I sliced up the potatoes and sautéed them for breakfast. Photo: Summer Rayne Oakes