Growing Sweet Potato Slips, God’s Way

It is January. A time to take down Christmas decorations, getting back into working and ordering seeds. If you are in the southern US, it is also time for growing your sweet potato slips. If you read on the internet about growing sweet potato slips, you get a supply list of a glass, some water and toothpicks. While this can work, you won’t get the big healthy plants in the quantity or quality you may be after. If you want good healthy slips, you need to be less Dr Fauci and more Farmer Brown in your growing methods. You can’t produce large numbers of healthy slips in your laboratory water. They should grow in soil as nature intended. You need to be growing Sweet Potato slips, God’s way.

How do you grow sweet potato slips God’s way?

This might sound like I am being sarcastic but you grow them in the soil. If you ever had a sweet potato break off mid season you will notice it is creating a new plant. During the season, this is bad, as the plant will never get to full size unless you have a bunch of warm days ahead of you. This is what you are trying to emulate when growing your slips.

While it sounds simple, and it is, there are a couple of things to remember. Don’t use your beautiful eating potatoes to grow slips. That is a waste. You want to use all those small ones. You want them to be big enough to cure but not big enough to cry over when you stuff into a hole.


Since it is freezing cold outside, these are getting started indoors. I took a window planter in this case as the growing vessel.

You want to get all of your little sweet potatoes that are hardly worth eating.

Unlike potatoes, you don’t want to cut them up or molest them in any fashion. Some might have sprouts coming out. That is ok. Just leave them be, we are after those but we want them big and healthy.

Fill your pot about 3/4 with potting mix or sterilized soil.

Then line up the potatoes. You don’t need to worry too much about spacing. We will be pulling them up and repotting them when they get big enough. If they have sprouts, point the sprouts up.

None of them are touching. They all have a bit of space to do their magic. Cover them with a light coating of top soil.

Then give a healthy watering to make sure the soil is hydrated and you work out any air gaps around the sweet potatoes.

Find a nice warm corner with a bit of sunlight and start playing the waiting game. These things can take a few weeks, especially if your warm corner is more corner and less warm.

Just like most plants keep the soil watered when the top inch or so is dried out.

Can you do this with a store potato?

Yes, you can though you will be wasting a perfectly good eating potato. Also, you will not know the variety of the potato unless you get lucky and it is labeled. This is more important the further north you go because there are multiple kinds of sweet potatoes. Some need a really long season because they get their production in pin potatoes or are a very long days to maturity sorts. Growing something that needs a 120 good, hot days is just not in the cards for everyone.

In theory they are sprayed with things that keep them from sprouting. I don’t really buy this is true as a properly cured and stored sweet potato will last all year.

We will check on these in the future when it is time to transplant them out into some individual pots.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *