sweet potatoes

Sweet Potato Vine Division: Tips for Dividing the Sweet Potato Vine

Ipomoea batatas Ipomoea batatas is a decorative and attractive climbing plant that crawls gracefully from a pot or hanging basket. Greenhouses and nurseries charge a fairly high price for sweet potato plants, but sweet potato splitting is a way to create new plants with a very small investment of time or money. It is easy to split sweet potato plants to propagate new strains because the plants grow from fleshy tubers underground. Below are some tips for dividing sweet potato plants.

When to divide sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes grow year-round in USDA Plant Resistance Zones 9-11, but in cooler climates, sweet potato tubers should be stored in a cool, dry place for the winter. In any case, spring is the best time to share sweet potatoes.

Spread the ground sweet potatoes as soon as the new shoots are 2.5 to 5 cm (1 to 2 cm) long. Distribute winter storage sweet potatoes as soon as you take them out of storage – once all danger of frost has passed.

How to divide a sweet potato vine

Carefully dig the tubers into the soil with a garden fork or trowel. Gently rinse freshly dug-up tubers with a garden hose to remove excess soil. (Sweet potatoes stored in winter should already be clean)

Discard soft, discoloured or rotten tubers. If the damaged area is small, cut it with a knife. Cut the tubers into smaller pieces. Make sure that each piece has at least one “eye”, as this is where new growth begins.

Plant the tubers in the soil to a depth of about 2.5 cm (1 inch). Leave a 1 m (3 ft.) space between each tuber. Sweet potatoes benefit from full sun, but afternoon shade is useful if you live in a warm summer climate. You can also plant the tubers in a pot filled with well-drained soil.

Water the tubers as needed to keep the soil uniformly moist, but never wet. Soil that is too wet can cause tubers to rot.

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