Growing Sweet Potato, also Kumara

Ipomoea batatas : Convolvulaceae / the morning glory family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

Not recommended for growing in USA - Zone 5a regions

  • Plant shoots or cuttings (Slips). Best planted at soil temperatures between 17°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 60 cm apart
  • Harvest in 15-17 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best in Separate bed
  • New shoots on Kumara
  • Well grown Kumara

Sweet Potatoes require a long warm growing season. Plant in free draining loose soil. Fertilise before planting but no more when the plants are growing as it will encourage vine growth. They will go for miles and you will get no tubers. If they do start spreading, lift the vines off the ground to prevent them rooting.

Mound up the soil about 20 cm (8 in) before planting. Let the plants die down, (leaves die or turn yellow) before harvesting the tubers. Dry them in the sun for a few days. then store in a cool dry place for up to five months.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sweet Potato

Use mashed, boiled, roasted, baked or fried. Or use in soups, pies, casseroles, curries and salads.

Your comments and tips

06 Feb 09, Michelle (Australia - temperate climate)
where do i buy sweet potatoes..? in Melbourne.
21 Mar 19, Damien Cooke (Australia - temperate climate)
Bunnings are still selling them here in Adelaide
09 Feb 09, Grahame (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Michelle, It's probably a little late to put sweet potatoes in now as they take quite a few months to produce. You can get 'seed potatoes' from nurseries, usually from Goodman seeds. You other option is to just buy one from a good greengrocer and grow from that. The idea in Victoria is to plant the tuber in to a pot and wait for it to sprout. Once the sprouts are big enough you take cuttings and stick them in the ground and away they go.
17 Jul 10, Jo (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Thanks for the info - I am new to the game and was wondering the same thing! All set to (excuse the pun) have a dig at growing some sweet potatoes now! Cheers!
02 Mar 09, Jason (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hello. I have planted a sweet potato in December that has grown many runners. How do I turn that into more sweet potatos and how long do they take to mature? Am I supossed to bury the runners in the soil?? Can't quite seem to get it to work.
14 Mar 09, Starrlite (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there :-) found this thread while looking for a diagram of kumara (sweet potato) and thought this info might help you Jason. In early Feb, had this awesome fella come show us how to plant kumara in the traditional way, used successfully by Maori before European colonisation. I recently emailed him asking for general care and cultivation tips... this was his reply: "Kia ora ano sis, chur mean, glad to hear the kumara are in abundance! Have y'all pulled the runners up yet? - about 3 weeks ago you shouldve pulled up the runners on a sunny day and exposed the roots to the sun for a few hours to kill them. Otherwise the plants direct energy away from the tubers and into setting down new roots via the runners and your kumara wont be as big as they could. If you havent done it yet, still do! At that point you can also start harvesting the new shoots of vine growth - pick leaves and vines that are still that brighter green and use it like puha or watercress. If you eat mature leaves it might upset your stomach so kia tupato! (you probably already know all this!). This has same effect of directing energy to the tubers." For your reference, "puha and watercress" are greens that can be added to salads or boiled/blanched similar to spinach and silverbeet and "kia tupato" means I need to "be careful" - eating mature leaves can be harmful! Well, I am off to pull up the runners and expose them to the sun! Glad there is some today :-) Good luck with the kumara growing!! "As the garden grows so does the gardener." - Proverb
18 Mar 09, Jean (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, just to get this right, do I let the runners simply keep growing, exposing the roots of course, and where do the tubers actually grow. My runners are running riot and Roy is threatening to cut them off. Help!!
07 Apr 09, Claudie (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Hi there I have just decided to start my own mini Veggie garden and I am wondering what is the best thing sow in about two weeks from now. My family eat alot of lettuce and pumpkin and sweet potato. What should I do? :)
09 Apr 09, Anneliese (United Kingdom - cool/temperate climate)
how do you know if the sweet potatos are ready - mine have been in the ground for 6 months now
11 Apr 09, IAN (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I can only get yellow, white or red (with white flesh) sweet potatoes in Australia. But does anyone know where to get the red one with the yellow flesh? - these are common in NZ but I have never seen them in Australia.
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