Growing Yacon, also Sunroot

Smallanthus sonchifolius : Asteraceae / the daisy family

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

Not recommended for growing in USA - Zone 5a regions

  • Easy to grow. Plant sprouting root/tuber to a depth of about 4cm and mulch to cover. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 39 inches apart
  • Harvest in approximately 25 weeks. You can collect a few at a time without digging out the whole plant..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best in separate bed
  • Yacon flowering

Yacon is perennial in sub-tropical/tropical areas. Save some root pieces and treat as an annual in other areas.

Grows into a large plant (about 2 m/6ft) with flowers similar to sunflowers and Jerusalem artichokes.

The plants die down after frost but the roots are sweeter. To store, dig and dry out for a couple of days in the sun if possible. Store in a dry, cool, not freezing and dark place.

Any roots left in the ground will grow the following year except where there are frosts.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Yacon

The large roots can be used raw in salads peel and chop. Sprinkle with lemon juice to prevent browning.
"In the Andes, they are grated and squeezed through a cloth to yield a sweet refreshing drink. The juice can also be boiled down to produce a syrup. In South America the juice is concentrated to form dark brown blocks of sugar called chancaca." (Green Harvest)

Your comments and tips

07 Apr 22, Nouk (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Where do I find an yacon plant in my area
16 Apr 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate) (Note from Gardenate : they have sold out for 2022)
19 Feb 21, Pat (USA - Zone 7a climate)
Will yacon roots be safe underneath the ground in the winter and be able to regrow again in spring in zone 7a? (Is it Perennial in zone 7a?) Thank you. Pat
03 Dec 20, T & K Gauthier (USA - Zone 5a climate)
After pulling the yacon plant (we only have one), how do we store the rhizomes until spring planting time? We have a high tunnel, but I don't think it would be happy there over winter.
04 Dec 20, (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Read the notes here it tell you how to store them over winter.
08 Mar 20, MissChievousRN (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Can yacon be grown as a container plant indoors in colder climates? How big of a container?
26 Mar 20, Tim (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I would grow it in a "wicking barrel". Use a plastic 55 gallon drum and cut it in half, now you've got two. See how to make one on YouTube. Yacon needs pretty good light so put the barrel close to a large window or enclosed porch.
26 Mar 20, Tim (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I wish I could find some yacon to grow! Would you tell me where you found yours. I've been wanting to grow ya on for years out here on the farm but haven't found the tubers.
02 Nov 20, Annette Peck (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Hi Tim! Where about do you live? I grow a large crop every year in the springtime. Please contact me if you’re interested in obtain some from me. Annette
29 Nov 22, Tim (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Hi Annette, Ate you still growing the Yacon? I live in the north Florida area, Glen St Mary in Baker county. Are you anywhere near me that I could see how you're growing the Yacon, or that I might have a sprout or two? I may have something to trade if you like. Tim
Showing 1 - 10 of 17 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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