Sprouting Slips from Sweet Potato - How Long?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by timfromohio, Feb 22, 2009.

  1. timfromohio

    timfromohio Well-Known Member

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    I've read about a couple of ways to sprout slips from sweet potatos. The method we picked was to cut the sweet potato in half, used toothpicks to hold the potato such that the bottom 1/4 or so was immersed in water. We've been waiting now for a couple of weeks - nothing happening. Has anybody else tried this? How long does it usually take before eyes sprout slips? I also read you could cut the sweet potato in half length-wise, plant in sterile potting mix (seed starting mix) and it would sprout slips that way.

    Any help would be most appreciated.

    Thanks!
     
  2. SpringCrkAromas

    SpringCrkAromas Well-Known Member

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    I'm no expert on sweet potatoes but last year I bought one from the grocery store, stuck toothpicks in the middle, put the bottom half in a glass of water and it took FOREVER for the thing to sprout slips. I put it in the water mid February and just when I was ready to give up, it started sprouting end of April. After that it goes quick. It only takes a few days to get roots once you break them off and stick them in water.
    So....don't give up too early.
    Jill
     

  3. timfromohio

    timfromohio Well-Known Member

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    Jill -thanks for sharing your experience. We've been waiting for a few weeks now, but based on your experience will certainly wait longer. The books I read said nothing about timeframe, so I assumed it would be like seeds - days to weeks at the longest.

    We won't give up!!!
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    We just had a thread on starting sweet potatoes but can continue here. I expected results within a week and that has taken place. No visible sprouts yet but 2 of the 5 tubers began sending down roots after only a few days. Plenty of time yet for something good to happen.

    Martin
     
  5. Rita

    Rita Well-Known Member Supporter

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    The one I have in water put down roots very quickly but took ages for the sprouts to come out. They are making up for lost time now however!
     
  6. timfromohio

    timfromohio Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the input. Made me think of a follow-up question - about how many slips can I expect from each sweet potato? How many sweet potatos do you folks try to sprout from?
     
  7. Stephen in SOKY

    Stephen in SOKY Well-Known Member

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    Would a touch of rooting hormone in the water be of any benefit?
     
  8. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    I'm continuing this for help in determining some time frames. My tubers were set in water on 13 Feb. The 2 good ones rapidly filled the jar with roots and I almost figured that that was all I was going to see. Yesterday, noticed that their skin wasn't quite as smooth as before. Today, many of those bumps have turned into dark red tips of what will become the slips. Wife thinks I'm daft for being so happy over something like that but never tried it before! Now we're anxious to see how quickly they grow. From the number of active eyes showing, looks like I won't have to order any Beauregards. Too early to tell how many will come off those 2 smallish tubers.

    Martin
     
  9. francismilker

    francismilker Udderly Happy! Supporter

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    Good Thread. I've never grown sweet potatoes but could eat my weight in them. I've also wondered about how to sprout sweet potatoe slips. How many (not sure what they're called) plants can you get out of one sweet potatoe that you suspend in water? When do you plant them? How deep? How long to produce?
    Lots of questions I know. Thanks though!
     
  10. ca2devri

    ca2devri Well-Known Member

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    It's very important to get the tubers (and the water their in) warm. 25-30 degrees C (sorry don't know F) is best. I put mine in seedling trays with soil mix over top and a seedling heat mat underneath. After 2 weeks I had a good amount of growth coming up.

    I then transplanted them to their own peat pots, but I've read that you can grow them in the tray and then straight out into the garden.

    Chris
     
  11. Mid Tn Mama

    Mid Tn Mama Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Under the right conditions, say five per plant where you root it, but if you root along the way, five at each rooted section.

    I fill the water to halfway. I think that if I am consistent in cutting off the starts when they are about six inches long and root those in water, I can get around 15 or so per plant. More if I really put some elbow into it.

    I've had mine on the windowsill making babies all winter. Windowsill looks very pretty as DH told me yesterday. And he is not the kind to notice:)
     
  12. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Can you post a pic?
     
  13. timfromohio

    timfromohio Well-Known Member

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    OK, we now have some activity on the one sweet potato we are experimenting with. Thanks for keeping this thread going.
     
  14. garnetmoth

    garnetmoth Well-Known Member

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    good luck all! I should get on this!

    I noticed last fall, in the veggie bin on the counter, the sweet potatoes that were next to apples sprouted fastest. Maybe 1-2 days in a baggie with an apple, then stick in water? im going to try!
     
  15. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    I found something else that may be useful or some other factor was involved. 5 tubers of various size and condition were started in water. 2 with damage began to rot and foul the water the second jar. They were tossed while the remaining one in that jar did nothing. Something told me that perhaps it was upside down. When reversed, it barely took 3 days for roots to begin showing. Now I see that it is trying to make up for lost time by suddenly showing bumps on the portion that was under water a week ago. I should not think that direction should make a difference but perhaps it did. As long as it's working, I'll position them whichever way seems to please them the most!

    Martin
     
  16. mnn2501

    mnn2501 Dallas

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    We usually buy a couple from the grocery store in late Dec or early Jan and put it in out hanging produce basket (wire basket) in the kitchen. By mid March it has shoots and its ready to plant
     
  17. jad44

    jad44 Well-Known Member

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    We harvested about 50 plants off a sweet potato a couple years ago - Just make sure when removing the plants (I let them get about 4-5" tall) to get all the "root system" and then put them in water until ready to plant - ours was so root bound, it was hard to pull them apart, and everyone of them grew - so we had a bumper crop of seedlings, not to mention a bumper crop from the garden that fall - When planting them into the hills, water them with a light mixture of miracle grow and they never show transplant weakness. I have had my sweet potatoes in the water for almost 3 weeks now - roots are starting to form on the bottoms of the potatoes - so it is a matter of time before I'll see sprouts -
     
  18. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    It's now 25 days and the first two tubers each have about 15 sprouts forming. The longest ones are close to 4" long and with leaves nearly an inch wide. I knew that they were supposed to grow fast but didn't expect them to be that quick. The reversed tuber went from bumps to a dozen or so red sprouts in about 2 days time. The longest is already almost an inch. Temperature may be a big plus factor since the jars are sitting less than an inch above a 25w light in an aquarium. The temperature of the water in the jars is 82ºF and within the ideal range for forcing slips.

    Martin
     
  19. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    45 days after first placing the tubers in the jars, the 3 good tubers have been "harvested" of the 6 largest slips on each. One took off like crazy while growing more than an inch per day and was about 18" when removed. 9 slips longer than 6" were put into water with a few drops of "Schultz-Liquid" 10-15-10 plant food in case they need nutrients. 9 slips in the 4" to 6" range were set into potting soil. All appear to be happy so far. There are still about a half dozen smaller slips on each tuber and they have grown considerably in less than 48 hours.

    Martin
     
  20. timfromohio

    timfromohio Well-Known Member

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    The sweet potato we are experimenting with has tubers growing, but I think we'll still have to purchase slips to plant this year. Thanks for the update and for keeping the thread going!