Sweet potatoes leafing and rooting but not vining.

Santa Barbara, CA

Odd thing with my sweet potato starts this year, they are leafing but not growing long vines.
Is it possible to ID the sweet potato by leaf? I bought the sweet potatoes from the store originally, and wonder if I got a " bush type." Doesn't really matter, but I haven't seen the slips grow like this before.
Picture on left is for leaf ID. Picture on right is how one slip grew on the potato--life a multi-trunked bush. I plucked it off and floated it in water, where it grew roots like mad in no time.

This message was edited Mar 31, 2013 4:55 PM

Thumbnail by zzgirl Thumbnail by zzgirl
Contra Costa County, CA(Zone 9b)

I think part of the problem is temperature related.
I started a Sweet Potato from the store near a window. It has been cool there. Mine started several sprouts, but did not start vining until just recently.
When the weather is cold I keep the curtains closed to keep it a bit warmer, but it is still not too warm by that window.
When the weather warms up (even just a bit) I will open the curtains, and when it is even warmer I will open the window. (Only one day that warm so far).

I noticed the vining started when the weather got a bit milder, so the spot by the window was warmer.
Sure could have been light, too, of course, since I open the curtains more.

I have a few other plants in the area, and I have noticed they are using more water, and the bowl with the sweet potato dries out a lot faster, even through there are not really that many more leaves, yet. I think the water is evaporating in the warmth.

New Orleans, LA(Zone 9a)

I'm starting some beauregards and they're not vining either. They have nice healthy roots, and are longer than yours, maybe the longest is 6". I snapped off a few of the longer ones & put them in a separate glass of water and they did develop roots. Whenever the temp gets over 70, I put them out in the sunshine for a few hours.

This is my first time growing potato slips except when I was a child & my Mom would grow a sweet potato that would vine all over the kitchen. We kids just loved the way they looked.

Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

When growing SP starts, I prefer it to not vine. These plantlets are easy to root and set out if that is what you are after. They will vine when in ground.

SE Houston (Hobby), TX(Zone 9a)

So, Pod, please educate me on growing the sweeties, again.

Last season a neighbor gave me some sweetie cuttings that I grew in an 18-gallon Rubbermaid tub. I cut drainage holes in the bottom, and amended the soil, which was very agreeable to the plant. But -- I believe I got relatively few sweeties than I should have in that container.

I posted on another forum, and was told I should not have let the vine run out and along my fence line, because when it grabbed hold to the soil and began rooting, it was robbing energy from the tubers developing back in the tub.

So, how do I redo this experiment, to get a better yield? Should I just wind the vine back into the tub? Cut it off once it spills out to the ground? Keep clipping it off?

I'm confused because I watch a YouTube video of a guy growing sweeties in containers like mine (where I go the idea), and he harvested some mighty nice-sized tubers. He had three tubs side x side, and when he went to harvest them, he had to cut off all these vines piled up on top of the tubs.

None were running outside the tubs...

LOL, I think I just answered my own question....!



P.S. It was VERY easy and convenient to grow those sweeties in that container, and I'd love to do it again, with more containers side x side this time. Oh, and what do you do about "wire worms"? I had some tiny holes in more than a few of the sweeties, and noticed these long thin worms in the tray I was curing them in.


Deep East Texas, TX(Zone 8a)

Linda ~ I suspect you might well have answered your own question. All I can say is try, try again and then you can tell us how to be successful.

I also tried a tub of them but a few of the tubers were normal sized, the rest were long and skinny. I did read why but don't recall at the moment.

No problem with wireworms but understand that is a common dilemma when growing in soil here. I used a peat based potting soil in my container and had the container raised off the ground.

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