Sweet potato is a vigorous, herbaceous perennial, trailing vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves and the blooms are funnel-shaped and either pale rosy purple or white. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potatoes can be baked, fried, or steamed and prepared for savory or sweet dishes.
Scientific Name: Ipomoea batatas
Common Name: Sweet potato
How to grow and maintain Sweet potato:
It thrives best in full sun to partial sunlight.
It prefers a well-drained, fertile, sandy loam soil. Ample potash in the soil is essential for a good crop and prefers a pH in the range 5.5 – 6.5.
Water regularly, during the growing season. Keep soil constantly moist but never water-logged. Overwatering can cause root rot and kill the plant. During the winter season, reduce watering and only water the plant when the top inch soil to dry out between watering.
Sweet potato grow best in a temperature range of 22°c – 25°c and can mature a crop within 2 months in tropical areas, though
at least three months are required in sub-tropical regions.
Fertilize the plant weekly with a general-purpose, dilute liquid fertilizer. Water after fertilizing to distribute the plant food evenly around the roots.
It can be easily propagated from vine cuttings or starter tubers and rarely from seed.
Sweet potatoes are ready to harvest when the leaves and ends of the vines have started turning yellow, but you can leave them in the ground up until the fall frost. The tubers should be dug and harvested before frost and can be stored for long periods of time. Where hardy, they can be grown and harvested year-round.
Pests and Diseases:
There is no serious pests or disease problems. Watch for thrips and flea beetles.