How to Start Your Own Sweet Potato Slips


Sweet potatoes love to grow in the heat of Florida summers. At a time when many other crops are struggling, the sweet potato vines spread vigorously.

You can buy sweet potato slips, or you can grow them yourself from a sweet potato.  Maybe you did a project in elementary school where you stuck toothpicks in a sweet potato, then set it in a glass of water to grow leaves and roots. You had to make sure you changed the water or it would get stinky.

I rooted mine differently.

I used the ” Stick it in a Pot and Forget about It” method.

All I did was to take a sweet potato and bury it about halfway in some of my compost. I put the pointy end down and the end that had the little scar above the ground.


Depending on your sweet potato’s mood and the heat of your climate, you should begin to see green leaves within a few weeks, earlier if your potato was showing signs of sprouting anyway.

If you have never rooted anything in your life, start with sweet potatoes-they are so easy. Tomatoes are pretty easy to root too, and I have gotten many free tomato plants that way.DSCN4432

To get your plants, snip off sections of the vine, being sure that you have at least 1 node(intersection of leaf and stem) that you can bury, preferably 2.DSCN4435

Tear the leaf off of the node and bury the section as deeply as possible. I am sticking my shoots into flats filled with my homemade compost.DSCN4438If some of the shoots are short, just rip them off of the potato and poke them in the compost or potting soil. You may think that some of the little sections of stem will not be able to root, but they will surprise you.


Within a week, roots will begin developing and soon you will be able to see them poking out from the bottom of the flat. The sweet potato slips are ready to be planted in your garden and soon the vines will be everywhere!

Just let them grow for at least 120 days, then start digging!

Have you ever rooted your own sweet potato slips? What method did you use?


8 responses »

  1. Thanks. Keep up the great advice. You inspire me to add more edibles to my otherwise flower dominated gardens in the future. Next year as I set out my gardens I will definitely be referring to your site for its good advice. Thanks again!

    • I’m so glad! Sweet potato vines are pretty to grow, even if you don’t like to eat the potatoes! Also, if the vines overstep their bounds, you can trim them and eat the leaves. They are a fantastic green!

  2. Thank you so much for this post. I planted sweet potatoes for the first time this year and they are going crazy and I had no idea what to do. Now that I know I can trim and plant, I’m going to have to start working on my garden expansion that I was going to do next year. The plants I bought instructed me to plant them 12″ apart. I did this and it’s like a carpet out there. How much can I trim them back and still not worry about hindering the potato growth underground? Any advice you can give me would be greatly appreciated. ~ Tilly

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