Have you ever wondered about Grow Sweet Potato in 5-Gallon Containers? I hope you do and to grow these tasty root vegetables you just need a container big enough for the roots. Sweet potatoes are pretty easy to grow. The vines may become messy sometimes but it will not bother you unless you forgot to trim them. Sweet Potatoes require soft light well-drained soil with a slightly acidic ph. Use compost with clean garden soil for basics and if you want more then buy a bag of any commercial potting soil. Next, you just need regular watering, ambient temperature, and direct sunlight for 6 to 8 hours every day.
Can you Grow Sweet potatoes in Containers?
You can grow Sweet potatoes in Containers. These root vegetables grow in thin vines with beautiful foliage. Some gardeners even grow these vines as ornamental plants. They look great in hanging baskets. If you like the foliage then they are good for any type or size of the container.
Otherwise, for big roots, you will need bigger containers, preferably bigger than 12 inches in diameter.
Is it Easy to Grow Sweet Potato in Container?
Yes, it’s easy to grow Sweet potatoes in a container. Although you may face some problem that never bothers you in the garden. Regular checking for the soil moisture and sometimes increased pest attacks are tiresome. If you manage the hassle of handling containers full of dirt then you are good to go. The number of sweet potatoes will be low which is obvious according to the size of the container. So if you want more then grow these vines in big containers or arrange a few containers together for a handful of sweet potatoes.
These vines don’t require much care other than some quality soil and regular watering. Just keep an eye on the root space and the sweet potato will be ready to harvest within 120 days.
Altogether it is easy to grow sweet potatoes in containers especially if you are comfortable with the pros and cons of container gardening.
Why do People like to Grow Sweet potatoes in Buckets?
The Comfort of growing vegies in the container is an advantage for every urban gardener. This is probably the main reason for urban gardeners growing sweet potatoes in buckets. Also, We can grow sweet potatoes anytime anywhere in containers. Containers are portable and we can move them from one spot to another.
Lastly, a sweet potato vine looks great due to its beautiful purple leaves. You can grow these vines in buckets just for their looks and treat the yield as a bonus.
Is it Commercially Beneficial to Grow Sweet Potato in Container?
Nope, maybe not. You can grow Sweet potatoes in containers but they can never compete with traditional garden yield. A container can yield a maximum of 3 or 4 good size sweet potatoes. This is never sufficient even for a small family of two. Although growing sweet potatoes in a container at your home may reduce your grocery bill, at least you can save a few bucks for your efforts.
Commercial farmers need a high yield per square foot of land. Containers can not offer much room for plenty of sweet potato roots as compared to the outdoor garden areas. Therefore container gardening especially growing sweet potatoes in containers is not commercially beneficial. You can grow them for your family or maybe some friends and neighbors but it will never be enough for selling.
Basic Requirements of a Sweet Potato Vine
- Plant Type: Sweet potato is a perennial tropical vine. Commercially it is grown as Annual root vegetables.
- Plant height: These vines can grow longer than 10 feet in any direction. Sometimes maintaining these messy vines become harder due to their length.
- Growth Location: Sweet Potato is comfortable to grow anywhere in USDA hardiness zones 5 through 9. They can practically grow anywhere, especially in containers.
- Soil requirements: Sweet potato is a root vegetable. So you have to grow these vines in good quality soft, light, and well-drained soil. The vines would grow better in slightly acidic soil.
- Sunlight: Direct bright sunlight fr 6 to 8 hours is preferable for Sweet potato vines. They can grow easily in part shades although it may take longer for the roots to develop in shady areas.
- Temperature: Sweet Potato vines prefer temperatures above 50 degrees Fahrenheit. They can tolerate high temperature up to 85 degrees although never let the temperature exceeds 75 degrees. High temperatures can cause dehydration to the vines in the container.
- Propagation: Sweet potatoes can propagate through roots and stem cuttings.
- Uses: It is a root vegetable so you can grow it for homegrown food or just for decore as an ornamental plant.
- Buy Sweet potatoes for Planting in your garden.
Soil Preparation for Sweet Potatoes
- Mix Clean garden Soil with Half part Compost and Cocopeat.
- You can also use Commercial potting soil mixed with compost and sand.
- If the soil is loamy or clay then add sand to increase permeability. It will improve the drainage and prevent root rot.
- Lastly, add a spoon full of fungicide to each container, and it’s ready for the plants.
Containers for Sweet potato vine
Sweet potato vines usually prefer open large soil cover. The root nodes need to touch the soil. These vines cannot develop tuber or potatoes Without proper covering. That’s why commercial farmers grow Sweet vines in 10 x 10 feet areas where the vines can get sufficient room to grow and develop roots.
As container gardeners, you can choose a big 10 or 12-inch container to grow sweet potatoes. You can use a smaller pot for these vines but not for their edible roots. They can fit any container, especially for ornamental purposes. Although you must have to use at least a 10-inch deep container for harvesting quality sweet potato roots. Even with that much space, you will only harvest a couple of quality big-size sweet potatoes per container.
Therefore always use wide or broad containers with sufficient depth to grow sweet potatoes. I prefer a 15-inch planter or 5-10 gallon bucket to grow Sweet potato vines. They are easy to handle and have more room for multiple potatoes. Last season one of those 15-inch containers produces 7 sweet potatoes all of those were bigger than 6 inches.
When to Start Sweet potato vine in Container?
We can start sweet potatoes in containers any time of the year. Although it is better to start early in the spring season. Sweet potatoes need a long season to grow and be ready for the harvest. It will require a minimum of 4 months for the plant to develop a good big size edible root. It won’t be beneficial to harvest the sweet potato root before that. Therefore if you start late in summer then probably you may have to wait for next spring for the harvest.
March to Late April and September till the first Week of Nover is the ideal time to plant Sweet potatoes in a container. You can choose the time according to your local climate. Keep in mind these vines don’t prefer temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Grow Sweet Potato in a 5 Gallon Bucket?
Sweet potato is usually grown from the tubers. Roots can develop buds in a warm moist environment. These buds can grow into branches and roots within the next few weeks. You can simply cut out these buds to grow individual sweet potato plants. Stems with aerial root nodes are Another way to propagate sweet potatoes.
It is not common to plant sweet potatoes from vine cutting yet it is very effective. You just have to choose a healthy stem with at least 2 or 3 root nodes. Next, every step is the same just follow along with care.
- Fill the container with soil mix. You can use a commercial mix or simple garden soil with compost.
- Leave some space at the top for watering and fertilizers.
- Place the sweet potato vine cutting or the pre-germinated bud in the center and cover it properly.
- Water properly and keep the container in part shade for 5 to 8 days. Later you can move them to full sun.
- Keep the soil moist until new shoots and branches grow in the Sweet potato. Never overwater the plants or they may die due to root rot.
- Feed the vines with an all-purpose fertilizer once in 25 days. Old Aged compost or manure will also work great for the growth of the sweet potato vine. It will slowly release nitrogen and phosphorus into the soil and feed the vines easily for 2 to 3 months. If you use a commercial soil mix then simple compost is sufficient for sweet potato vines.
- At last, keep the vines clean and free from pests especially if you want a quality harvest from each container.
Precaution and Care for Sweet Potato vines in Container
Growing Sweet potatoes in containers can sometimes become challenging. You may face pest attack or fungal growth. It is nasty yet perfectly curable if you care for the vines in time. Just care for the sweet potato vine with the following tips.
- Prune the vines to keep them in control. Overgrown vines are of no use in containers as there is not enough room for aerial roots to form tubers. So cut them off and keep the vine well-groomed.
- Avoid using dirty tools for pruning or deadheading they can spread diseases. Treat the tools with rubbing alcohol or any liquid disinfectant. It is necessary to avoid disease spread from one plant to another.
- Controlled Watering is also very essential for Sweet potato vines. Too much water can make the soil soggy and it can cause root rot diseases. Whereas underwatering may damage the tubers resulting in deformed sweet potatoes.
- Remove any weed or grass during the initial growth days of the sweet potato vine. Once it grows bigger it will keep other invaders in control. Also, keep the soil around the plant base clean, especially in containers. It will help us with watering and fertilizing the plant occasionally.
- Plants in containers need proper feeding so use compost and NPK fertilizers at least once in a month.
- The final step is to harvest sweet potatoes in time. You must harvest the roots before the plant dies back completely. It should be ready by 100-135 days and after that, the plant will start blooming and eventually die. The tubers also become fibrous with time so it is better to harvest them fresh.