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Growing Sweet Potatoes in a Grow Bag

potato grow bagCan Sweet Potatoes be grown in “potato grow bags” and if so, how many per bag? Thanks, Arlene

Answer: Well, there isn’t a short answer to this question. Here’s why:

Potatoes and sweet potatoes are not related and therefore grow differently. The regular potato is related to the tomato family and the sweet potato is related to the morning glory vine. Sweet potatoes grow as a tuberous root usually more along the surface of the soil, whereas a regular potato is a true tuber and tends to grow up the stem of the plant, which is why you hill the regular potato as it grows up, adding soil to the bags as the plant part grows upward. The sweet potato slips are planted about 12-18 inches apart and about 8 inches deep. There is no reason the bags could not be used just like growing them in a container; the secret here is to make sure you are using a good quality growing medium that is well-drained, making sure all excess water is directed away from the bag.

Another big difference between growing sweet potatoes and regular potatoes is heat.  Sweet potatoes like it hot, just like their cousins the annual morning glories and sweet potato vines. If you get evenings where the nights are going to get down into the low 40s, you might want to find a way to protect the plant and pot from the cool temps by constructing some sort of wind barrier around them.

Potato bags were designed to facilitate the “hilling” process required to grow potatoes, but that doesn’t mean you could not use them to grow sweet potatoes. Keep the well-draining soil deep enough to plant your slips with adequate room for development, and allow for the same spacing as you would in the ground: 12-18″ apart and 3 to 4 feet between rows.

Good luck with sweet potatoes. They are a wonderful addition to the vegetable garden and a nutritious addition to your meals. Karen

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