Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas)

The motivation for planting sweet potatoes is to avoid the destructive behavior of the Colorado potato beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata). In the winter and early spring attempts were made to start sweet potato plants from sweet potatos that were bought in the supermarket. The attempt was of limited success and only a few slips made it to the field. Those that were not attacked by inhabitants of the field did not root and perished.

After being severed from its roots one sweet potato plant was able to be saved and cuttings were made out of the vine. It is hoped that the cutting can be rooted and used as a source for new plants in the 2023 season. Up until the point of it being damaged the sweet potato plant was doing well in the field.

Fig. 2 Cutting of Sweet Potato vine in water.

During the period of initial root formation the cuttings of the sweet potato vine will be kept on a window sill that will not receive direct sunlight.

27.07.2022 After three day in water on the window sill the beginnings of root formation was noticed. Three examples of the 7 cuttings are shown below in Fig. 3.

The appearance of roots so quickly is an unexpected surprise. This result also suggests that it would be much easier to propogate cuttings from a mother plant that has been grown over the winter months.


Six of the seven cuttings have survived. The two smaller cuttings in the glass on the right in Fig. 2 have shown more robust root development than those of the glass on the left.

Fig 4. Sweet potato cuttings from the glass on the right in Fig. 2 after seventeen days in water.

A common element that the four cuttings in Fig. 5 have is that there is more older growth (longer stems) than the two cutting in Fig.4. Also, there was an odor noticed a few days after the cuttings were placed in the water and the water became cloudy much faster than the smaller glass.

When the cuttings were examined more closely after seventeen days. It was seen that the bark had softened and was falling away from the stem when lightly disturbed. The decomposition of the bark could have been the source for the odor that was observed. The segments of the stems that were showing decomposition of the bark were removed from the cuttings.


Fig. 6 Cuttings A1 and A2 were placed in a mixture of garden soil and potting soil

The two cuttings with advanced root development (call them A1 and A2) were placed in a mixture of garden soil and potting soil. The garden soil carries indigenous microbes and fungi are from environment they will be placed in.


After seven days it can be seen that the 3 cuttings whose stems were shortened due to partial decomposition began to show robust root growth. Two of these cuttings are ready for planting in soil, name them B1 and B2. The third cutting will be further divided into smaller cuttings. It can be designated C and the cuttings from it C1-4.

Fig. 10 Cutting C divided into 4 smaller cuttings


All but the middle segment in the C-group of the cuttings have put forth roots. The cutting that did not continue to grow in the C group was the cuttings taken second from the bottom from the main stem shown in Fig. 10

It can be seen that the bottom segment in the C-Series had the least root development. However the new growth that did develop from this section became a cutting on its own, C3.


The cuttings A1 and A2 that were placed in soil on 13.08.2022 have developed nicely. During their approximately 3 weeks time in the soil they were on a balcony that recieved the late afternoon sun.