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close this bookBetter Farming Series 16 - Roots and Tubers (FAO - INADES, 1977, 58 p.)
close this folderSweet potatoes
close this folderHow to grow sweet potatoes
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentPropagation of sweet potatoes
View the documentLooking after the plantation
View the documentYields of sweet potatoes and storing

Propagation of sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are propagated from cuttings or from tubers.

- Propagation from cuttings

Propagation from cuttings is possible only when the sweet potatoes remain in the field all through the year. The cuttings should be 20 to 40 centimetres long, with three to five growth buds. It is best to take them from the tips of young stems. Take the cuttings only when you are ready to plant them, and keep them in the shade until they are inserted in the soil. Propagation from cuttings is the most economic way of increasing your plants.

Plant cuttings at a slant, leaving 3 or 4 centimetres above ground, and press the soil down firmly. If you plant them on mounds, you can put four or five cuttings in a circle on each mound. This will give you a planting density of between 15 000 and 30 000 plants to the hectare.

- Propagation from tubers
If you do not have any plants of sweet potatoes with enough leafy growth to provide cuttings, you can propagate from tubers.

In this case, the tubers must be made to sprout in a cool nursery bed. If the tubers are large, cut them into several pieces. After about a month, remove from the tubers the young shoots that are 15 to 20 centimetres long and plant them.

This method of propagation from tubers is usually done only on a part, say one third, of the area on which sweet potatoes are to be grown. Later, cuttings from the plants thus obtained can be used to enlarge the plantation.