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Generative & Vegetative Reproduction of Sweet Potato Plants

Sweet potato plant (Ipomoea batatas L.) is a tropical plant that grows well all over Indonesia. In Lampung Province, the farming of various types of sweet potatoes is quite popular and the price is also quite good in the market.

High quality potato seeds usually come from high quality parent plants with good linage. There are two methods to get sweet potato seeds, vegetative and generative.

Pros and Cons of the Generative Way

The pro is that the result isn’t that different from planting sweet potatoes the vegetative way.

The cons are that it takes a long time (4 – 5 months) to get productive shoots and it has high (55%) death rate.

pohon mantang ungu
Sweet Potato Plants. (Image by: Wahid Priyono dalam

Pros and Cons of the Vegetative Way

The pro is that you can get the seeds directly from the parent plant by cutting several segments of the stems to plant onto seedbeds. The result isn’t that different from the generative way, the tubers you’ll get would be quite big.

There hasn’t been any known and blatant con to this method.

Here’s how you get sweet potato sweets with both methods:

  1. Generative

This is not something farmers do when they farm sweet potato on a large scale. It is doable, of course, but it certainly isn’t time efficient.

The way to get the seeds is by letting your sweet potato tuber grows shoots as pictured below.

Shoots usually show up after around 3 months in a sack that isn’t tightly tied. After you see the shoot, you cut it off along with a little part of the tuber.

Then, you put the shoot in a medium polybag pot filled with clay and chicken manure fertilizer with 2 to 1 ratio.

Water your shoot every day (or depending on how humid your soil is) and let it grow in the polybag pot.

After the shoot has grown old enough, then you can move it from polybag pot to open field like a farm or a garden with seedbeds. The row spacing distance is 20 x 20 cm with one seedbed having multiple rows.

After you plant it, do the usual basic caring of a crop: watering (if needed, check the soil), harrowing, weeding, pest and disease control.

Sweet Potato Crops from Vegetative Method
Sweet Potato Crops from Vegetative Method. Photo by: Wahid Priyono
  1. Vegetative

It’s quite simple really. You just basically cut several segments of stems from parent sweet potato plant.

Make sure your seed doesn’t get attacked by pests or diseases. Look for productive parent plant with good linage. Then, you cut several segments of stems from parent sweet potato plant that nears harvest (over 3 months old). Then, tie together several stems then let it be for one week until all leaves fall off (don’t forget to water it once a day to stimulate the growth of young shoots and to avoid withered stems). After all that, you can simply plant it on seedbeds. Then you’ll see new shoots grow and you’re set.

I hope this information is useful for you. Good luck. Read more: Shallot/Onion (Allium ascalonicum) Farmin 101.

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