How To Grow Sweet Potato Slips – The Fastest Method

Learn how to start and grow your own sweet potato slips from home grown or grocery store sweet potatoes.

My favorite method for making sweet potato slips is in soil. It’s an easy and almost hands off way to propagate dozens of slips!

sweet potato slips forming on the end of a sweet potato in soil

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what are sweet potato slips?

Sweet potatoes are grown from plant starts called “slips”. These are shoots that are sprouted from a mature sweet potato.

Each slip that is planted will produce several pounds of new sweet potatoes. So by starting your own slips, you can turn one sweet potato into around 100 pounds of sweet potatoes!

I grew 450 pounds of sweet potatoes last year in a 20 x 10 foot garden space. That was enough to feed our large family and several of our relatives all year long!

sweet potato slips or starts with roots forming with an aluminm pan behind it that has sweet potatoes in soil with slips forming on them

how To make sweet potato slips:

There are two methods of making sweet potato slips: the soil method and the water method.

I’m going to be showing you the soil method because I find it’s much quicker and takes up less space if you’re wanting to grow a lot of slips, like I am.

Here’s a great tutorial on how to start slips in water if you want to go that route!

sweet potato slips forming on the end of a sweet potato in soil


  • Sweet Potatoes – Choose organically grown sweet potatoes that are a good size, healthy and firm.
  • Soil – You can use either seed starting mix or potting soil.
  • An Aluminum Pan – The size of the pan will depend on how many sweet potatoes you want to propagate.
  • An Old Cookie Sheet – Or a new one. The cookie sheet goes under the aluminum pan to catch excess water.
  • Heating Mat – Using a seedling heating mat is optional but it will really speed up the process!
  • Watering Can – To keep the soil moist.
  • Vase or Jar – After the slips have grown they need to be “rooted” in water until you’re ready to plant them outside.

How to grow sweet potato slips in soil

Prepare the Pan – Start by gathering your supplies. Poke several holes in the bottom of your aluminum pan using a sharp pencil. Place the pan on the cookie sheet.

Add the Soil – Fill the pan halfway with potting mix. Nestle the sweet potatoes in the soil. Add more soil if needed to cover the sweet potatoes halfway with soil.

Moisten the Soil – Using a watering can, moisten the soil until it’s damp, not too wet. Place the pan in the warmest spot in your house, or on a heating mat.

The countertop over my dishwasher gets very warm and acts like a warming mat. I’ve had great luck using the warm counter to start seedling and sweet potato slips!

Over the next several weeks, roots will be forming under the sweet potatoes. If you gently pull a bit on the potato, you will feel that it is holding fast to the soil. Keep the soil moist but not too wet while the slips are forming.

Pinch the Slips – Once the slips have grown to between 6 and 8 inches tall, carefully twist them off of the sweet potato.

sweet potato slips forming on the end of a sweet potato in soil

Root the Slips – Place the slips in a jar of distilled water and place on a sunny window sill. Watch for roots to form.

Plant the Slips – 2 weeks after your last predicted Spring frost, plant slips out in the garden.

FAQ about growing sweet potato slips

how many slips will one sweet potato produce?

One medium sized sweet potato will produce between 10 and 20 slips.

how long does it take to make sweet potato slips?

Using the soil method, that I describe in this post, it takes about 4 weeks for the sweet potato to sprout and grow slips that are the right size for planting out.

It can take up to 8 weeks if your house is too cool. Using a heating mat under the sweet potato will help speed up the process considerably.

sweet potato slips or starts with roots forming

when should you start sweet potato slips?

Start sweet potato slips about 4 weeks before the last frost date for your zone. Here in zone 6a, I start my sweet potato slips in mid April and plant them out at the end of May.

how many sweet potatoes do you get per plant?

Typically you can expect to get 6 good sized sweet potatoes or about 2 pounds per plant.

sweet potato slips or starts with roots forming

This has not been the case in my garden (last year I got 15 pounds of sweet potatoes from one plant) so take those numbers with a grain of salt!

I hope this post gives you the confidence to start growing your own sweet potato slips each year!

Growing sweet potatoes has easily become my favorite thing to grow because they’re so low maintenance and the harvest can be massive!

Pin these steps to try later. Tag @athomeontheprairie on Instagram to share what you’ve made with us!


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