Growing sweet potatoes
Can I grow a purple sweet potato (from Hawaii or Guam) the same way I grow the sweet potato we normally grow here in the U.S.? A "slip" is the only way I can grow sweet potatoes? “Regular” potatoes only require a “seed” to plant to obtain the vine that will produce many potatoes; why is this not true with the sweet potato? Why is it so hard to find a provider of purple sweet potatoes here in the U.S.?
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Yes, it grows here just like other sweet potatoes. The reason it is hard to find is simply a supply and demand issue. There is not a lot of demand (because it is relatively unknown in the U.S.), so many large companies do not carry it. Look for specialty sellers who specialize in Asian vegetables or even look on eBay (I have great luck finding unusual and hard to find seeds and plants on eBay).
I found this company that sells purple sweet potato slips: http://www.sandhillpreservation.com/catalog/sweet_potatoes.html
I believe that the reason they must be started from slips is because the tubers (i.e. the sweet potato) do not produce roots and shoots the way white potatoes can.