Sweet Potato ‘Treasure Island™ Makatea’ (Ipomoea batatas)

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Plant Details

Category: Vegetable
Light: Full Sun
Bloom Season:
Height: 6-13” / 
15-35cm
Space: 2-3' / 
0.6-0.9m
Zones: 10, 11, 12
Lowest Temp: 30° to 40°F / 
-1° to 4°C
Colors: Grown for foliage, Grown for Roots

Basic Care

Water and feed plants regularly through the season. In summer, don’t harvest more than a third of the foliage at one time. Harvest potatoes in fall after the leaves turn yellow and wither. Carefully dig up the plant and remove the tubers.

Do not wash potatoes before storing simply brush off dirt. To increase sweetness, cure potatoes by placing in a warm location (80-85° F, 27-29° C) with high humidity (85-90%) for 6 to 10 days before storing. Store in a cool, dark, dry location for up to 2-3 weeks or in the fridge for 1 month. Wash sweet potatoes before use.

Water

Water when top 1-2” (3-5cm) of soil is dry. Water daily in hot weather.

Soil

Needs well-draining mix of sand and compost. Containers must have drainage hole.

Feed

Apply a granulated slow release feed in spring or apply a liquid feed spring through summer, according to package directions.

cascading plants

Cascading

Culinary

Containers

Features

Vibrant yellow-green, heart-shaped foliage lights up the landscape and the edible leaves can be picked to add bright color and flavor to salads. At the end of the season, dig up the roots to harvest five or more sweet potatoes, of varying sizes, from each plant. Treasure Island™ Makatea produces beautiful orange-skinned sweet potatoes with exceptionally sweet white flesh. An excellent source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!

Uses

Edible foliage adds color and flavor to a salad or sandwich. A good substitute for spinach; fresh or cooked. Prepare tubers by cooking or eat raw by blending into a smoothie, juicing, or grating into a salad or slaw. Perfectly sized for growing in a window box or potted in containers for decks, balconies and small space gardens. A decorative companion plant for sun-loving flowers, herbs, and vegetables.

Sweet Potato ‘Treasure Island™ Makatea’ (Ipomoea batatas) Care Guide

Start with a good quality, commercial compost, soil and sand. Mix can be up to half compost, one quarter soil and one quarter sand.

If planting in a pot with other flowers or vegetables, position the plant where its trailing foliage can cascade over the side of the container.

Herbs are ideal for containers. Pots can be brought indoors for the winter and placed near a sunny window for a continuous harvest year-round.

Prepare the garden by breaking up the existing soil (use a hoe, spade, or power tiller) to a depth of 12-16” (30-40cm). Add organic matter such as manure, peat moss or garden compost until the soil is loose and easy to work. Organic ingredients improve drainage, add nutrients, and encourage earthworms and other organisms that help keep soil healthy.

Check the plant label for suggested spacing and the mature height of the plant. Position plants so that taller plants are in the center or background of the landscape design and shorter plants in the foreground. To remove the plant from the container, gently brace the base of the plant, tip it sideways and tap the outside of the pot to loosen. Rotate the container and continue to tap, loosening the soil until the plant pulls smoothly from the pot.

Dig the hole up to two times larger than the root ball and deep enough that the plant will be at the same level in the ground as the soil level in the container. Grasping the plant at the top of the root ball, use your finger to lightly rake apart the lower roots apart. This is especially important if the roots are dense and have filled up the container. Set the plant in the hole.

Push the soil gently around the roots filling in empty space around the root ball. Firm the soil down around the plant by hand, tamping with the flat side of a small trowel, or even by pressing down on the soil by foot. The soil covering the planting hole should be even with the surrounding soil, or up to one inch higher than the top of the root ball. New plantings should be watered daily for a couple of weeks to get them well established.

Finish up with a 2” (5cm) layer of mulch such as shredded bark or compost to make the garden look tidy, reduce weeds, and retain soil moisture.

Consistent moisture is the key to growing a great crop of potatoes. In the ground potatoes do best with 1-2” (3-5cm) of water per week. In the confines of a container the soil may dry out more quickly depending on the weather so it is important to actually check the soil moisture.

Check the soil with your finger or gently lift some soil with a small trowel to observe how moist it is. If the top 2-4” (5-10cm) of soil is dry, or plants are starting to wilt, it is time to water. Keep in mind that the potatoes are growing underground and will not do well in soggy wet soil. Even if the plant foliage looks okay, if the soil is noticeably waterlogged this could cause problems with the development of the potatoes. Take care not to overwater.

The edible foliage can be harvested throughout the growing season. Cut or pinch off leaves by the leaf stem, just above where the leaf joins the main stem. Don’t harvest more than two-thirds of the foliage at one time so that plenty of foliage remains to support the growth of the plant and the tubers.

Harvest in fall when the leaves turn yellow and wither. Carefully dig up the plant and remove the tubers. Do not wash potatoes before storing; brush off dirt. To increase sweetness, cure potatoes by placing in a warm location (80-85° F, 27-29° C) with high humidity (85-90%) for 6 to 10 days before storing. Store in a cool, dark, dry location for up to 2-3 weeks or in the fridge for 1 month. Wash sweet potatoes before use.

Dead branches should be removed close to the trunk, flush with the bark. When pruning to control a plant’s size or shape, cuts should be made just above a leaf bud and at a slight angle. This bud will be where the new growth sprouts.

Many shrubs can be regularly sheared to keep them shaped as a hedge, edging or formal foundation planting.

Always use sharp, clean tools when pruning. There are many tools available depending on the job. Hand shears, pruners, and loppers are ideal for most shrubs. Pole pruners and tree saws are better for large, mature shrubs or trees. If a tree is so large that it can’t be safely pruned with a pole pruner, it is best to call in a professional tree service.

Apply a granulated slow release feed in spring or apply a liquid feed spring through summer. End fertilization approximately two weeks before harvest. Choose a fertilizer that is high in phosphorus and potassium and lowest in nitrogen. This nutritional balance will encourage the best root (sweet potato) development. A granulated 5-10-10 fertilizer or liquid equivalent should do the job. Be sure to read package directions for any special precautions and information on the best method of application.

Too much fertilizer can damage plants so it’s important to follow the package directions to determine how much, and how often, to feed plants.

Slow-release fertilizers are an especially good, care-free choice for container plants. A single application can often provide plants with the proper level of nutrition all season long.

A general-purpose fertilizer for house plants can be used for feeding cacti or succulents but it must be diluted to one quarter the strength of the normal rate.

Companion/Combination Plants

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