New Zealand - sub-tropical zone

Growing Sweet Potato/Kumara

(Ipomoea batatas)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
                P P P  

(Best months for planting Sweet Potato/Kumara in New Zealand - sub-tropical regions)


  • Harvest in 105-120 days
  • Shoots or cuttings (Slips). Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed.
  • Best planted at soil temperatures between 17°C and 35°C.
  • Space plants: 40-60cm

Frost tender Sweet Potatoes require a long warm growing season. Plant in free draining loose soil . Fertilise before planting but no more when the plants are growing as it will encourage vine growth. They will go for miles and you’ll get no tubers. If they do start spreading, lift the vines off the ground to prevent them rooting.

Mound up the soil about 20cm (8 in) before planting Let the plants die down, (leaves die or turn yellow) before harvesting the tubers. Dry them in the sun for a few days . then store in a cool dry place for up to five months.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sweet Potato/Kumara

Use mashed, boiled, roasted, baked or fried. Or use in soups, pies, casseroles, curries and salads.

Your comments and tips

13 Sep 13 dan harland (New Zealand - temperate climate)
will kumera grow in mosgiel south island where can I get seed plants thanks
17 Sep 13 natasha (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
i would love to grow beauregard kumara but cannot due to our area being constantely flooded
21 Sep 13 David (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Christchurch is the extreme southern rang for kumara, even then they can be very weather dependent.
25 Sep 13 Jennifer (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have grown kumara in Dunedin with no special treatment. Just did it as an experiment using the sprouted peelings of a kumara. Needless to say this didnt give the greatest chance of success and the plants were small and with low crop yields. If I had more space I would give it a proper go. So go ahead Dan and try it. Maori had all kinds of techniques for raising the temperature eg stones.
13 Nov 13 Jackson Smith (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there im just a learner but i want to grow kumara now is it to late for me to put them in the ground?
02 Jan 14 GEORGE (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I've recently(Dec 2013 ) planted kumara shoots in greenhouse located at MOSGIEL as experiment.,look forward to see what happens
05 Jan 14 (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, I was given some slips a week ago and I'm unclear, do I hump them and build up the soil like growing potatoes? Thanks
12 Jan 14 kendyl (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I have started growing sweet potato slips from a cutting of sweet potato. I will see if any potatoes grow from the cutting as well as plant the slips and see the difference in growth. Check out my video for more info on how to grow your slips.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jAn9jpAkTlw
26 Mar 14 growgoodnz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Kumara - I am growing kumara in a hot house in Wellington. Can anyone tell me if i should pinch off the growing tips? They are up to a metre long.
06 Apr 14 steve (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Just harvested my first kumara in my port hills garden. it is a good size and look forward to trying it tomorrow for tea. next year I will try again and give them more care, they didn't get enough water but still seemed OK.

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New Zealand - sub-tropical  

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