New Zealand - sub-tropical zone

Growing Sweet Potato/Kumara

(Ipomoea batatas)

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

26 Sep 15 Henry Ang (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi I was wondering if purple sweet potatoes are available in New Zealand. If I can get them as seeds or tubers?
02 Oct 15 jenni (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I am having a go in South Canterbury. I sat a kumera in a small preserving jar so only a portion was wet. It grew roots there and lots of shoots at the top. The shoots did not sprout roots until I put the kumera into a larger container so that the water covered the base of their stems. Now there are lots waiting to go in to the hot house.
13 Nov 15 Marg Lloyd (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Yes you can grow Kumera in Canterbury.I got a huge crop while living at Winchmore just west of Ashburton.I planted rooted shoots and they grew well
25 Nov 15 Anna Holmberg (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I grew plants from a store bought kumera last year and planted them and got a good crop , but the kumera had virtually no flavour , and I was wondering if you knew why that might be . Thank you .
28 Nov 15 George Washington-Raleigh (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
When growing kumara from slips, it is not even necessary that they have grown roots before planting them - just keep the soil evenly moist for the first few days after planting, and in that time they will have grown plenty of roots. Commercial growers of kumara up here in Northland use this method always, as it ensures more that diseases are less likely to transmit from parent tuber to the slips, through the slips' roots.
20 Dec 15 Tristan Melling (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Anna Holmberg, if the tubers are eaten straight away, the sugars have not had time to develop. They need to be left a couple of weeks or so before eating for best flavour
02 Jan 16 jenny (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
is it too late to plant kumera north auckland and best planting method and care please
26 Jan 16 Graeme Hawley (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a kumera with shoots.Is it too late to plant out? I live in Levin
01 Feb 16 Clarkee (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
What is the latest you have planted Kumara shoots and been successful? Mine keep sprouting in the cupboard and i'd love to give them a go if there is a chance of success :-)
15 Feb 16 Mj (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
is there a english name for the Kumara? I live in Australia and want to grow our kumara from back home but no one here knows what kumara is except that its a sweet potato. any help will help Ta

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New Zealand - sub-tropical  

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