When To Plant Sweet Potatoes In Texas

Texans love their sweet potatoes, but knowing the best time to plant them can be tricky considering the wide range of climates across the state. From the humid Gulf Coast to the high plains, selecting the optimum season is key to a bountiful harvest.

This guide will outline the ideal planting window and provide a step-by-step process along with essential care tips to ensure your sweet potatoes thrive no matter where you call home in Texas.

What is the Best Time to Plant Sweet Potatoes in Texas?

Generally speaking, the best time to put sweet potatoes in the ground is in late April or early May after the last expected frost date. However, frost dates vary depending on your region.

  1. Central and North Texas: Late April to mid-May
  2. Gulf Coast: Mid-April
  3. South Texas: Late March to mid-April
  4. West Texas: Mid-April to early May

You’ll want to check your local extension office or a frost date chart to determine the last anticipated freeze for your area. Planting too early runs the risk of tender slips getting damaged before they have a chance to establish. It’s always safer to wait until daytime temperatures are reliably in the 60s.

Step-by-Step Guide to Planting Sweet Potatoes in Texas:

Prepare the soil:

Sweet potatoes like rich, loose, well-draining soil. Incorporate 2-3 inches of organic matter like compost to improve texture.

Select slips:

Purchase certified disease-free slips from your local nursery. Cut them leaving 4-6 inches above the roots.

Plant slips horizontally:

Dig shallow trenches about 1 foot apart and 18 inches deep. Lay slips cut-side down along the trenches with buds facing up and roots hanging over the edge. Cover with 1-2 inches of soil.

Fill trenches:

As vines grow, gradually fill in the trenches until level with the surrounding soil to prevent greening. Space plants 1-2 feet apart in rows 5 feet apart.


Apply 2-4 inches of straw, leaves or grass clippings to retain moisture and control weeds.


Keep soil consistently moist but not soaked during establishment. Use drip irrigation if possible.


Once vines begin to run, fertilize monthly with a balanced organic fertilizer until harvest. Too much nitrogen can reduce tuber size.

Monitor vines:

Train vines to grow vertically up stakes or fences for best air circulation and tuber development. Inspect regularly for pests and diseases.


Wait until after the first frost to dig up tubers, usually late October/November in Texas. Cure for 10 days in the sun before storing.

Caring for Your Sweet Potato Crop:

Weed regularly, as competition from weeds can stunt growth. Mulch helps but will need occasional attention.

  • Water deeply 1-2 times per week unless rainfall is sufficient. Drought stress negatively impacts yields.
  • Slugs and snails can chew on tender vines. Use organic controls like diatomaceous earth or bait if needed.
  • Rotate crops annually to disrupt disease and pest cycles in the soil. Don’t plant in the same spot for 3+ years.
  • Consider a trellis for vining varieties. This improves air flow to reduce foliar diseases like leaf spots.
  • Harvest all potatoes before a hard frost to avoid freezing damage below ground. Cure and store properly to last through winter.
  • Important Precautions for Texas Sweet Potato Growers:
  • Only use disease-free certified slips from a nursery to avoid introducing pathogens.
  • Isolate different varieties to prevent cross-pollination which can degenerate the variety over time.
  • Inspect regularly for pests like leafhoppers, potato beetles and nematodes which can stunt growth.
  • Provide adequate ventilation between plants and use drip irrigation to reduce foliar diseases in humid areas.
  • Rotate annual crops and allow 3+ years between sweet potato plantings to disrupt pest and disease cycles in the soil.



How deep should I plant sweet potatoes in Texas?

Answer: Sweet potatoes should be planted about 3-4 inches deep in Texas.

How much space should I leave between sweet potato plants?

Answer: Generally, you should leave 12-18 inches between each sweet potato plant in Texas.


With the right location, preparation and care, Lone Star gardeners can enjoy a bountiful harvest of tasty homegrown sweet potatoes. By following these timing and planting guidelines, your patch is sure to thrive no matter the climate zone in the great state of Texas. Happy growing!


Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *