Sweet Potato, Vardaman
Compact type. Deep orange flesh and gold skin. The best sweet potato in our taste test.
Days To Maturity
After Last Frost
Plant Shipping Information
Items 65310, 65318 cannot ship to: AA, AE, AK, AP, AS, CN, FM, GU, HI, MH, MP, PR, PW, VI See all Burpee plant shipping restrictions for your state
How to Plant
- Plant sweet potatoes as soon as you receive the bare roots, or “slips”, in spring, after all danger of frost has passed.
- Do not be concerned if the plants look limp and the green tops do not look robust. If the roots are white and firm the plants are healthy and ready for planting. You can put them in a glass of water to help the roots absorb water and the greens should perk up.
- Choose a sunny location with a loose, easily worked, well-drained soil. Sweet potatoes prefer a soil pH of 5.5 to 6.5. The ideal time to plant is late in the afternoon after the hottest part of the day, on a day that is not windy.
- Plant sweet potatoes in ridges 8-12 inches high and 3 feet apart. Set the plants 10-18 inches apart.
- When setting the plants in the ground do not cover the stem. Cover the roots and firm the soil. Water lightly.
- If there is danger of frost cover the rows with row covers.
- In areas with shorter seasons use black plastic mulches to warm the soil earlier in the season. If you use this method you may need to water more during periods of high heat during the growing season.
How to Grow
- Cultivate around the plants to prevent weeds, and to prevent side roots from developing. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients. Cultivate carefully so as not to bruise or cut the young tubers forming just below the soil. Once plants get started their growth will tend to smother our many weeds and grasses.
- Provide sweet potato plants with about ¾ inches of water weekly when they are young, and water them more as the plants mature. Do not water during the 2 weeks before harvest.
- Many gardeners prefer not to fertilize because they feel not fertilizing improves the flavor, while others feel that fertilizing increases yields. If you choose to fertilize, side dress with a balanced fertilizer about six weeks after planting. Do not use excessive nitrogen.
- Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.
Harvesting and Preserving Tips
- Harvest small roots, or “baby bakers” anytime as desired, or harvest full-sized roots in the fall. Simply examine an average hill and dig the potatoes when they approach the desired size. Dig any remaining roots before frost.
- When digging sweet potatoes be careful not to bruise them. Use a shovel or large pronged fork. With a loose row, pull the soil away with your hands.
- After digging up your sweet potatoes, cure them in a warm, well ventilated location out of the sun for 8-10 days. This will help heal cuts and bruises and toughen the skin for winter storage.
- Store sweet potatoes at 55°F at high humidity. Sweet potatoes can store for several months after being properly cured.
- Eat sweet potatoes baked, mashed, candied, caramelized, deep-fried, stuffed or boiled.
Days To Maturity100 daysSunFull SunSpread3-4 feetHeight6-10 inchesSow MethodDirect SowPlanting TimeSpringSow TimeAfter Last FrostThin12 inchesLife CycleAnnual
Sweet Potato, Vardaman is rated out of 5 by 5.Rated 5 out of 5 by Bluebird16 from Pleased with Vardaman We grew this variety last season and were very pleased with the sweet potatoes. The vines were healthy all season and we harvested a large amount of sweet potatoes. Some of them were very large but all were flavorful. They stored well in our shed and we just ate the last of them in a sweet potato pie. We are planning to reorder for the upcoming season. I highly recommend Vardaman!Date published: 2016-01-07Rated 5 out of 5 by AdoreStepanie from Thriving in the heat This sweet potato is one of the most beautiful plants in my garden and it is the middle of summer in South Florida!Date published: 2015-07-13Rated 4 out of 5 by OCDGardener from Easy grower, beautiful foliage I grew Vardaman with Bush Porto Rico. They are both compact varieties, and I couldn't determine which one was best. Both varieties tasted great, but Bush Porto Rico had the more unique taste. It was almost like a pumpkin. Vardaman had a better texture. It also has a nice foliage color, and the tubers grew closer together where the stem attached to the ground. This made harvesting easy. Bush Porto Rico had tubers all over the place, and I had to hunt for them. I've giving Vardaman four stars because it had more cracks in the tuber than Bush Porto Rico. I'm also a new sweet potato grower and I have nothing else to compare it with! The slips look like they are dying when you get them, but they bounce back pretty easily.Date published: 2015-02-04Rated 5 out of 5 by hessianguy1 from Strong, Vigorous, and Beautiful Vardaman is the best all around sweet potato in my opinion. The vines and leaves are stronger and tougher than other varieties, and the larger than average leaves take on a beautiful purplish color. The vines are somewhat shorter, taking up slightly less space than other varieties, but not as compact as Georgia Jet. This variety is super easy to grow in sandy soil and when mulched with old newspapers with straw on top, requires literally no work all summer. The potatoes themselves are of highest quality, second only to Evangeline (A variety discontinued by Burpee) in my opinion. The plants are so beautiful that I often grow this variety in my front yard as an ornamental, but also with a tasty harvest as a bonus in late September.Date published: 2013-08-14Rated 4 out of 5 by Anonymous from Great First Try I'm a fairly new gardener, and this was my first attempt at sweet potatoes. The plants were beautiful and easy to take care of, and the harvest was exciting (since we didn't know what to expect)! We ended up with a wheelbarrow over half full of potatoes from 12 plants. Next year we will try watering them less to decrease the splitting and the few long, skinny ones, and also harvest some of them a little earlier so they're not as big. They're very tasty too, and seem to be keeping well.Date published: 2009-01-08