Yacon plant grow and care – rhizome of the genus Smallanthus also known as Peruvian ground apple or Jicama, Yacon perennial is evergreen and in cooler places deciduous plant, used for the edible rhizomes or leaves but also can be ornamental plant for the flowers and can us as cut-flowers, can grow in tropics, mediterranean, subtropics or temperate climate and growing in hardiness zone 8+ and with the right overwinter care in hardiness growing zone 7, possible to grow it as annual and keep the rhizomes indoor overwinter in hardiness zone 4-7 but need to have at least 5 to 6 months of growing.
Leaves edible arrowhead-shaped, when young it a little purplish after maturity become greenish.
Flower color yellow the flowers look like look like daisies.
Yacon plant rhizome
Rhizome edible bark brown color in the inside is white, the weight of rhizome 0.2-2 Kg, taste is sweet, to make the taste sweeter should put it in the sun for two weeks after, when the rhizome is in hibernation, the rhizome sensitive to moist soil, cause to rot or the rhizome, good to store it in the in dry dark cold place.
How to grow Yacon plant – growing condition and care:
Frost free, in 3C can die, well drain soil, to put the rhizome at least 3 cm underground
What is the best way to start growing? Plant / Rhizome/ Vegetative Reproduction / Seeds (explanation bellow)
Is it necessary to use vegetative reproduction? Yes, very hard to find seeds
Difficulties or problems when growing: Sensitive to cold, flooded
Planting season: Spring growing zone , summer, autumn
How to plant: Dig a hole as deep as the rhizome and extra 200-400%, put in the hole organic matter, hummus and dried leaves and mix it with some soil, cover the rhizome and don’t push the soil too much strong but not too much lightly because it won’t be stable when it will start to grow, after this put mulch to keep moist on soil, put water for the next two weeks put every day (better in the morning).
Pests and diseases: Slugs, aphids
Pruning season: Beginning of the winter
How to prune: Prune all the dry leaves and stems
Size of the plant? 1-2m, 40-80 inches
Growth speed in optimal condition: Fast growing
Water requirement: Average amount of water
Light conditions in optimal condition for growing: Half Shade
Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant? Yes, but won’t bloom and will have significantly smaller rhizome
Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers: Yes, when grow in container, size 10-30 liter (2.5-8 gallon) depend the cultivar, average amount of water that needed, it’s to keep the soil moist and the water go out of the pot, better not to use bottom for the pot, when it’s grow as perennial every two years to switch soil, and prune part of the roots and the plants, soil need to be well ventilated with good drainage, rich with organic matter, can us in potting mix or peat soil with perlite or vermiculite.
Bloom season: Summer
General information about the flower Yellow flower with narrow petals
Thinning the bloom: Should thinning the flowers better for the growth of the plant
Vegetative Reproduction Method: Rhizomes
Preferred time for vegetative reproduction: Take it in autumn / Winter, but put it in the ground in the spring
Time to grow roots in vegetative reproduction: Few days
Treatment for vegetative reproduction: Regular like the plant
Leaves harvesting season Spring / Summer
How to harvest the leaves? Trim the leaves from the end of the leave don’t take much leaves its effect the growth of the rhizome
Information about leaves: Arrowhead-shaped leaves when young it a little purplish after maturity become greenish
Uses of Yacoon leaves: Beverage, cooked
Information about the rhizome: rhizomes reddish brown, when they are young are reddish and then they turn brown, the red bulbs can be harvested but more sensitive. Possible to use also brown roots, the size of the rhizomes usually 100-300 gram but can be 2 kg
When to pull up rhizome: Summer / Autumn
Uses of Yacon rhizome: Cooked, baked
How to grow Yacon plant from seeds
Sowing requirement: Seeds are rare and it’s hard to find be aware that a lot of seeds are fake
Saving seeds and care until sowing: Dry and dark location in room temperature
Sowing season: Spring to summer
Planting spacing: Better in different pots, but possible 30*40cm (12*16 inches)
Depth of Sowing: 1-2cm, (0.5-1 inch)
Conditions for seeds germinate: Moist soil, high humidity above 26C (78F), rich soil, sunny location
Watering requires for Seeds: Average amount of water / Big amount of water, don’t let the soil dry
Germination time: 4-10 weeks
Condition of seedling: Seedling are senetive to winds so protect, moist soil and high humidity