UBE Purple Yam Starter Plant, Dioscorea Alata
Also Known as ,Dioscorea Alata ,Purple yam, Edible Purple Yam, Filipino Purple Yam, Jamaican Moonshine Yam, Indian Ratalu.
Dioscorea alata, known as purple yam and many other names, is a species of yam, a tuberous root vegetable. The tubers are usually bright lavender in color, hence the common name
What is Ube Yam
With its heart-shaped leaves and vigorous growth habit, purple yam (Dioscorea alata) will appeal if you need a fast-growing, vining plant to fill in spaces or cover unsightly structures in your landscape. It is a tender perennial and will thrive with little care or attention in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 6 to 10, although you must give it light shade and plenty of water during the summer in hotter areas. Harvest and replant purple yam tubers each year to prevent the plants taking over the garden.
Dioscorea alata is a naturally occurring species of yam from tropical Asia. Yams are perennial vines which are widely cultivated for their starchy tubers—a dietary staple in great swaths of Africa. Dioscorea alata is different from the African yams in that it is principally used as a dessert or a dessert flavoring. The yam, which goes by other names such as “water yam”, “winged yam,” “ratalu”, “purple yam” or, perhaps most characteristically as “ube” (in the Phillipines, where it is highly esteemed) is also different from virtually every other food stuff in that it is a shocking shade of bright lavender.
How to Grow a Purple Yam
Install a sturdy, 8- to 10-foot-tall trellis along the edge of the bed to accommodate the purple yam vines. Or, create the bed along the edge of an existing structure such as a fence or shed. Using a shorter trellis is fine as long as you prune the vines regularly in summer.
Lean the tips of the vines against the base of the trellis to help guide their growth. Side-dress around each purple yam vine with a 2-inch-thick layer of compost once they are tall enough to reach the trellis.
Water purple yam vines deeply once a week. Run a garden hose at the base of each vine until the soil feels moist at a depth of 3 inches. Increase water to twice weekly during periods of extended drought, which will keep the tubers from dehydrating and splitting open.
Prune back the tips of purple yam vines if they outgrow the trellis. Snip off the excess growth with pruning shears and discard it. Make the cut just above a set of leaves to encourage side growth, which will give the plant a fuller appearance.
Pluck off and discard the brown, half-moon shaped bulbils that appear along the vines during the summer to keep the plant from self-propagating. Pull off the bulbils by hand and burn them or throw them in the trash. Do not throw put them into green waste cans or compost bins because they will take root.
Harvest the tubers for eating or replanting in late summer, once the vine has stopped growing. Dig up the tubers. Reserve some for eating and replant the others 2 feet apart and 2 inches deep in the same bed. Amend the soil with a 4-inch layer of compost before replanting the purple yam tubers.
Plant a sprouted tuber slip in a large container set in front of a sturdy trellis or other support structure. If desired, set additional containers at 10-foot intervals along the support structure for additional yam harvests. Water the yams at least once a week -- and check soil moisture between watering sessions.
I planted the starters in buckets with a mix of mushroom compost and Happy Frog Soil Conditioner a week and 2 days ago. I planted somewhat sideways so I could see the growth. I have one that is shooting for the sun. The other 4 are showing signs of growth and I am very happy with the outcome!! I would definitely buy more!
Order a month ago and still not see anything arrives yet! My growing season is so short so mu guess is by tge time i get them, they'll either rot or season is over...!
I am wondering if it’s the purple one. I am hoping that I can grow it here in the Central Valley California. If it will be successful I am sure will order more from you. Thank you
Unfortunately, the shipment has yet to arrive.
I ordered the Ube starter plants. What was shipped was not plants as in the photo. What I got was slices of the tuber (what people call minisett) with barely any roots showing (1/16" long roots more like). I got no instructions as to what to expect. I have planted and watered them and saw nothing coming up. I have sent an email and got no answers. All I got were advertisement emails. I think this is false advertising when I didn't get the plants but minisetts.
I wish someone would contact me and explain what I should do or refund me. It does not seem like I have any recourse. I am quite disappointed.