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  • The air potato is one of the most widely consumed yam species. It can grow up to 150 ft tall.[3
  • It is a shade-loving species but grows well in open areas too.

Planting materials

Tubers are used as planting materials 

planting method

  • Land preparation and fertilizer application : The planting beds should be tilled properly and made weed-free, and the soil should be well pulverized. A basal dose of 15–20 tonnes/hectare of FYM (farmyard manure) should be applied to the soil at the time of pre-planting tillage.
  • Planting and optimum spacing : Plant-to-plant spacing of 50 cm × 50  cm is considered optimum for good growth and yield. This spacing gives an optimum crop stand of 40 000 plants per hectare. Plant spacing of 100 cm × 100 cm yields higher number of bulbils per plant; however, the average weight of bulbils as well as their number per unit area are much higher at the spacing of 50 cm × 50 cm.
  • Intercropping system : The plant is preferred as a solo crop, but needs staking support or host of shrubs and trees.
  • Interculture and maintenance practices : Applying organic manure @ 15–20 tonnes/ hectare at the time of planting enhances average weight and yield of bulbils. Where sufficient FYM/organic manure is not available, suitable doses of inorganic fertilizers can be given to compensate for FYM for higher yield. The twiner needs staking support to expose maximum foliage area to the sunlight. The plants may be supported by a system of bamboo pillars and string or wooden stakes or trellis.


Only light irrigation to maintain humidity during dry season is recommended through sprinklers. Flood irrigation may result in waterlogging and should be avoided.

weed control

Manual weeding at monthly intervals during the peak period of weed growth (July–September) controls weeds to a great extent.


Bulbils become ready for harvest within 180–200 days from sprouting. The mother corm may be harvested after two to three years. The crop undergoes dormancy during winter.Hence, October–November are the ideal months to harvest bulbils/ underground corms. In subtropical and tropical areas, mid-September to mid-October is the most suitable time. The bulbils should be plucked as and when they become fully grown, otherwise they are shed before the foliage develops.