Growing Yam/Oca, also Oka

Oxalis tuberosa : Oxalidaceae / the wood sorrel family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Yam/Oca in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • P = Plant tubers
  • Plant tubers about 5cm (1.5") deep covered with soil. Best planted at soil temperatures between 63°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 12 - 18 inches apart
  • Harvest in 15-20 weeks. Leave in the ground until foliage has completely died down so tubers reach maximum size.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best in separate bed
  • Harvested and washed oca
  • New growth just emerged and some tubers ready for planting
  • Oca just harvested
  • Oca leaves
  • Oca plant
  • Young leaves of Oka

Yams needs a long growing time to produce the tubers.

Protect from early Autumn (Fall) frosts to give time for tubers to fully develop.

Planting needs are similar to potatoes. Yams can handle more shade than potatoes. Earthing up will help increase production.

The leaves look rather like clover. Dig up after the plant dies down and leave outside for a few days to dry.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Yam/Oca

Scrub and boil or roast with other vegetables.

Your comments and tips

29 Jul 22, Allykat (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I brought yams at mitre 10. The packet says planr July/August but all online info says plant in Spring. I live inland Tasman area if that helps.
08 Aug 22, Richard Grevers (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
I'd go with the online info. We plant October/November, harvesting May/June (better after the first frost). They can take their time to really take off - ours had minimal foliage until March.
14 Jul 22, Deb (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I tried to grow yams last year without success but leaves shot up this year. I noticed some yams have grown but they have some green skin as they were on the surface or partially exposed. Are green yams toxic like green potatoes?
05 Jan 20, Paul Watson (New Zealand - temperate climate)
it is now Jan. 2020 in nz. is it too late to plant yams ?
10 Jan 20, anonymous (New Zealand - temperate climate)
You could try but if it doesn't work out, it is too late.
27 Oct 19, Erica Blackwood (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi there, I have my yams in a bath tub, is there anything else I can plant in there with them?
29 Oct 19, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
You might be able to, but I'M a big believer that each crop has it's own space to grow. If you want to produce great yams why would you plant something else next to them to grab some of the fert, water etc. Each crop requires a minimum spacing between plants and between rows to produce a good. crop. Go and buy another bath tub, dig some ground up etc.
06 Aug 19, Twyla Mac (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, How do I best store yams before planting?
14 Aug 19, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Google - storing yams before planting.
19 Jul 19, Claire (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Hi, Do we wait for the yams to start to ‘seed’ before planting them like potatoes? Thanks.
Showing 1 - 10 of 25 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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