Other names for jicama include Mexican potato, ahipa, saa got, Chinese potato, and sweet turnip. In Ecuador and Peru, the name jicama is used for the unrelated yacón or Peruvian ground apple, a plant of the sunflower family whose tubers are also used as food.

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The jícama vine can reach a height of 4–5 m given suitable support. Its root can attain lengths up to 2 m and weigh up to 20 kg. The heaviest jícama root ever recorded weighed 23 kg and was found in 2010 in the Philippines (where they are called singkamas). Jicama is frost-tender and requires 9 months without frost for a good harvest of large tubers or to grow it commercially. It is worth growing in cooler areas that have at least 5 months without frost, as it will still produce tubers, but they will be smaller. Warm, temperate areas with at least 5 months without frost can start seed 8 to 10 weeks before the last spring frost. Bottom heat is recommended, as the seeds require warm temperatures to germinate, so the pots will need to be kept in a warm place. Jicama is unsuitable for areas with a short growing season unless cultured in a greenhouse. Growers in tropical areas can sow seed at any time of the year. Those in subtropical areas should sow seed once the soil has warmed in the spring


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