Can you tell me about the ornamental sweet potato vine?

May 15, 2008 Print Friendly and PDF
Sweet potato vine, Ipomoea batatas, is a tropical tuberous, perennial climber grown as an annual in areas designated Zone 8b or colder. Blackie is the deep purple variety with large, deep-cut leaves. Two other varieties are also used: Marguerite, with bold, chartreuse green, heart-shaped leaves, and Tricolor or Pink Frost, with multicolored, small, pointed, and variegated leaves in shades of green, white, and pink. Sweet potato vines perform nicely as ornamental “spillers” in containers or as border flower garden “sprawlers.” They are trailing, stem-rooting vines. Each node on the stem will readily root in soil as the plant sprawls. It’s fairly easy to propagate new plants by providing a pot of soil and gently anchoring the node on the soil surface. The underground tubers are bitter and not considered edible. Container-grown sweet potato vine can be wintered over indoors. Cut back the water to the plant (about once a month) and it will go dormant. Keep the pot in a cool area (50 to 55 degrees F) until temperatures outdoors are consistently above mid-40s to 50 degrees F. The growing area outdoors should be full sun to partial shade, and soil should be kept moderately moist at all times.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.