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It is important to distinguish between edible sweet potatoes Ipomoea batatas or ornamental sweet potatoes, which go by the same Latin name. Typically, flowering for both types will only occur in southern gardens with hot daytime and night time temperatures as well as long day length. Neither type of sweet potato is grown for the flowering capability. However, if a sweet potato flower does occur it resembles its cousin, the Morning Glory Convolvulus spp. With edible sweet potatoes as with most root crops and herbs, it is important to remove any flowers. If the energy of the plant is going to flower growth and production, then other areas, like the tubers, will suffer.
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The ornamental sweet potato Ipomoea batatas is a favorite annual for many adding colorful foliage as low growing bedding plants, summer ground cover, cascading plants over walls, hanging baskets, and containers. Both the ornamental sweet potato plant and those grown as an edible vegetable are from the same family but the ornamental sweet potato has been bred to maximize the beauty and color of the leaves as well as the size and shape of the plant.
While it does produce edible sweet potato tubers they are not very palatable and are extremely bitter. The ornamental varieties of sweet potatoes bear more colorful foliage, making it very popular in gardens, containers, and as a house plant. Once planted in the garden or containers, after the temperatures warm up in spring, these beautiful plants will continue to add color through summer and fall until the first frost.
Not too many years ago there were only a few cultivars available. Since then the number of cultivars has tripled with varying leaf shapes and colors making the ornamental sweet potatoes a wonderful addition to any landscape, garden, or container garden design. The ornamental sweet potato with their many leaf shapes and colors now available not only make a huge impact by themselves in gardens and containers but make a wonderful companion plant to other sun and heat loving plants.
The sweet potato accents many plants such as coleus, cordyline, begonia, petunias, ornamental grasses, verbena, zinnias, and many other annuals that are heat tolerant.
The chartreuse colored Marguerite Margarita cultivar is still my favorite sweet potato vine although it can spread to 6 or 8 feet and does at times need some pruning to keep within bounds. Its bright color is a great contrast with most of my other flowering annuals. The addition of cultivars such as the Sweet Carolina series that are slower growing and more compact gives the home gardener greater creativity when using the sweet potato in small gardens and small to medium size containers.
The Sweet Caroline Sweetheart series with heart-shaped leaves is available in light green, red and purple, while the stand-alone Bewitched variety has maple-leaf-shaped, purplish-black foliage. The Sidekick series is available in black and lime colors with different leaf shapes.
The lime-colored variety is lighter in color than the chartreuse-lime green foliage of Margarita, and the growth habit is low-growing and less spreading. Another series that is quite unique is the new Illusion series from Proven Winners. They have thread-leaf foliage and are smaller-growing and much less vigorous than any of the others. Although the ornamental sweet potato is grown mainly for their colorful foliage you may see some flowers appear towards the end of summer.
The only cultivar that has flowered in my garden is 'Blackie'. The lavender flower is nice against the dark foliage but rarely seen as the flowers are usually deep within the plant and covered by the outer leaves. The plants should fill out the container but not be overgrown. Pick plants that have leaves close together on the stem. If plants were grown in a green house or shady location, the color may not be fully developed, but that will not affect their ultimate performance.
You may see a small amount of leaf scorch from the direct sunlight if the plants had just come out of a shaded greenhouse. Neither of these things will affect the plant in your garden. Ornamental sweet potatoes are normally grown as annuals as they are not cold hardy.
Plant them after the last frost date for your area. A soil pH of 6. They can tolerate light shade, but the colors may become less intense and gain a green tinge. They will grow well until the first hard freeze, which will kill back the tops. The roots may survive the first frost but will not live through the winter. Monthly applications of water-soluble fertilizer will enhance growth. Medium-size plants should be spaced 2 to 4 feet apart, and slow-growing or clumping varieties should be placed 1 to 2 feet apart.
Keep soil moist but never too wet or dry. Water thoroughly and allow the plants to dry slightly between watering, but avoid allowing the plants to wilt, which can result in leaf loss. Also avoid excessive watering as this can cause root rot and fungal disease.
Monthly applications of water-soluble fertilizer will enhance growth and leaf coloring. If your plants grow out of bounds, you can prune them hard and they will recover quickly. Maple Tree -. Gardenality does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information entered by Gardenality members is not endorsed by Gardenality, Inc. Never use any information from Gardenality to diagnose or treat any medical problem.
Meet the Gardenality Team. Login Sign Up. Pages Messages Updates Hi! Ornamental sweet potatoes are grown for their beautifully colored foliage that will accent any garden when used as an annual ground cover, or cascading over rocks, walls, containers, and hanging baskets. Save Print Email Tweet. Select Your Ornamental Sweet Potato. Care Of Your Ornamental Sweet Potato Water thoroughly and allow the plants to dry slightly between watering, but avoid allowing the plants to wilt, which can result in leaf loss.
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While full sun is ideal, sweet potato vines accept partial to full shade as well. Their leaves may be differently colored in full shade conditions than they would be in full sun. Well-drain is perfect for the sweet potato plant. If the ground is soggy for too long, its root system can develop rot, which will kill it. Sweet potato vines spread quite rapidly, so regular pruning is required. Pruning can be done at any time of year. Note : Plants will be sent with coco peat or prepared soil.
Sweet potato vine” is more likely to refer to the ornamental version of this tropical plant, but both it and the edible version need care. Read for more.
Track your order through my orders. Make your own tasty sweet potato fries with your crop! Roasted, mashed, baked or fried, sweet potatoes make a delicious alternative to the humble spud! Traditionally grown in warmer climates, new hardier varieties mean that now you can grow them in the UK. Despite its name, the sweet potato is not a potato at all! This tasty root vegetable is a member of the Ipomoea family; the same genus as the popular flowering climber 'Morning Glory'. The skin and flesh of sweet potatoes range from bright orange through to deep purple, so they look spectacular on the plate. Better still they're low in fat, containing only 86kcal per g, and loaded with carotenoids, vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and fibre. The leaves and tips of young shoots can even be cooked as a spinach substitute.
Ornamental sweet potato vine Ipomoea batatas is valued for its colorful foliage and rapid, easy-care growth habits. Although the plant works well as a ground cover, it is especially effective planted in containers where it spills freely over the sides. Depending on the variety, ornamental sweet potato vine is available in a range of colors, including bright chartreuse or deep purple, as well as a variegated variety in shades of pink, white and green. Although ornamental sweet potato vine is often grown as an annual plant, it is perennial in U.
Mounds of dense, colorful foliage make sweet potato vine a favorite ornamental.
In fact, sweet potato vines make great ground covers in the garden. Ground covers, which consists of low-growing plants, can serve as an alternative lawn, gab-fillers between pavers and weed suppressants. Plus, many only require periodic weeding and trimming. Ornamental sweet potatoes have been around since at least the s and come in a variety of colors. When planted in containers or hanging baskets, they cascade over the top, creating a tropical look. These vines grow to a height of 6 to 12 inches and look great in front of shrubs.
As implied by its name, you might assume the ornamental sweet potato vine is for decoration only. We link to vendors to help you find relevant products. If you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. Best known for their colorful green or purple leaves, this vining plant works well indoors and out. And the cultivars of this plant that have been deemed ornamental are related to the sweet potatoes we love to put on our dinner plates. In addition to their showy leaves, these plants also produce tubers, similar to the root vegetables we see in the grocery store but generally less fleshy and robust. The tubers can easily be propagated to start new plants, and they are simple to grow. There are more than a few different ornamental series and cultivars available in a range of foliage colors and leaf shapes, in shades of green and purple as well as a variegated multicolored variety, some with heart-shaped leaves, others with three lobes or something resembling that of a maple.
You can also plant sweet potato vine from seed. Fill a seed-starting tray with a light, soil-less starting mix. Sprinkle the seeds over the tray, spacing them 3.
Add To My Wish List. Hardiness Zone: annual. Brand: Proven Winners.
Ornamental sweet potato vines are a classic "spiller" plant perfect for container gardening. They are cultivars of the same species as edible sweet potatoes but are only ornamental, not edible, as they are very bitter. This beautiful, fast-growing herbaceous perennial is native to North America and best planted in the spring once temperatures consistently stay about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. It has long tendrils that tumble over the edges and down the sides of containers.
Do ornamental sweet potato vines grow potatoes? Yes, ornamental sweet potatoes are edible!
Sweet potatoes Ipomoea batatas are a traditional Southern crop and need heat and a long season up to 4 months to form potatoes. The keys with growing sweet potatoes in our sometimes cool summer climate is to get them off to a good start, keep the plants well watered and fertilized, and keep the soil warm. Beside being tasty baked, mashed, or in soups and pies, sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and fresh tubers dug from your garden are much tastier than anything store bought. Some varieties are sold for their beautiful leaves as ornamentals, not their edible tubers. You need to wait until the soil has warmed to 65F, at least 2 weeks after your last frost date, to plant.
Of all houseplants to grow from kitchen scraps , sweet potato vines are probably the fastest growing and the most fun. Plant a sweet potato in water, and almost before your eyes it transforms into a sprawling vine with lime green or purple-tinged leaves. Even better, the leaves are edible and tasty. Use an organic sweet potato.