Sweet Potato Plant

Ornamental sweet potato vines are a classic “spiller” plant perfect for container gardening. This beautiful, fast-growing herbaceous perennial is native to North America and best planted within the spring once temperatures consistently stay about 50 degrees Fahrenheit. it’s long tendrils that tumble over the edges and down the sides of containers. Sweet potato vines are available during a big variety of colors—from almost-black to chartreuse—and there are several different leaf shapes from which to settle on .

Ornamental sweet potato vines are within the same family as edible sweet potatoes and are actually an equivalent species. the decorative varieties are simply cultivars of the species plant. they’re bred for the sweetness of their leaves instead of their edible tubers, and therefore the vines from these plants make them look more like vine or clematis than a member of the Solanaceae .

While the leaves of the edible sweet potato are a delicious delicacy—especially once they are young and tender—eating the leaves of decorative varieties isn’t recommended; they’re not dangerous, but the leaves and tubers of those plants have a bitter taste.

Botanical NameIpomoea batatas
Common NameSweet potato vine, ornamental sweet potato vine
Plant TypeHerbaceous perennial
Mature Size8–10 ft. long, 5–12 in. wide
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeMoist but well-drained
Soil pHNeutral to acidic
Bloom TimeDoes not flower
Flower ColorDoes not flower
Hardiness Zones9–11 (USDA)
Native AreaNorth America
ToxicityToxic to dogs and cats
ace of spades sweet potato vines and verbena

Sweet Potato Vine Care

Ornamental sweet potato vines are versatile plants that are equally suitable for filling outdoor containers, spilling over a wall, or covering ground during a landscape bed. They are also popular as indoor plants and may be grown year-round or simply during the cold of winter. Like many rooting vines, they will be vigorous growers within the right conditions and should need frequent trimming to remain in restraint . The parts you reduce are often wont to propagate the plant elsewhere.


Sweet potato vines love the sun but also will grow partially shade and sometimes fully shade. The more sun the plant gets, the more vibrant its leaf color will typically be.


These plants prefer moist, well-drained soil that’s fairly nutritious because of organic matter. they will easily rot if their soil remains too wet, so confirm that the container you select has ample holes for drainage.


Sweet potato vines are considered drought-tolerant, though they’re going to grow more vigorously with frequent watering. Water enough to stay the soil consistently moist but not overly wet. you’ll notice that the leaves wilt when the plant is thirsty.

Temperature and Humidity

These vines like sun quite high heat. In hot climates, they’ll do best with some shade, and that they should be watched carefully so their soil doesn’t dry out. They thrive in many humid climates but don’t need high humidity as many other tropical plants do.


Feeding sweet potato vines is usually optional supported by what proportion you would like them to grow. A weekly feeding with a well-balanced fertilizer during their season will boost growth, but given their naturally robust habit, you’ll find that feeding also increases the necessity to chop them back.

Is Sweet Potato Vine Toxic?

Sweet potato vine is widely considered toxic to small animals, including dogs and cats. The vine has toxic ingredients almost like those found in LSD, which may impact the kidneys, brain, heart, or liver. If you notice your pet has eaten sweet potato vine or is exhibiting any of the below symptoms, contact a vet immediately.

Symptoms of Poisoning

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Seizures
  • Dilated pupils
  • Drooling or salivation
  • Drowsiness
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Irritation around the mouth
  • Increased urination

Varieties of Sweet Potato Vine

There are a variety of various sorts of sweet potato vines available on the market. the foremost notable difference between them is seen primarily in their color, though sometimes in their leaf form also. They include:

Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweet Caroline’: Popular as a ground cover, this varietal is out there in five different colors, including light green, yellow-green, bronze, purple, and red. Additionally, its leaves are shaped somewhat like maple leaves.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Margarita’ or ‘Marguerite’: This varietal of sweet potato vine is mounding but are often trained as a climber. Its foliage may be a bright, light green or chartreuse when grown fully sun, and darker green if grown in shadier locations.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’: Dark purple, maple-like leaves; sometimes flowers with purple, trumpet-shaped blooms

Ipomoea batatas ‘Ragtime’: one among the varieties with narrow, divided leaves; coloring may be a pale purple with some attractive natural variation

Propagating Sweet Potato Vines

Sweet potato vines are easy to grow from existing plants. To do so, break off a branch that has several leaf nodes. Remove all the leaves off rock bottom a few inches and submerge the stem in water. during a few days, you ought to see roots. This strategy may be a great way to overwinter sweet potato vines because they’re going to last all winter within the water and be able to plant within the spring.

Sweet potato vines are tuberous plants, so you’ll save tubers for subsequent season. obtain the tubers before the primary frost, allow them to dry, and store them for the winter in peat or vermiculite during a cool, dry place, like a basement, crawlspace, or cellar . In spring, the tubers will sprout and may be planted after the last frost. Divide them as required before planting, ensuring each tuber has a minimum of one eye.

Common Pests and Diseases

Sweet potato vines can become victims of the golden tortoise beetle, which seems like a teardrop of molten gold. While interesting to seem at, the beetle will munch holes in your leaves, making them appear as if Swiss cheese during a very short amount of your time.

Depending on where you reside , there are a few of other pests that feast on your sweet potato vines. The sweet potato looper may be a caterpillar that chews on the leaves, while the sweet potato whitefly can drain the plant of nutrients and stunt its growth. In some areas, sweet potato weevils can also pose a drag .

Sweet potato vines also are susceptible to leaf fungus, particularly if they’re planted within the same place for multiple seasons. Minimize this problem by varying the planting locations from one season to subsequent .


  • Plant sweet potatoes fully sun.
  • Grow sweet potatoes in loose, well-worked, well-drained loamy or somewhat sandy soil with aged compost added.
  • Prepare the planting bed by adding aged compost and aged manure or a billboard organic planting mix across the bed then turn the soil 12 inches (30cm) deep.
  • Soil that’s overly rich in nitrogen will produce more foliage than tubers.
  • Remove all soil lumps, rocks, or other obstacles from the planting bed; if tubers hit an obstacle as they develop, they’re going to grow deformed.
  • Sweet potatoes prefer a soil pH of 5.0 to 6.5.
  • Planting sweet potato

Plant sweet potatoes within the garden four weeks after the last frost in spring.


  • Set sweet potato starts within the garden in any case danger of frost is past in spring, usually about 4 weeks after the last frost.
  • Sweet potatoes are extremely sensitive to frost and with a warm, moist season of as many as 150 days.
  • Sweet potato slips are often started indoors as early as 12 weeks before they’re transplanted into the garden.
  • Well-rooted sweet potatoes require a soil growing temperature of 60° to 85°F (16-29°C) and an air growing temperature of 65° to 95°F (18-35°C).
  • Sweet potatoes will thrive in air temperatures as high as 100°F (37°C).
  • Sweet potato for planting

Sweet potato slips are often started indoors as early as 12 weeks before they’re transplanted into the garden.


Grow sweet potatoes from rooted sprouts, called slips, taken from a mature tuber. Here are two ways to start out sweet potato slips:

  • Place the sweet potato during a jar of water that’s half full with about one-third of the tuber submerged. Leave it during a warm (75°F/24°C)), sunny location where it’ll sprout. When sprouts are 6 inches (15cm) long, pull them off the tuber and set them in water or damp sand; they’re going to root for a few days. Start this process about 12 weeks before you propose to line the slips within the garden.
  • Place cut pieces of a tuber moist sand or light growing medium with a continuing temperature of about 80°F (26°C). (Use a heating mat with a thermostat to stay the soil consistently warm.) each bit must have one or more “eyes or sprouts. Set each bit 2 to 4 inches (5-10cm) deep in sand or light soil. Shoots will appear in about 3 weeks. When shoots appear, add another inch of sand or light soil. don’t let the growing medium dry out. When sprouts reach 3 to 4 inches (7-10cm) tall reduce the soil temperature to 70°F (21°C) and grow on for an additional 3 weeks. Seed tubers are going to be rooted in about 6 weeks and may then be planted within the garden.

You can start slips in one-gallon containers or during a hotbed. If you plant during a hotbed space slips 3 to 4 inches (7-10cm) apart.

One sweet potato tuber can yield as many as a dozen slips.sweet potato plant in garden

sweet potato plant in garden

Protect tender sweet potato leaves from the direct hot sun for five days after planting.


  • Set rooted slips within the garden on mounded rows 12 inches (30cm) wide and eight inches (20cm) high; space rows 3 feet apart (.9m); plant slips at 12 to 18-inch (30-45cm) intervals.
  • Plant slips in order that the sprouts get older toward the sky, not sideways. make certain to hide all of the roots and a few ½ inches (12mm)of the stem.
  • Protect tender sweet potato foliage from the direct hot sun for five days after planting. Set a floating row cover over the plants.
  • Grow 5 sweet potato plants for every household member.


Grow sweet potatoes with other root crops: beets, parsnips, and salsify.


  • Grow one sweet potato plant during a box or tub that’s a minimum of 12 inches (30cm) deep and 15 inches (38cm) wide.
  • Use a lightweight, porous soil mix.
  • Place a stake or trellis within the center to support the vine which grows up and outwards.


  • Sweet potatoes will tolerate dry soil once established but will produce best if kept evenly moist, and in. of water hebdomadally (1 inch equals 16 gallons/60.5 liters) until 3 to 4 weeks before harvest.
  • Do not overwater sweet potatoes; tubers will rot in soil that’s too wet.


  • Add aged compost or commercial organic planting mix to planting beds before planting. Aged compost contains all the nutrients sweet potatoes got to start .
  • Feed newly planted slips with a B-1 starter solution or compost tea.
  • Add a coffee nitrogen fertilizer (5-10-10) to the soil fortnight before planting.


  • Sweet potatoes are easily trained onto trellises, lattice, or wires strung between sturdy poles.
  • Keep weeds away from young plants. Mulch around plants with loose straw or chopped, dried leaves to control weeds and slow soil moisture evaporation.
  • Pull weeds by hand or cultivate shallowly to avoid disturbing roots. Eventually, the foliage of the maturing sweet potato plant will shade out new weeds.


  • Sweet potatoes are easily trained onto trellises, lattice, or wires strung between sturdy poles.
  • Keep weeds faraway from young plants. Mulch around plants with loose straw or chopped, dried leaves to regulate weeds and slow soil moisture evaporation.
  • Pull weeds by hand or cultivate shallowly to avoid disturbing roots. Eventually, the foliage of the maturing sweet potato plant will shade out new weeds.
  • Insects aren’t likely to attack sweet potatoes in northern regions. In southern regions, sweet potato weevils and wireworms are common pests.
  • Weevil larvae chew holes in tubers and adults chew holes in leaves. Control adult weevils by knocking them from plants and crushing them or spray with pyrethrins.
  • Plant resistant varieties.
  • Where heavy infestations occur remove all plants and don’t re-plant therein area for 3 years.


  • Sweet potatoes are vulnerable to plant disease and fungal diseases including a fungus disease called scurf.
  • Plant disease-resistant varieties and keep the garden clean of debris and weeds where pests and disease can harbor.
  • Remove and destroy infected plants immediately before the disease can spread to healthy plants.
  • Scurf may be a fungal disease that grows on the skin of sweet potatoes. The skin develops shallow purple or grayish-brown lesions. Prevention is that the best control. Plant certified disease-free slips. Rotate sweet potatoes out of an infected bed for 3 years.
sweet potato harvest

Lift sweet potato tubers once they have reached full size, commonly when leaves and vines have begun to yellow and wither.


  1. Sweet potatoes require from 100 to 150 days to succeed in the harvest.
  2. Lift sweet potato tubers once they have reached full size, commonly when leaves and vines have begun to yellow and wither.
  3. Carefully dig plants employing a garden fork starting about 15 to 18 inches (38-45cm) from the middle of the vine and dealing inwards lifting. Tubers are going to be 6 inches (15cm) approximately deep within the soil. take care to not cut or bruise the tubers which are thin-skinned.
  4. Complete the harvest before the primary frost in fall; tubers are damaged by freezing or weather 


  • Cure (dry and harden) sweet potato tubers for 10 to fifteen days after harvest. Set them during a warm spot (about 80°F) out of direct sunlight. Curing will help heal nicks and cuts and harden the skin. Curing also will improve the sweetness of the tuber.
  • Sweet potatoes will store at 55° to 60°F (13-16°C) during a dry, cool, well-ventilated place for 4 to six months.
  • Store sweet potatoes unwashed. Wrap the tubers during a newspaper once you store them; don’t let the tubers touch or they’ll rot.
  • Do not refrigerate or store sweet potatoes at temperatures below 50°F (10°C).
  • Sweet potatoes are often frozen, canned, or dried.


Sweet potato tubers are described as “dry” and “moist” noting the feel of the tuber when eaten. “Moist” sweet potatoes are often called yams; however, truth yam is really a special species found in tropical regions.

Here are sweet potatoes varieties you’ll grow: ‘Beauregard’ (moist-fleshed, 100 days); ‘Boniato’ (dry-fleshed, 120 days); ‘Centennial’ (moist-fleshed, 110 days); ‘Georgia Jet’ (moist-fleshed, 100 days); ‘Goldrush’ (140 days); ‘Jasper’ (150 days); ‘Jewel’ (moist-fleshed, 100 days); ‘Nancy Hall’ (moist-fleshed, 110 days); ‘Porto Rico’ (moist-fleshed, 110 days); ‘Southern Delite’ (moist-fleshed, 100 days); ‘Vardaman’ (moist-fleshed, 110 days); ‘White Yam’ (dry-fleshed, 120 days); ‘Yellow Jersey’ (dry-fleshed, 120 days).


  • The sweet potato may be a tender vining or semi-erect perennial plant grown for its swollen fleshy tuber, almost like an elongated potato.
  • Tubers grow underground from the vine’s central shoot.
  • Tubers vary from creamy-yellow to brown to deep red-orange in color and from 4 or 5 inches (10-12cm) to eight inches (20cm) or longer.
  • The flesh of the tuber is yellow or gold.
  • The flower of the sweet potato is pink to purple colored.
  • Botanical name: sweet potato
  • Origin: Tropical America and therefore the Caribbean

Leave a Reply