WANTED: sweet potato vine

growjo(4)March 5, 2008

I've never grown sweet potato vine but I'd like to try. I'm looking for a tuber or cutting to start. I am willing to trade for seed, lily bulblets,hardwood cuttings or a plant in exchange (once they thaw). If you have some extra please let me know.



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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

You can start your own from a sweet potato bought at a grocery store. I've just started a couple myself.

I pot them up in a pot and moisten it every little bit - I usually use a clear plastic bottle so I can see when the roots form. In about four to six weeks you should see some root development, in another four to six weeks you should see some above ground growth. Once the shoots (slips) are several inches long, you can snip them off and root them.


    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 12:12PM
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kanuk(Zone 5 Qc Canada)

bonniepunch ~ Do the grocery store sweet potatoes produce the same 'lime green' or 'chartreuse' coloured foliage as the ones I'm accustomed to purchasing from nursery stores in the spring?
Or are there various varieties of sweet potato that produce different foliage colour?

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 2:49PM
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Hi! they won't produce the lime green or deep purple that you see in the nursery, but they will be lush and green. If you're lucky, sometimes they are purple tinged around the side.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 3:27PM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

Origami master is right - they won't be the same. They're still nice looking vines though.

As an aside, do you know that those lime green and black ones usually produce a tuber that can be dug up and kept over the winter? You can then start tons more new plants off it in the spring without having to go broke :-)


    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 6:23PM
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kanuk(Zone 5 Qc Canada)

Thanks origami master & bonniepunch for filling me in on the sweet potato from the grocery store. Guess sweet potatoes have numerous varieties like red/white potatoes.
I wish I knew to keep the tubers. I have bought new sweet potato vines each year for the last... oh.... years. DOH!!
Actually this year when I ripped them out I commented on how many " small potatoes" were attached to the roots. LOL How dumb was I!!

Geez you sure learn a lot around here. Thanks to both of you.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 10:07PM
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Not dumb at all, Kanuk, learning, learning. I don't know how many of the little tubers I saved will grow next year (I'll probably buy some more nursery stock too). I just love that lime green crawling amongst the flowerbeds in the summer. One of mine even flowered last year. (Didn't collect any seed).
Just gotta go with the flow.
You can see them near the front of my border in this pic, kinda waving in and out.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 11:20PM
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Wendy-Thanks for including the great picture of your garden-WoW!
Thanks to Bonnie and Kenny for sharing their knowledge of sweet potatoes. Guess what I'm buying my next trip to the grocery store- Sweet potatoes! I have an 8 and 4 year old that are going to think the rooting in water is super cool. Thanks for all your input!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 7:17AM
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kanuk(Zone 5 Qc Canada)

Hi Wendy
Gorgeous garden shot! What are the tall yellow flowers just behind & above the sweet potato vine? Did you WS them? And those morning glories! Spring can't come fast enough after seeing your lovely garden.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 10:33AM
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bonniepunch(USDAz4 AgCanz5a)

I've never had any luck growing them in water - they just rotted when I tried it. I know it's commonly done that way, but I just haven't figured it out :-)

One bad thing some people do, is they cut up the sweet potato tuber like they would with a regular potato. This won't work - a regular potato has multiple growth points on the tuber, but a sweet potato has only one.

wendy2shoes - if you had collected seed it wouldn't necessarily have turned out well. The bright green and black ones are hybrids and the seeds of hybrids don't grow true. They're lots of fun for experimenting with (sometimes you get some really nice offspring), but they can't be relied on. If you want the same foliage, you'll have to divide the tubers or take cuttings from the vine and root them. Beautiful garden, BTW!

grojo - if you want another cool grocery store plant, pick up some taro tubers if you can find them. Taro is another common name for Colocasia esculenta, aka Elephant Ears. Your kids would love those because they have such big leaves.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 11:16AM
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northerner_on(Z5A ONCanada)

I just came across this post and thought I would add my two cents about sweet potatoes. The first chartreuse sweet potato vine I bought produced many plants for many years. The first year, I just washed the tuber, dried it, and kept it in a bag of sawdust over winter. The next year more tubers were produced and I did that for a while. Then I discovered that if you pot up the tuber, you can bring it indoors, withhold water and the leaves will dry through the winter. In spring, simply water and bring into a lighted window and it will grow again. I treat all my tender bulbs/tubers that way - dahlias, begonias, tube roses, oxalis, cannas, tropical Amaryllis, Mirabilis - and it saves a lot of work.

The sweet potato has several growth points, but not as many as the regular potato, and they are not as easy to determine. I buy my potato, store it in the dark in a brown paper bag, and it will produce spouts (like a carrot). I then cut that part of the potato out and pot them up and place in a sunny window. They do very well. These are not the chartreuse-coloured vines, but they do make nice vines for pots.

In the tropics, they are several varieties of sweet potatoes, but we only get a few. The one that produces the chartreuse leaves has true pink, thin skin, and is white-fleshed. You may be able to find it in a tropical market, but your best bet it to buy one and root cuttings and save the tubers.

The taro tuber is another nice one, as Bonniepunch stated. They need lots of water, and tolerate shade.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 4:23PM
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The tall yellows are coreopsis. I don't think I did too badly with them. The shot of my garden is 2nd week of September. Always a challenge to keep colour in the garden. Annuals, like the sweet potato vine help immensely.
Thanks for the compliments guys!

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 11:31PM
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absolutely divine! your garden...congratulations!
how do you grow such beautiful full lush morning glories?
soooooo looking forward to summer!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 7:14PM
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I thought that I would try and save my tubers last fall and brought in the pots that they were growing in. I kept them in the basement--cool but not cold, and moderate to low light. I withheld the water and they died back and I thought that they would be okay......everything seemed on track. I misted the pots once or twice during the winter, just so they weren't totally dry....but they were never damp or wet.
I brought up the pots about two weeks ago and started watering and they are doing nothing.
Any thoughts on what happened? Did you do anything different? I was so hoping that they would overwinter! I had two or three each of the chartreuse and the dark purple. I got them all for free, so no monetary loss, but man I hate it when something dies, especially if it was something that I did wrong!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 7:21AM
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Are there any of the charteuse coloured ones on sale anywhere? Someone mentioned that Humber has them...but that s so far from me!

Anywhere else?


    Bookmark   March 26, 2008 at 11:21AM
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