Sweet potato vine

northspruce(z3a MB CDA)August 30, 2005

I planted two ornamental sweet potato vines (Blackie) in a large tub with a Tiny Tim tomato. A discussion on the veggie forum made me wonder if ornamental SPVs ever produce edible tubers - didn't get an answer over there so I wondered if anyone here knows. They're getting pretty big anyway!

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PoorMeZone3(z3 MN)

I did get a tuber, but I didn't try to eat it. I had accidentally poked through it with a decorative planter stake.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 8:58AM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

It's funny this subject came up. Yesterday I was searching the web and found a site listing marguerite potato vine and it said the tubers are edible.

I couldn't remember which site, however, but I did a search and found another reference to this.

"Unlike their agricultural counterparts, Ipomoea batatas ÂMarguerite and ÂBlackie are bred for ornamental properties rather than edible roots. ÂMarguerite is grown for its broad, heart-shaped, chartreuse foliage on trailing vines, and ÂBlackie is becoming a favorite in the garden for its dark purple, deeply lobed foliage that makes a great companion for plants with brightly colored flowers or foliage.

According to Janet Bohac at the USDAÂs Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, ÂMarguerite seldom produces a "usable" edible root and ÂBlackie almost never does. If, by chance, such a root is produced, there is no reason it could not be eaten."
(end of quote)

I know one of my marguerite plants was started by planting the tuber last spring. It wasn't worth eating, however, it was only one tuber and the size of a golf ball, if that.

My vine definitely has grown alot this summer, compared to the cool summer last year.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 10:12AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Thanks for the info. My vines are doing great too except a few slug holes. Maybe if I find a tuber when they're done, I could keep it to plant next year (?) Doesn't sound like I'm going to serve it for Thanksgiving.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 10:40AM
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Hey Gillian can you post a pic of it? I am just curious as to what it looks like. The vine not the potatoe haha. Will it grow in the shade or part shade?


    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 11:44AM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Yup I'll take one when I get home from work. I think it was supposed to be full sun but I'm not sure. Might come out green if planted in part shade.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 1:02PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

Well another site I visited suggested that while the tubers are edible, they are bitter and not tasty.

Northspruce, there are several ways to overwinter this plant...

Cuttings: one year in Sept I took cuttings, washed in case of bugs, then placed in a glass of water. They rooted within a week. They grow great on any reasonably bright or sunny windowsill for the winter, though they do like their share of water and get somewhat rootbound quickly.

Tuber: if your plant has developed a round tuber, you might try storing that for the winter. Last year I just took the entire hanging basket, cut off the dead foliage, and stored that in the laundry room. I suppose that method will only work if the plant itself has developed a tuber below the soil. Mine was in a pot with a tuberous begonia, so my intent saving the begonia, the potato vine was sort of a bonus.

Sierra, my vines grow in pots on the north side deck. They get perhaps 3 hours of sun. Mine are the marguerite variety, however, with lime green leaves. The only concern with the dark purple variety might be that it needs a certain amount of sun for best coloration? Still, I would think a few hours of sun or part sun would be okay.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 1:03PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Here ya go Sierra... like I said it got ravaged by marauding slugs- I think it would have looked great otherwise. The foliage starts green (you can see one at the bottom left if you look closely) and quickly turns dark purple. I have two in this pot plus the tomato - it's hard to show how big they got because they kinda looped around all over the place.

Glen thanks for your intensive research - would you like to come over for Thanksgiving sweet potatoes. LOL. kidding. I think I will try some cuttings, sounds like a good idea. And if I get tubers I will save them too.

Oh and I found the tag, it says full to part sun.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 7:02PM
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Thanks for the info Glen and Gillian! :-) Another plant to add to my list. LOL.

I like the color....and I think lime green would look great too......maybe the two intertwined...Hmmm The shape of the leaves make the plant interesting....


    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 10:47AM
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weepingcrab(z3 Ab Can)

I stuck a lime green one in with my Scarlet Runners. Looks pretty good, I think! Had the dark one in a pot and it did well. THe ones I put in my verandah planters were a bust unfortunately!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 5:22PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

They must be tasty - the slugs had a heyday. The shape of the leaves reminds me of something but I don't know what - maybe an exaggerated grape leaf.

This was my first year growing them. In future I think I will put them with something bright, like maybe gazanias. Tiny Tim can entertain itself next year.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2005 at 7:20PM
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glen3a(Winnipeg MB 3A)

I love the leaf color of the lime Âmarguerite but also like that the vine itself hangs downward over the edges of planters or hanging baskets.

I have two ÂmargueritesÂ, both originally from the same plant. One is growing in a hanging basket. It fills one side and an an orange hanging begonia fills the other side. I added some blue lobelia as well.

I have a hibiscus that I put outside for the summer and plant it in a tall and narrow urn planter. Marguerite is trailing over the side, down to the ground, and then growing along the ground. The growth on this plant amazed me because it was a scraggly 3 inch cutting earlier on in the spring.


    Bookmark   September 2, 2005 at 2:15PM
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SeaOtterCove(2b BC)

I had mentioned to my Grandmother-In-Law that you could dig up and store sweet potato vine tubers. She just recently dug them up out of her planters (she lives in zone 8) and was wondering if you could divide them. Apparently one of them looks like a rat and is about the same size. (?) She can't find any eyes other than where the vine had been growing. If she waits until spring will more eyes develop on the tuber? She is an experienced gardener so she does know what she is looking at.



    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 11:50AM
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Does anyone know of the formal Latin name for Arctic Orchid. It grows about 2 ½ to 3 high unfertilized; tropical or semi-tropical plant; blooms mid Aug. til frost here in sunny Sask.; has hundreds of blooms that are in clusters; bees love this plant! Turns to complete mush anywhere near zero. I grew this plant one year and love it but I have never seen it in a nursery catalogue. Any ideas?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 4:29PM
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abgardeneer(Z3, Calgary)

Schizanthus pinnatus or other species?
Impatiens glandulifera or other species?

Both of these plants (or plants in these genera) have common names involving the word "orchid".
The height you describe is likely too big for schizanthus ("poor man's orchid") but could fit the common impatiens species like the one I mentioned ("himalayan orchid", "himalayan balsam", "policeman's helmet"). Anyway, google 'em and have a look.

Hmmm, "Arctic orchid" sounds like quite a misnomer, given that it has no frost tolerance (unlike, for example, our native true orchids)...but that's common names for you!

If it's not the ones suggested, could you describe the flowers (shape, color, # petals), leaves (shape, color), stems, plant form, etc.? Did you buy it as a bedding plant?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2005 at 6:47PM
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Thank-you AB Gardener: the plant has pink flowers that are in a cluster of about 15-20 buds that are non descript. The effect comes in because as a cluster they are spectacular. The bees actually climb into the flower buds to pollinate them. I cannot remember if the flowers emerge from the central stock or the ends of the branches that emerge from the main stem. The leaves are slightly round from what I can remember. A friend told me to place 3-5 plants in a tight circle when growing, as the plants are sparse otherwise. Also, with lots of sun and fertilizer (Miracle Grow), my plant trio grew 5Â tall.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2005 at 1:12PM
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abgardeneer(Z3, Calgary)

Well, not much to go on, but how about sort of malva? In zone 2, most of these would not be hardy.

Here is a link that might be useful: Malva pix

    Bookmark   December 23, 2005 at 10:20AM
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I planted three marguerites under a ten year old oak last summer. In December I removed them and found a couple of tubers. It's now March and I've got several tubers surfacing (small to VERY large) and a dozen new sprouted plants. I haven't tried eating the tubers yet... they are bright magenta/purple when washed. That's Florida, zone 8.


    Bookmark   March 7, 2006 at 9:01AM
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donna504(z5 MI)

I know this site is old but I was trying to see if you could eat the tubers from sweet potato vines. When my husband cooked one I was concerned that it might be harmful. It looked like a white potato inside and very sweet. Very tasty!!! I will try to save some of the many tubers that I got this summer but I will enjoy the rest for sure.

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 9:29PM
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northspruce(z3a MB CDA)

Hi Donna, the consensus seems to be that different varieties might be different in size and taste, but none are harmful. That we can find reference to. Sounds like you ate one already (?) If it tasted good and nobody got sick, it sounds like it should be ok!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2006 at 11:21PM
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One of the two ornamental sweet potato vines I planted in hanging pots this year delivered quite a surprise. With the plants getting very root-bound, I decided to toss them this past weekend. Surprise, surprise! One of the pots contained a tuber that was about 6" long and 3" in diameter at its thickest part. It was rather misshapen, with red skin like a red potato. Discovering on this forum that the tuber was edible and as my curiosity was piqued, I had to bake. So here's my culinary review. It looked and tasted like an Idaho russet, except that it was very, very dense and dry in texture. It tasted nothing at all like a sweet potato, though there might have been the slightest hint of sweetness. Loaded with enough butter and sour cream to moisten, it made for a rather tasty dish.

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 8:05PM
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marciaz3 Tropical 3 Northwestern Ontario

Glad to hear that - though i doubt anyone has any sweet potato vines left in their gardens around here! :) Hope you took cuttings of the vines!

    Bookmark   November 19, 2007 at 9:37PM
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Hi, All sweet potato vine growers. From 1941 -1945 (Malaysia, then known as Malaya, was under Japanese military govt.) my family subsisted on sweet potato and our veggie was the leaves of the vine. We grew it in our backyard. The leaves are very tasty stir-fried the local way. They are now available at the Lucky 97 Market in Edmonton. Eating it the first time in Edmonton brought back bad and horrible memories. Still it was delicious.


    Bookmark   November 26, 2007 at 6:58PM
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Last year I planted about 6 ornamental 'Marguerite' sweet potato vines that I acquired from a local nursery. Reading that ornamental sweet potato vines could potentially produce edible tubers piqued my interest. I planted the vines in a large Rubbermaid container and gradually mounded more soil as the vines grew.

At the end of the season, I had completely forgotten about the ornamental sweet potatoes. The vines had all withered up and I was more concerned with harvesting the fruits and veggies in the main garden. Just before Thanksgiving, we were poking around the garden and upended the sweet potato bin. Inside were 5 or 6 very large, red-skinned tubers (about 1 per plant), in addition to several rather skinny, long ones. The flesh was a pale yellow.

We washed the tubers and my step-father cooked them up like a regular sweet potato with butter and brown sugar, and to my palette was the best sweet potato I've ever tasted. I was so surprised! The flesh was somewhat firmer than regular sweet potatoes, and the flavor was definitely different. I will be planting more of these this season.

It may be helpful to note that I checked the bin earlier in the season to see if there were any tubers starting, and I saw none. I dug up one complete vine and was disappointed. I replanted the vine and sometime after that the tubers must have begun growing. I do not remember what month I did this preliminary tuber check, but it was quite hot outside.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2011 at 12:48PM
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I heard you can eat the tuber from an ornamental sweet potato vine. I had one plant in this year that produced huge tubers. I have 5 tubers from the one plant, they must weigh around 10 lbs. I don't really want to eat it, as I want to plant it next year and see what happens. I was just wondering if they taste like regular sweet potatoes.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2011 at 6:55PM
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