Sweet Potato Vine

Pallida(Zone 7b)January 16, 2012

Just came in from a nice walk on my country road, and it is just like a windy March day! Around 73 degrees. Love it! Though I am a bit concerned about such (so far) a warm Winter and very little moisture! I, too, am suffering a severe case of Spring Fever, so much so, that I decided to start a sweet potato vine on my kitchen window sill, just as our Mothers and Grandmothers did many years ago. As I recall, you simply immerse the bottom portion of the potato in water and wait. I can't recall how long it takes, and am hoping the store-bought potatoes of today haven't been sprayed with a sprout retardant. Has anyone else done this lately, and with what results? Can you take cuttings and root them for hanging baskets next Spring? Are the lime green and purple ground covers you buy in pots in the nurseries the same plant? Got answers?


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I think the ones from the nurseries are ornamental. Heard they were also edible, but don't know that for a fact. Ibet the others know more than I do! LOL


    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 5:36PM
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Yes, Jeanie, I have done this in the past, but I can't tell you how long it will take them to root and sprout. I poked toothpicks in the middle of a longish tuber and supported it by hanging the toothpicks over the top of a wide mouthed qt jar. And yes you can take slips later to plant wherever you would like. You may have better success with this if you plant the tuber and the bottom part of the shoots in potting soil for a while so the slips will root, although often they will root in the water as well. And yes there are ornamental sp vines on the market. The Black is called Blackie, don't remember what the lime green one is called. Good luck with it.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 6:25PM
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Jeanie, they will start, and the ornamental are eatable, but don't taste near as well. I like growing both.

I don't know how long it takes them to root, I expect that depends on conditions. I stuck some in potting soil in the kitchen window last year. I think it was the ends off of 4 potatoes that DW was using for Xmas dinner. By planting time I had enough plants to plant a 22' row that produced over 6 cu. ft., I expect it was over 100 lbs.

Year before last I bought a couple of sweet potatoes at walmart, cut them up like Irish potatoes and just planted them in the flower bed and they grew well (that was 2009 growing year).

You can find the ornament's just about anywhere. I have some I don't know the name of, that I am trying to save over to plant this year, they bloom better than any I have every grown. I also saved some that had lime green, darker green, and blue on the leaves. I don't know how any of this will turn out, but I thought it was worth a try.


    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 6:45PM
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I did the window/water/toothpick thing one year and when the sprout would reach 6-8 inches long, I would break it off of the potato and stick it into the water beside the potato. They all rooted, and I put them in a large container later.

I have had sweet potatoes that produced lots of plants and no potatoes large enough to save and a few other times they grew well. I probably didn't have them in the ground long enough before it was too cold for them, but the foliage is pretty anyway, but the ornamental types are prettier. I like 'Blackie" and the lime green one whose name I can't remember right now for ornamental purposes. Although all of them are sweet potatoes, the ornamentals are bred to have shorter internodes and make a bushier plant. I love them. Larry had beautiful SP growing in his yard.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 7:42PM
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Marguerite is the ornamental lime colored one I've grown before. This year, I brought two pots into the garage to try to overwinter them. In years past, I've just bought one good sized plant, cut four-six growing tips, put them in a cup of water on the porch in early summer, wait for them to root and pot them up. An inexpensive way to multiply my ornamental SP vines!

    Bookmark   January 16, 2012 at 8:33PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Thank you, all, for answering my questions. Had no idea SP were so versatile. The vines are beautiful. Wonder how they fared in last Summer's heat? Wonder where the ornamental vines came from? Waiting for growth in my kitchen window.........


    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 10:28AM
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Jeanie, my sweet potatoes did fair in the heat. My son lives across the hwy. and his SP did terrible. They were from the same bunch of plants, but mine got a little amendments, some mulch, and some water, his only got a LITTLE water. I will show the ones of mine that got the least attention.


Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 2:14PM
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Not sure where the ornamental vines come from. The ones I've had over the years thrive in the heat of the summer, and though last year's drought stalled them a little bit, I still got good foliage display with supplemental watering (containers mostly). Infrequently I will get an actual tuber, but have never tried eating it or using it to start next year's plant. If I get a tuber this year I will try to save it.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 2:45PM
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Lisa_H OK(7)

I have grown ornamental sweet potato vines (green and black mixed) for the last couple of years. I grow mine in considerable shade in front/under my hedge on the north side of my house. They did well there, even this summer. They do get supplemental water, but not as much as some parts of my garden.

I prefer to grow mine in shade because I don't like the shade the green gets in full sun.

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 3:11PM
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I left with lot of small sweet potatoes harvested last fall, most of these are from the Gary collections. I am going to try some of the techniques mentioned in this thread. Thanks Dorothy and Carol. If they go well then you will get some! -Chandra

    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 4:53PM
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Pallida(Zone 7b)

Thank you for pix! Your SP vines are beautiful! I love how you mixed them. From the info I'm getting, I am assuming that these lovely vines probably will do best in some shade with, at least, moderate moisture. Now, I can hardly wait for sprouts. I will have to keep my eyes open for the purple vines when the stores start putting out bedding plants. Come on, Spring!!


    Bookmark   January 17, 2012 at 5:56PM
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