Identify sweet potato

slowpoke_gardenerSeptember 11, 2011

I have been growing ornamental sweet potatoes for the past few years. I planted two that was new to me, my wife picked them up at Atwoods at the end of planting season for next to nothing. One I like because it blooms more than any other I have grown, but it had no name on it.

I would like to grow them again but don't know what to ask for. I will try to make cuttings, or save tubers, but would really like to know what its called.

Thanks for any help. Larry

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry,

There's about 30-40 ornamental sweet potato varieties available although most stores carry the same old 6 or 8 or 10 every year, so I've only seen some of them in photos and haven't had a chance to grow them.

I haven't grown even half of the available varieties, but have grown maybe 12-15 different ones, and the one that yours most resembles (although I am not saying that I am sure this is what it is) is one called Lady Fingers. I didn't grow Lady Fingers this year, but from memory its foliage closely resembled the foliage on your plants, although it might have had a touch more purple to the stems and veins.

A lot of the newer varieties are being bred for more flowering and heavier flowering, so I expect we may see them replacing some of the older varieties grown more for foliage.

Dawn

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 12:12PM
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slowpoke_gardener

Thanks, Dawn, I have noticed that the bees really like it also. I like the colorful foliage of the other ornamentals, but also like the abundance of flowers on this one. I don't know if it will produce tubers.

Larry

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 12:47PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry, I think it should produce tubers that you could save for next year. Most of the ornamental sweet potatoes do, although some of them produce longer, stringier tubers than the cultivated edible ones produce.

Two really pretty new ornamental sweet potatoes that I saw in the stores this year had finer, more delicated foliage and the word 'Illusion' in their name. They were Proven Winners selections. I'll find and link them. I didn't buy them and plant them this year since the drought was already so bad by the time I saw them, but hope to plant them when we the drought eases up.
OK, I found and linked the PW page. There's a small photo of Illusion Midnight Lace and Illusion Emerald Lace. You can click on the photo to enlarge it.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: Illusion Midnight Lace & Illusion Emerald Lace

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 3:51PM
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slowpoke_gardener

Dawn, thanks, I thought I might have "Midnight Lace", but this is the closest to it I could find. I must do better at keeping up with what I have, and saving them from year to year. I hope to get better with the cultivator type also.

Larry

    Bookmark   September 12, 2011 at 7:25PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Larry,

You're welcome.

After I posted that link, I looked at the plant out in the planter on the patio, and I did have Illusions Emerald Lace this year. Mine have roasted in the summer heat and I haven't kept them nearly as well-watered as they need, but they've hung in there and survived.

I love ornamental sweet potatoes but have to place them very carefully and keep them very close to the house. Otherwise, the wild animals devour their foliage. I've had the best luck keeping them in pots on the patio. If I put them in the ground, the cottontail rabbits schedule conventions and come in hordes to devour the plants.

Dawn

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 1:31PM
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slowpoke_gardener

Dawn

That's funny about the critters. Its a little like that here. I tried to plant a garden for my step dad, he's not able to do much but it helps to keep him active. The deer ate everything in his garden. I planted ornamental sweet potatoes in their flower beds and up next to the house and mulched around them so they would be easy to take care for.
The deer have eaten almost all them except the light green ones, it seems as tho they will not touch those. The cultivator type were the first to be eaten.

Larry

    Bookmark   September 14, 2011 at 2:32PM
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