What's on my sweet potato leaf?

mwilkinsAugust 12, 2013

This substance looks like sugar was sprinkled all over the leaf of my indoor sweet potato vine. It is only on the top of the leaf and not on the underside. There is also some found on the vine itself. Any idea what it is or how to get rid of it? Also, the vines grow like crazy, but there does not seem to be much foliage. I'm assuming it is because of whatever this white stuff is.

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My guess is this has been caused by guttation. Although I have never seen it on sweet potato, I've never grown it as a houseplant, but I have seen this on other houseplants. Some, when they are over watered, secrete the excess liquid from their stomata ( respirational pores on the upper sides of leaves). When and as this excess liquid dries, it leaves behind little crystals resembling sugar. You can just wash that off, it's soluable. Perhaps this is what is happening to your plant. I also suspect too low a light level, causing it to be very leggy.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 4:21PM
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Thanks for your thoughts. I'm not yet convinced this is caused by guttation as I have not witnessed the moisture build up...and I inspect this plant often. I also noticed that with other guttation pictures, the moisture builds up only around the edges of the leaf. That is not the case here. Any other comments out there?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 11:12PM
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kimpa(z6b PA)

Does it wash off and melt like sugar? Do the leaves show damage after you wash it off?

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 9:22AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Sweet potatoes are among the vegetables high in calcium oxalates, which can be exuded through plant pores (stomata) under certain conditions. It will form sand like crystals when it dries. The mechanism is not exactly like guttation in which a function of hydathodes exuding excess internal water.

I've never seen this in sweet potatoes, but I've never grown them (inside or outside) .

    Bookmark   August 13, 2013 at 3:07PM
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I will wash the leaves and see what happens. I don't think the substance is damaging the surface, but the leaves are curling. I'm not sure if this is related.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 11:35AM
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ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5

how to get rid of it?

===>>>> ummmmmmm ... go buy new sweet potato .. and start a new one???

keep that in mind.. if you decide you need to start spending money on curing this ...

no use spending say.. 5 bucks.. to cure a fitty cent potato ... lol ... yam.. whatever ....


ps: all my houseplants.. in z5 MI .. are outside for summer.... makes me wonder about your indoor .. outdoor plant.. in heavy a/c .... anywhere near a cold air stream????? ... just shot gunning the thought process here ....

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 1:06PM
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