Botanical Name: Ipomoea batatas
Mounds of dense, colorful foliage make sweet potato vine a favorite ornamental. Sweet potato plants are also fast-growing and practically care-free.
Sweet potato leaves offer bold color from spring through fall. You don't need to overwinter -- treat this vine as an annual.
In addition to the garden-variety green foliage, you'll find an abundance of new cultivars with striking leaf shapes, in a stunning range of colors: lime green, golden yellow, coppery gold with a tinge of red, and rich, purplish-black.
There is one draw-back with this vigorous vine...it has a tendency to take over any space available. It will crowd other plants if you let it.
Don't be afraid to cut mature sweet potato vines back as much as needed to keep it under control. And don't throw away those cuttings, either. They'll root easily if you poke them into moist soil.
Its trailing habit makes it ideal for a warm, sunny windowsill. Plant it in a hanging basket -- or a windowbox -- and let its lush vines spill over the side. Or use it as an underplanting for tall flowers outdoors.
Allow it to climb a trellis, if you want. This twining climber makes a gorgeous backdrop for tall, upright plants in contrasting colors.
Origin: Central America
Height: Up to 12 in (30 cm) tall; will spread or trail several ft if not cut back.
Light: Moderate to bright light. Will tolerate some direct sunlight.
Water: Keep soil evenly moist at all times. This fast-growing vine is thirsty and dries out quickly in a container, so check it often. Use a container with drainage holes to prevent soggy soil.
Humidity: Moderate to high humidity
Temperature: Average to warm room temperatures (65-80°F/18-27°C). Wait till it's warm if you move it outside; this tender vine won't tolerate frost.
Soil: Any good potting mix
Fertilizer: Feed monthly in spring and summer with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half.
Propagation: Stem tip cuttings will dependably grow roots. Just stick the cut ends in moist potting mix -- or put them in a glass of water. They'll take root in a few weeks.
A favorite of Southern gardeners, sweet potato plants prefer moist, well-drained soil, warm temps and bright light.
Give this easy-care ornamental what it wants and it'll reward you with three seasons of colorful foliage.
Popular cultivars include lime 'Marguerite', dark-purple 'Blackie' and purple 'Sweet Caroline'.
Ipomoea batatas is in the Convolvulaceae family with 1000s of species, including morning glory.