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Edible Sweetpotato Ipomoea batatas

Phonetic Spelling
eye-poh-MEE-a bat-TAT-as
Description

Sweetpotatoes are an annual vine in the Convolvulaceae (morning glory) family.  Some lines are bred for their nutritional value, others have been bred for their beauty.  Select a variety based on the function you want as the ornamental ones are not tasty and the edible ones are not as attractive.

Edible: The edible tuberous roots generally have a burgundy skin and orange flesh though they are found in a wide variety of colors. A great source of beta-carotene—a precursor to vitamin A as well as a rich source of Vitamins B6, and C as well as potassium and fiber. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh are richer in anthocyanins. They are edible raw or cooked.

Ornamental: Grown for the foliage, sweetpotato vine is frequently used in mixed containers for its vibrant colors.  The tuberous roots are edible, though not tasty, when cooked and can be stored over the winter in a cool dry space covered in a dry medium. It is susceptible to frost and considered an annual, but can be propagated from tuber cuttings planted after the last frost.  This plant needs training if grown as a vine but can also be grown as an annual ground cover spreading quickly by runners. It is frequently damaged by deer.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  No serious problems though fungus can become an issue.  Be sure to rotate crops if you are planting in the same area each year as flea beetle and thrips populations can build up. For more information see Ornamental Sweetpotatoes for the Home Landscape

Sometimes misspelled as Sweet Potato.

VIDEO Created by Elisabeth Meyer for "Annuals, Perennials, Vines, and Groundcovers" a plant identification course offered in partnership with Longwood Gardens. 

More information on Ipomoea.

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Fence Planter
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blackie'
  • 'Goldfinger'
  • 'Illusion Emerald Lace'
  • 'Illusion Midnight Lace'
  • 'Margarita'
  • 'Midlight Lace'
  • 'Pink Frost'
  • 'Sidekick Lime'
  • 'Sulfur'
  • 'Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight'™
    Reddish purple leaves
  • 'Sweetheart Purple'
  • 'Sweetheart Red'
  • 'Tembele'
'Blackie' , 'Goldfinger', 'Illusion Emerald Lace', 'Illusion Midnight Lace', 'Margarita', 'Midlight Lace', 'Pink Frost' , 'Sidekick Lime', 'Sulfur', 'Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight'™, 'Sweetheart Purple', 'Sweetheart Red', 'Tembele'
Tags:
#water garden#annuals#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#purple leaves#showy leaves#apvg#hanging baskets#window boxes#fast growing#cpp#vines#deer browsing plant#vegetable garden#ponds#edible roots#tropical vine#garden walls#dry soils tolerant#apvg-a#drought tolerant vegetable#warm season vegetable#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plants
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Blackie'
  • 'Goldfinger'
  • 'Illusion Emerald Lace'
  • 'Illusion Midnight Lace'
  • 'Margarita'
  • 'Midlight Lace'
  • 'Pink Frost'
  • 'Sidekick Lime'
  • 'Sulfur'
  • 'Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight'™
    Reddish purple leaves
  • 'Sweetheart Purple'
  • 'Sweetheart Red'
  • 'Tembele'
'Blackie' , 'Goldfinger', 'Illusion Emerald Lace', 'Illusion Midnight Lace', 'Margarita', 'Midlight Lace', 'Pink Frost' , 'Sidekick Lime', 'Sulfur', 'Sweet Caroline Bewitched After Midnight'™, 'Sweetheart Purple', 'Sweetheart Red', 'Tembele'
Tags:
#water garden#annuals#drought tolerant#wildlife plant#purple leaves#showy leaves#apvg#hanging baskets#window boxes#fast growing#cpp#vines#deer browsing plant#vegetable garden#ponds#edible roots#tropical vine#garden walls#dry soils tolerant#apvg-a#drought tolerant vegetable#warm season vegetable#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plants
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ipomoea
    Species:
    batatas
    Family:
    Convolvulaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico
    Climbing Method:
    Twining
    Bulb Storage:
    Tubers overwinter
    Edibility:
    Edible leaves, tuberous roots, and stems. Sweet potatoes are a popular vegetable. Ornamental cultivars are not as tasty.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 6 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 8 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Ground Cover
    Vegetable
    Vine
    Habit/Form:
    Climbing
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    Occasionally Dry
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    9b, 9a, 10b, 10a, 11b, 11a
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Funnel
    Flower Petals:
    fused petals
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Pinkish morning glory like flowers; sparingly produced
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Gray/Silver
    Green
    Purple/Lavender
    Variegated
    Leaf Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Leaf Margin:
    Entire
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Heart-shaped lobed colorful leaves 6" long
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Edible leaves and stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Water Garden
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil