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Ipomoea batatas is often confused with:
Ipomoea imperati Variable leaf shapes - South Carolina - September
Native alternative(s) for Ipomoea batatas:
Ipomoea pandurata Ipomoea pandurata on fence
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Cucurbita pepo Zucchini Plant Top View
Petunia x hybrida Petunia x hybrida
Salvia rosmarinus Rosmarinus officinalis
Ipomoea batatas has some common insect problems:
Pests of Sweetpotato
Sweetpotato Root Knot Nematode
Ipomoea batatas has some common disease problems:
Black Rot of Sweetpotato
Rhizopus Soft Rot of Sweetpotato
Fusarium Root Rot of Sweetpotato
Southern Blight of Sweetpotato
Geotrichum Sour Rot of Sweetpotato
Ipomoea batatas has some other problems:
White-Tailed Deer

Edible Sweetpotato Ipomoea batatas

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

Sweetpotato is a vigorous-growing, annual ground cover or vine in the Convolvulaceae (morning glory) family and native to Mexico. This plant is often misspelled as “Sweet Potato.” It is only distantly related to potato (Solanum tuberosum), which is in the Nightshade family, Solanaceae.

Plant in full sun or partial shade in loamy, well-draining soil that is high in organic matter. It can grow 3 to 5 feet in width and 12 inches in height. If grown as a vine, it needs training, but when grown as a ground cover, it spreads quickly by runners. Propagation is through root cutting. It is susceptible to frost so it is considered an annual, but it can be propagated from tuber cuttings planted after the last frost. It is resistant to drought and dry soil but is frequently damaged by deer. 

The edible tuberous roots generally have a burgundy skin and orange flesh though they are found in a wide variety of colors. They are edible raw or cooked.

Ornamental cultivars of sweetpotato vine are frequently used in mixed containers for their vibrant colors. Also consider planting in an edible, pollinator, water, or rock garden. It is an attractant for bees and pollinators. 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: 

No serious problems though fungus can become an issue. Some cultivars have shown excellent resistance to phytophthora fungus. See Phytophthora Root and Crown Rot in the Landscape. 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

The Clemson Cooperative Extension Home and Garden Information Center has a factsheet on common sweet potato insect pests.

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.

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Fence Planter
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Ace of Spades'
    Resistant to phytophthora.
  • 'Blackie'
  • 'Bright idea Tricolor'
    Resistant to phytophthora.
  • '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'
'Ace of Spades', 'Blackie' , 'Bright idea Tricolor', '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#drought tolerant#purple leaves#showy leaves#apvg#hanging baskets#window boxes#fast growing#deer browsing plant#vegetable garden#pond garden#edible roots#tropical vine#garden walls#dry soils tolerant#vine#apvg-a#drought tolerant vegetable#warm season vegetable#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#annual#early childhood#landscape plant sleuths course#buncombe county sun and shade garden#wildlife friendly#child#children#preschool#early care#cpp
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Ace of Spades'
    Resistant to phytophthora.
  • 'Blackie'
  • 'Bright idea Tricolor'
    Resistant to phytophthora.
  • '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'
'Ace of Spades', 'Blackie' , 'Bright idea Tricolor', '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#drought tolerant#purple leaves#showy leaves#apvg#hanging baskets#window boxes#fast growing#deer browsing plant#vegetable garden#pond garden#edible roots#tropical vine#garden walls#dry soils tolerant#vine#apvg-a#drought tolerant vegetable#warm season vegetable#non-toxic for horses#non-toxic for dogs#non-toxic for cats#container plant#annual#early childhood#landscape plant sleuths course#buncombe county sun and shade garden#wildlife friendly#child#children#preschool#early care#cpp
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Ipomoea
    Species:
    batatas
    Family:
    Convolvulaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Root Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Mexico
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    Resistant to phytophthora root rot.
    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
    Warm Season Vegetable
    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:
    9a, 9b, 10a, 10b, 11a, 11b
  • 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 leaves 6" long, often colorful.
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Description:
    Edible leaves and stems
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Container
    Hanging Baskets
    Near Septic
    Pool/Hardscape
    Rock Wall
    Slope/Bank
    Vertical Spaces
    Walkways
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Rock Garden
    Water Garden
    Attracts:
    Pollinators
    Specialized Bees
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Dry Soil