Oh SO SWEET Potato Vines!!
By: Valerie Martin/Ask a Master Gardener
Have you seen bright green and almost purple vines around town and wondered what the heck those were? Those are actually sweet potato vines, and we are trying them out this year. I think they have amazing color contrast for any landscape. Sweet potato vines not only come in bright green and purple, but they also have a tri-color vine that is variegated green and white with pink around the edges. I got one of each for the area around some large rocks we have at the end of our driveway.
Sweet potato vines are said to be relatively low maintenance, drought tollerant and only require watering once or twice a week when established which has made them really popular over the last couple of years around our area. I have a lot of sand where I planted them, so I decided I would amend the sand with a gardening soil that I got from my local gardening store, before I planted the vines.
The sweet potato vines can actually produce tubers (potatoes). But these potatoes aren’t as good as the ones that are grown from the vegetable vine, and can actually be bitter tasting so I wouldn’t recommend eating them. One option you have is to save the tubers to grow new plants for next year. They are also very easy to root and can be grown indoors as a houseplant and used next spring to start new plants. Since these are annuals, they don’t just automatically grow back the next year.
I’ve included a picture of the vines that I have planted, and throughout the season I will keep everyone updated on the progress of the sweet potato vines and how they are doing. We can learn about the vines together. If anyone has actually tried to grow these vines, or has success with these vines let me know, I would love to hear from you!