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Ipomoea batatas ‘Midnight Lace’ (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)
Ipomoea batatas ‘Midnight Lace’ (photo courtesy of Proven Winners)

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Zone
Zones 13, 21-28, H1, H2
Full Sun
Full
Regular Water
Moderate

Ipomoea batatas

Sweet Potato Vine
Convolvulaceae
Annuals, Perennials, Vines

IPOMOEA

In this genus, ornamentals and edibles abound, from edible sweet potatoes (see Sweet Potato) to trellis-climbing morning glories and the sweet potato vines that fill out container plants so well.

Most have hard seeds; to encourage faster sprouting, nick the coating or soak overnight in water before planting. For annual display, sow seeds in place after frost danger is past; or, for an earlier start, sow seeds indoors, then set out plants 6–8 in. apart. Use morning glory vines on fence or trellis or as groundcover. Or grow in containers; provide stakes or a wire cylinder for support, or let the plant cascade. For cut flowers, pick stems with buds in various stages of development and place in a deep vase; buds will open on consecutive days. The morning glories listed here do not include the weedy plant known as wild morning glory or bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis). These are similar only in appearance.

Ipomoea batatas

Perennial from tuberous roots. For the edible sort, see Sweet Potato; the following are fancy-leafed forms grown for ornament. Trailing in habit, they have leaves that vary in size from 2–4 in. long and in shape from heart-shaped to deeply lobed. ‘Ace of Spades’ has heart-shaped, deep purple leaves. ‘Blackie’ is a fast grower with purple-black leaves. ‘Marguerite’ has golden green foliage. ‘Tricolor’ (‘Pink Frost’) has green leaves with white and pink variegation. ‘Emerald Lace’ (green) and ‘Midnight Lace’ (black) have deeply lobed leaves. The Sweet Caroline strain includes selections whose leaves are purple, bronze, red, and shades of green. All are attractive in hanging baskets but can overrun less vigorous companion plants. 

 

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