03 September 2012

One Potato, Too

I, too have one sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas,) in a pot. I've seen a lot of them growing around, mostly in pots. I was awed by the trials at the Dallas Arbotetum [posted 03.10.2010], and thought that if they survive the heat in Dallas, they would surely like the hot dry conditions on my east facing deck.

This year, I have two planters on the deck, one of them a first-timer. So on a lazy day at Home Depot, I picked up a few items to plop in - some mini yellow zinnias and a sweet potato vine. To say the vine took over is an understatement. I daily pinch off a few leaves to allow the zinnias to poke through for a little sun. But both plants appear to cozily get along in their asymmetrical arrangement.

I liked the vine color, with new leaves starting maroon gradually turning green. Gives a bit of interest since I don't have any 'thrill' included (Thrill, fill, spill.) And the 'fill' zinnias are well behaved and seem to be overwhelmed and surprised. I thought I had the colors looking good, and then yesterday: a shocker. There was a flower on the potato vine. I turned around the planter and snapped a photo for proof.

I have never seen one blooming. After an excited check on the internet, with thoughts of naming a one-of-a-kind plant that I discovered, it turns out that sweet potato vines do indeed bloom. They are related to the morning glory family (are very distant to the potato), and are a tropical plant originating in Venezuela or Central America.

The tuberous potatoes are edible but according to sources, most have a poor flavor or even a bitter taste. They don't grow from seed like morning glories, but from cuttings. Looks like the other cuttings I take from outdoor plants will have new company this winter.

Now there are a few more blooms, and I can find several buds. Trouble is, the bloom color throws off the careful planning for the planter color scheme.

For The Record:
  • Rich potting soil
  • Full sun
  • Small amount of slow-release fertilizer
  • Requires water and easily wilts in hot dry weather
  • No serious disease but some holes eaten in leaves

Garden Calendar:
  • Blooming: pink cosmos, cosmos, zinnia, canna, mexican zinnia, acidanthera, rudbeckia, salvia, nicotiana, asters
  • Harvested: 2 peppers

4 comments:

Janet, The Queen of Seaford said...
I forgot that I had some tubers in the garage, saved from last year. If you dig up the tubers, clean them off, and keep them cool (like I said, mine are in the garage) and replant them next year....more sweet potato vines!!
I no longer have them in containers for the very reason you mentioned...they take over!!!
flwrjane said...
How cool is that? I have never seen one bloom and I've planted them for years.

xo jane


Les said...
I have two of the old standard 'Marguarite' flanking either side of my front steps. It's about time to break out the machete so we can get in and out of the house.
Swimray said...
Janet:
I now see that saving possibility from online sources. I want to keep my sweetie for next year and will store it with my cannas. I like its bi-color nature.

Les,
I bet your chartreuse Margaurite brightens things up, though.