Do Sweet Potato Vines Grow Sweet Potatoes?

Do Sweet Potato Vines Grow Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potato vines are known for their lush green foliage and vibrant colors, making them a popular choice for gardeners and homeowners alike. While sweet potato vines are commonly grown for their ornamental value, many people wonder whether these plants produce the sweet potatoes we know and love. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating world of sweet potato vines and answer the question: Do sweet potato vines grow sweet potatoes?

Overview of Sweet Potato Vines

Sweet potato vines, or Ipomoea batatas, are native to Central and South America and are a member of the morning glory family. They are grown for their foliage and come in a variety of colors, including green, purple, chartreuse, and variegated. Sweet potato vines are fast-growing, trailing plants that can quickly cover a trellis, fence, or vertical surface. They thrive in full sun to part shade and prefer loose, well-draining soil.

Characteristics of Sweet Potato Vines

Sweet potato vines are herbaceous perennials that can grow up to 20 feet long. The foliage is lush and heart-shaped, with stems that trail or climb. The leaves come in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors, often with distinct markings or variegation. Sweet potato vines produce flowers that resemble morning glories, with funnel-shaped blooms in shades of pink, purple, white, or red, depending on the variety.

Ornamental Value

Sweet potato vines are primarily grown for their ornamental value, as they add a visually striking element to any landscape or garden. The lush foliage and vibrant colors of sweet potato vines make them ideal for hanging baskets, raised beds, or containers. They are also widely used as ground cover, adding a rich tapestry of foliage to garden borders and walkways.

Culinary Uses

While sweet potato vines are not typically grown for their culinary value, some cultures use the leaves and shoots for food. In many African, Asian, and Latin American countries, sweet potato leaves are a common vegetable used in soups, stews, and stir-fries. The leaves are highly nutritious, containing vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, and are considered a valuable food source.

Do Sweet Potato Vines Grow Sweet Potatoes?

The short answer to this question is yes, sweet potato vines can grow sweet potatoes, but it depends on the type of vine. Sweet potato vines that are grown solely for their ornamental value, such as the popular Blackie or Ace of Spades varieties, typically do not produce edible tubers. However, several varieties of sweet potato vines are specifically bred for their sweet potato production. These types of sweet potato vines are known as edible sweet potato vines, and they can produce a bountiful harvest of sweet potatoes if grown correctly.

Edible Sweet Potato Vines

Edible sweet potato vines are specifically bred to produce both tasty leaves and tubers, making them a valuable food crop. These varieties are developed for their sweet potato production and usually have smaller leaves compared to ornamental sweet potato vines. One of the most popular edible sweet potato vines is the Carolina Ruby, which produces both a high yield of sweet potatoes and lush, edible foliage.

Growing Sweet Potatoes from Vines

If you want to grow sweet potatoes from vines, it’s essential to select the right type of sweet potato vine. Edible sweet potato vines are readily available from nurseries and garden centers, and they should be planted and cared for in much the same way as regular sweet potato plants.

To grow sweet potatoes from vines, follow these steps:

  1. Selecting the Vines: Choose a healthy and vigorous edible sweet potato vine, making sure it has plenty of stems and leaves.
  2. Rooting the Vines: Take cuttings from the sweet potato vine by removing several long stems with a sharp, clean pair of pruning shears. Place the cuttings into a jar of water and let them sit in a bright, sunny location for several days until they sprout roots.
  3. Preparing the Soil: Sweet potatoes grow best in loose, well-draining soil, enriched with organic matter. Prepare the soil by tilling it and adding compost, manure, or other suitable soil amendments.
  4. Planting the Vines and Tubers: Once your sweet potato vines have sprouted roots, prepare a planting hole and place the vine into the hole. Carefully cover the base of the vine with soil, making sure that the roots are well-covered. You can also plant sweet potato slips or tubers alongside the vines.
  5. Caring for the Vines: Water your sweet potato vines regularly, making sure the soil stays moist but not waterlogged. Provide a trellis or other support structure, as the vines can grow long and heavy. Fertilize with a balanced fertilizer and make sure to weed around the plants regularly.
  6. Harvesting the Sweet Potatoes: After several months, the sweet potato vines will begin to die back, indicating that it’s time to harvest. Gently dig up the sweet potatoes and allow them to cure in a warm, dry location for several weeks before storing them in a cool, dark place.


In conclusion, sweet potato vines can grow sweet potatoes if they are the appropriate variety. Edible sweet potato vines are bred specifically for their sweet potato production and can provide a bountiful harvest. However, ornamental sweet potato vines, although they add visual interest to gardens, typically do not produce edible tubers. Whether grown for their ornamental value or food production, sweet potato vines are versatile and robust plants that are easy to grow and care for with the right growing conditions.






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