The Sweet Potato Vine is most often used as the “spiller” element in outdoor container gardening arrangements. This fast-growing vine also works well on its own as a house plant grown hydroponically or in soil. Add a touch of elegant greenery to your home with this popular vine.
Sweet Potato Vine Appearance
The Sweet Potato vine grows up to 10 feet long and 12 inches wide. The plant features a main stem, with small offshoot stems that produce heart-shaped leaves. The foliage comes in a range of colors from black to bright chartreuse. Blooming is rare when grown indoors, but when flowers do appear it is in the spring or summer.
Sweet Potato Plant Sunlight Requirements
The Sweet Potato vine thrives in direct sunlight, which promotes vibrant foliage color. The plant will grow in partial shade but colors may be muted. Supplement low lighting with an LED grow light, if needed, during shorter days or when light exposure is limited.
Watering the Sweet Potato Vine Plant
The plant does best with consistently moist soil. More watering increases the vine’s growth rate, but do not let the soil become soggy or rot will set in. The plant will let you know when it needs water when the foliage begins to wilt.
Soil and Fertilizer
The Sweet Potato Vine prefers a well-draining soil amended with organic matter for nutrients. Use a high-quality potting soil with peat or compost added. Just ensure the soil does not become heavy, the water soaks in quickly, and does not pool up on the surface. The pot your vine grows in requires drainage holes to allow excess water to drain out. The plant grows well on its own, without fertilizer. If you do want to increase its growth, feed with a balanced fertilizer once a week.
Temperature and Humidity Levels
Average household temperatures and humidity levels are fine. Avoid excessive heat and very low humidity and the plant will grow well.
Pruning Your Sweet Potato Vine
Due to the fast growth rate, regular pruning to manage size is beneficial and often necessary. Use sterile shears to snip back vines to ¼ inch above a node to shorten long vines and encourage fuller growth. Unhealthy vines and foliage should also be removed regularly.
Choose a vine with several nodes. Snip the vine to take a three to four-inch cutting. Remove the bottom leaves to expose the nodes, where new roots will grow from. Place the cutting in a narrow glass filled with enough water to submerge the exposed nodes but not the top leaves. Change the water at least once a week. Within two weeks new roots will form.
Common Pests and Diseases
When grown indoors, aphids and whiteflies are common pests to watch for. Aphid infestations cause leaf discoloration and deformation as the insects suck the sap from the foliage. Sticky honeydew appears on the plant as the aphids excrete it after feedings. Get rid of aphids by placing the plant in the shower and using the nozzle to spray the insects off the plant. Another method recommends mixing ½ a cup of rubbing alcohol with 1 gallon of water. Pour the alcohol mixture in a spray bottle and generously mist the plant.
Whiteflies also fest on your Sweet Potato vine and cause damage to the foliage. Control infestations by mixing 1 tablespoon of dish soap with 1 gallon of water and spraying the mixture onto your houseplant. The solution kills off the insects but won’t harm the plant.
Leaf fungus is a common disease to watch for on the Sweet Potato plant. The fungus is caused by moisture sitting on the leaves for extended periods of time. Remove any affected foliage and spray the plant with a fungicide designed for houseplants.
The Sweet Potato Vine is a simple, but attractive, plant that looks great alone or in combination with taller plants. The vine has simple care needs and creates great visual interests thanks to its trailing growth habit.
Sweet Potato Vine FAQ
The Sweet Potato plant grows well outside in USDA zones 9 to 11.
On average, water the plant once a week to keep the vine hydrated. In warmer environments, such as if the plant is moved outdoors, water the plant two to three times per week if no rainfall occurs.
Sweet Potato Vines grow well both indoors and outside. The plant also grows well whether grown in soil or hydroponically.
Increase the fullness of your Sweet Potato plant by pruning the plant back by several inches. Cut just above a node, where new growth will emerge from.
Sweet Potato vines pair well in the same pot with taller plants. Plants such as Calla Lilies and Calathea look great with the vine trailing out around the base. For a striking color combination, pair the colors of a chartreuse vine with a deep purple