Plants of the UNF Campus

Ipomoea batatas - Ornamental sweet potato
Family Convolvulaceae


About five hundred species of Ipomoea are native to around the world. The genus includes vines, shrubs and tree species, mostly with showy flowers. The common name, morning glory, is applied to many of these plants. Ornamental sweet potatoes are varieties of the edible sweet potatoes that were selected for colorful foliage rather than the quality of the tuber. Leaves may be purple, bronze, yellow-green or variegated with white and pink. It may be grown as a vine or groundcover. Sweet potato has been cultivated around the world for a long time but is presumed to be native to South America.


See these plants at the University Center parking lot and in the large containers outside of the library entrance. (They are dormant in winter.)


Herbaceous plant with prostrate stems. A clump may mound on itself to two to three feet high.

Care Instructions:

Light: full sun to part shade

Water: well-drained soil, tolerates drought

Soil: very adaptable provided the soil drains well

In northeast Florida, ornamental sweet potatoes die to the ground each winter and resprout in spring. This is a very adaptable plant that performs best in a sandy, well-drained soil.