Ipomoea batatas - Ornamental sweet potato
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.
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.