Does sweet potato vine like sun or shade? - Shiny Plant

Does sweet potato vine like sun or shade?

Sweet potato vines grow both in full sun to shade. However, in the shade, they get leggy and less productive. Sweet potato vines is a warm-season crop, plant them in full sun for best yield.

Sweet potato vine is a popular ornamental plant often grown in containers.

This herbaceous perennial plant is native to North America and best grown in a region that has a temperature near 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sweet potato vines are commonly grown indoors and outdoors. You might have many varieties of them in your neighborhood. 

However, the existence of this plant is way bigger. There are hundreds of varieties and cultivars of sweet potato vine available, you literally keep on exploring. 

These varieties or cultivars are different in leaf shape, sizes, and colors to choose from with your want. 

Here, you’ll learn everything about the sweet potato vine; how to grow, care and transplant it. 

Sweet Potato Vine

This plant belongs to the same family as edible sweet potatoes in fact both are the same species.

The ornamental varieties of Sweet potato vines are simply cultivars of the species plant. These cultivars are grown for colorful foliage rather than edible tubers and the vines of these plants are more bright and glorious in the morning, making them different from potato family plants.

While the leaves of edible sweet potatoes are used for cooking. especially in the young and tender stage. 

Leaves and tubers of ornamental sweet potato vine are not recommended for eating not because they are toxic but because these plants are bitter in taste.

Quick guide

Common NameSweet Potato vine
Scientific NameIpomoea
Plant TypeVine, perennial
Mature SizeDepending upon its variety
Sun ExposureFull Sun to Full Shade
Soil TypeMoist, well-drained intolerant to highly alkaline soil
Soil pH6.0 to 7.0
Bloom TimeInsignificant, few in Spring
leaf ColorLight green, Dark green, variegated
Hardiness ZonesAnnual, perennial in zone 11
Native AreaNorth America

Sweet Potato Vine Propagation

sweet potato vine 1

You can easily propagate sweet potato vines from existing plants. 

In water

  • Cut a branch from the plant and divide stem cuttings. 
  • Remove leaves from the bottom end of the stem cutting to ensure new growth.
  • Emerge one-third of the stem cutting in the water. Use a glass half-filled with water.
  • Do not emerge whole stem cutting. 
  • Keep changing the water every 4 to 5 days. Water loses oxygen, stunting the growth of the stem cutting. 
  • Also staying in water for a longer time invites mosquitos for breeding which is dangerous.
  • After 2-3 weeks new roots will start growing from the bottom end of the cutting.
  • This is a great way to overwinter sweet potato vine. Emerge its cuttings in cold winter and plant in next spring.

In soil 

  • After roots grow 2-3 inches long, plant them in the soil. Plants in the water can grow only for certain inches to continuous growth. You have to plant it in the soil.
  • Plant in the pot filled with potting mix soil for good quality.
  • Water to keep the soil moist at the beginning of the plant needs more water, but do not overwater. 
  • Locate the pot in indirect light, since the cutting does not get established yet and cannot tolerate direct sunlight.
  • The stem cutting will start producing new leaves and vines after 1 week.

Sweet Potato Vine Care

Ornamental sweet potato vines are used as containers as well as ground cover plants depending on their variety. They are also grown as indoor houseplants year-long or in the cold winter.

Sweet Potato Vine : Imopea

Like other foliage plants, they can also be vigorous growers in the right condition and need frequent trimming to be in the right shape.

Cut vines can be used to propagate another plant somewhere else. Below are some caring tips or conditions for ornamental sweet potato vine required for year-long growth.


This ornamental plant prefers rich, moist, and well-drained soil. Use potting to mix soil or soil with organic matter. The plant does like to stand in the wet soil, use a pot with adequate drainage holes, or plant in an area where water does not stay.


Right watering practice is essential for any plant growth. Water frequently to keep the soil moist but do not overwater. Water only then does the upper layer of the soil look dry.

If planted in a container or pot water thoroughly till water starts falling from the drainage hole. Leaves turn wilted when they do get enough water.

Also, avoid wetting foliage and veins when watering. Wet parts of plants often attract pests like aphids and fungal diseases. learn how to get rid of aphids.


Ornamental sweet potato vine thrives in full sun as well as full shade depending upon their variety. The darker the foliage color the more it can tolerate sunlight, light and bright shade leaves do not tolerate much sunlight.

However, plant them where they get sunlight as well as shade. Plant where it receives early morning sunlight and afternoon shade. In the afternoon especially in the hot summer sunlight is extremely harsh and causes leaf burn, shade will protect it.


Sweet potato vine tends to grow vigorously, prune it frequently to maintain their shade. Deadhead dry leaves and vines to encourage more growth. These dry parts look dead but they keep sucking energy from the plant, deadheading will redirect energy for new growth.

Pruning keeps your plant looking neat and attractive. 

Temperature & Humidity

Ornamental sweet potato plants like to grow in sunlight light but not in heat. They do well in shade but need to watch carefully so that their soil does not get dry. The plant grows in a highly humid region but does not need high humidity like other tropical plants.


Sweet potato vine usually does not need to be fed if they provide proper condition and resources. Fertilization depends upon how much you plan to grow them.

In the growing season, you can feed balanced fertilizer once a month for more growth. However, with more growth, they need more trimming. Too much fertilizer will harm so fertilize only if it gets stunted or grows too slowly. 

Sweet potato Vine Companions

Companion planting is a gardening method in which suitable plants are grown next to each other to ensure their rich growth. Complaints can protect each other from pests and diseases, and attract pollinators and beneficial insects.

Growing sweet potato vine with companion plants is a good planting practice. You can plant sweet potato vine companions to enhance their beauty or to protect plants. Check out the companion plants for sweet potatoes article to learn more.

Common Pest & Diseases

Sweet potato vines are usually attracted by golden tortoise beetle that looks similar to a teardrop of molten gold. These pest-eating leaves make several holes in the leaves in a very short time.

Pests also depend upon where you live. Pest-like caterpillars feast on sweet potato vines and crew very leaves in a short time. Whiteflies suck nutrients from the plant and stunt its growth. If you’re growing indoors weevils and spider mites can also pose a problem. Learn how to get rid of spider mites.

Sweet potato vines also tend to have a fungal disease like powdery mildew if planted too closely. Maintain a gap of at least six inches between each plant for good air circulation.

Fungal diseases also cause if they are planted in the same place for multiple seasons. To minimize this danger transplant to a new location every two to three years. If you have any plant suffering from fungal diseases; learn how to get rid of powdery mildew.


Ornamental sweet potato plants are considered toxic when ingested. Its leaves are poisonous to pets like dogs and cats as well as humans when eaten up. just like the sweet potato vine, there are many common beautiful plants that are poisonous to pets.

The vine has a toxic element similar to LSD that can cause damage to the kidney, heart, brain, and liver. 

Do not plant them if you have a pet in the house or keep them away from this plant. If your pet behaves suspiciously immediately contact the doctor. 

Some Varieties of Sweet Potato Vines

There are hundreds of sweet potato vines available around the world. Some of the popular varieties are maintained here. However, there are many more varieties developing every year.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Ragtime’

Finding sweet potato vine for hot summer, Ragtime is a great match; this purple striking does well in heat summer and spreads about 3 feet.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Sidekick’

This variety is found in two shades lime green and deep purple leaves that mound more than spread.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Floramia Rosso’

This sweet potato vine spreads nearly 4 feet, known for its heart-shaped leaves with shades of brown, rose, and bronze.

Ipomoea batatas ‘SolarPower’ and ‘SolarTower’

This is one of the best hot-condition sweet potato vine varieties that grow up to one foot and spread about 3 feet. Where solar power mounds and grows shorter, solar towers live their name and grow taller. It is available in lime and black colors and is well-suited for trellis and arbor training.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Illusion’

Illusion variety has many names like ‘Garnet Lace’, ‘Emerald Lace’ and ‘Midnight Lace’ 

It is a popular variety that grows a bit less vigorously than other cultivars and features thread-leaf foliage with mounds that reach about 3 feet.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Desana’

‘Desana’ comes in multicolors like ruby bronze and lime green. It is 4 feet wide and has a nearly lone-star shape.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Tricolor’

This sweet potato vine variety has three colored leaves light-green, pink and white. It looks wonderful in containers and can also be grown as trails in hanging baskets. The varieties cannot tolerate cold winters and need protection when temperatures drop too low. If you planted it in a container or pot, bring it inside. ‘Tricolor’ variety is a fast grower but it grows faster than other cultivars.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Margarita’, ‘Marguerite’

This variety has bright light-green leaves that grow as a mound when spread. However, it can also be trained to a trellis and can reach up to 6-9 feet in height when established. It grows in full sun to partial shade, if planted in full shade its leaves turn into deep green color. 

Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweetheart’, ‘Sweet Caroline Sweetheart’

The name sweetheart came from its unique heart-shaped leaves. These varieties do great in containers and make a beautiful display. It is available in various colors like red, light green, and purple.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Sweet Caroline’

Trip to J.C. Raulston Arboretum during GWA 2009

This is a variety that is found in multiple colors like red, green, purple, and light green. It has maple leaf and does well as a ground cover plant.

Ipomoea batatas ‘Blackie’ or ‘Blacky’

This variety has dark color foliage that looks almost black, hence its name. This is a fast-growing and vigorous plant that grows in moderate conditions with normal care. It has maple-leaf and produces purple-lavender trumpet-shaped flowers in spring to mid-summer.


Are Sweet potato vines edible?

Ornament sweet potatoes do not grow sweet potatoes. They do produce tubers but they are bitter in taste. Although these bitter tubers are edible if you want to survive. But they are not closer to commercially growing sweet potatoes. Ornamental sweet potato vines are not grown for the focus of eating purposes.

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Before going if you want to grow beautiful plants in your garden? Then click on these articles also.