A green space for urban gardeners

A tale of two sweet potato vines – healthy growth inside and out

DSC00619DSC00625DSC00328While my purchased sweet potato vine grows fast and furious outside, my home- grown vine, sprouting from an actual potato, is on quite a growth spurt inside, too.

As you can see, the longest stem has grown from mere sprouts (third photo) to about two-feet since I started the project a couple months back. Of course, my next challenge is to figure out how to get rid of the potato and create a traditional indoor plant from the vine.

The jar of water that I suspended the cut sweet potato into is now filled with fibrous roots and I have multiple leafy stems protruding from the potato. I’ve decided to take off some of those stems as cuttings and try to root them using one of the peat pellets left over from my seed starting projects at the beginning of the season.

I’ll expand the pellets with water, then insert the cuttings and place them into the covered mini-greenhouses for a few days and cross my fingers that they’ll root. If successful, I’d like to put the plants into two small pots that sit on architectural ledges (that look like Greco-Roman columns) against the exposed brick columns inside my condo.

Meanwhile, the chartreuse sweet potato vines I got at the nursery and put into my outdoor planters are  full and lush and taking on length as well. Hopefully, the Chicago season will last a little longer into the fall (to make up for starting later) so that these vines will get the opportunity to really trail.

For now, though, I’m enjoying the way the greenish-yellow color plays against the red-oranges, yellows and blues of the other flowers in the container.

Watching the sweet potato sprout and grow vines indoors has been fascinating, too. But, there’s more than one way to approach this project. Recently, my garden blogger buddy Stephanie started her own sweet potato project in which she placed her cut potato into moistened soil instead of a jar of water to sprout her vines.

That method seems to be working, too, so if you’re interested in undertaking this experiment with your kids, it can be done indoors or out — the seasons needn’t interfere with the fun.

[Thanks for visiting City Diggity, please check out my archives for previous posts that you can take into your garden. Here are some others that feature sweet potato vine:

Kid stuff: sweet potato vine project has come a long way
A sweet, potato project: lazy, drizzly day perfect for vine time

And don’t forget to leave a comment after checking out the posts; I want to know how your garden grows.]


  Stephanie wrote @

Avis! you got me this time! I was happily reading your update on your sweet potato vine project then when I saw your reference to my project… oops… that’s me :-). I am pleased to let you know that my vine is growing steadily and healthily, almost as lush as yours already. I think the hot weather here makes plants grow faster. The shape of my leaves are almost like an ivy leaf whereas yours are heart-shaped. I think your leaves look better. Btw, do you think the plant ‘drinks’ a lot of water? Mine does.

Happy planting sweet potato everyone!

  City Diggity wrote @

I’m glad to hear your sweet potato vines are doing so well outside. Mine probably would have grown faster — though maybe not as fast as yours — if I had grown them outside. Maybe I’ll put them out for a bit once they root so that those root systems get strong quickly… I think the look of the leaves must vary by the type of potato they grow from. Even inside, my vines drink up a lot of water. I have to keep replenishing every day and there are many, many roots coming from the cut bottom of the potato and extending down into the water. Can’t wait to see your next update.

  Chicago Garden wrote @

Looks like you two are having more fun with these sweet potatoes than should be allowed by law. :0)

  Miss Daisy wrote @

I enjoy reading about your “experiments”. I love sweet potato vines. I love their yellow-lime coloring.

  City Diggity wrote @

Miss Daisy,
In between all the trying stuff in the garden this year, the experiments have been the most fun. I’m working on a post about one I did for my cat, but he won’t sit still long enough for me to take a photo!

  Lynn wrote @

The vine has such lovely leaves! I may need to try one of these inside just for fun.

  Mimi wrote @

I have a strange sweet potato vine story. I had a friend from Liberia who had a sweet potato vine recipe and told me to just get a sweet potato from the grocery store and plant it. I bought it, but never planted it. I’d put it in a bowl, meaning to plant it. It stayed there for a good long while. In the mean time flowers my husband would get me for my birthday, anniversaries, etc. I’d cut the buds off and put them in the bowl on top of the sweet potato to dry out. Two years later I noticed something sticking out above the roses. Low and behold my sweet potato had sprouted a vine. I planted it outside in a pot and it’s thriving.

  City Diggity wrote @

Mimi, That’s a great story. Stephanie (Steph’s Green Space; see my links at far right to visit) started her sweet potato vine by planting the potato directly in the soil, too. Cheers!

  Lynne Jordan wrote @

So how is that potato vine doing now? any pics?

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