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Planting Sweet Potato Vines

Sweet potato vine (Ipomoea batatas) makes an excellent spiller or trailing plant in container gardens. Its vining habit makes it suitable for use as a ground cover or grown on a trellis. Sweet potato vines are available in a wide variety of colors. This cold-sensitive, tender annual is hardy to USDA planting zone 11. Do not place it outdoors until the overnight low temperature is not predicted to dip below 45 degrees F. The vine will be even happier if you hold off until lows don’t drop below 55 degrees F.

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What You Need To Plant Sweet Potato Vine

  • Hand trowel
  • Gardening gloves
  • Container or location picked out

Where to Plant Sweet Potato Vines

Sweet potato vines prefer to grow in full sun conditions with well-draining, rich soil. They thrive in hot, humid climates and may not be the best choice for arid climates. Plant them in your garden or pot at the same depth as they were growing in their original containers.

Sweet Potato Vine Spacing

Space plants 10 to 36 inches apart, depending on the variety and planned use. Spread plants to be used as ground cover farther apart to give them room to spread. A sweet potato vine can grow to become up to 10 feet long in only a few months. Place container garden specimens closer together to give your arrangement a fuller look. Support is not necessary unless you plan on growing this plant on a trellis, arbor, archway, etc.

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Steps To Plant Sweet Potato Vines

Step 1 - Add compost to the soil if planting a sweet potato vine in the ground. Apply a slow-release fertilizer into any potting soil to be used in a container garden.

Step 2 - Carefully remove the plant from the container. Do not pull it out by the stem.

Step 3 - Loosen the roots if the plant is pot-bound. If the soil is dry, dip the root ball into a shallow pan of water. This will make it easier to separate the roots without tearing them.

Step 4 - Dig a hole twice as wide as the container and deep enough to plant the sweet potato vine at the same depth it was grown in the pot.

Step 5 - Add the plant to the hole and backfill.

Step 6 - Gently press down the soil around the base and water thoroughly. 

Step 7 - Move the container to a sunny location.

When to Plant Sweet Potato Vines

Do not plant sweet potato vine until the predicted overnight low temperature is predicted to be a minimum of 45 degrees F. The best time to plant is in the morning, early evening, or on an overcast day to give your vine a few hours or more to adjust to its new home before the sun beats down on it.

Transplanting Sweet Potato Vines

Sweet potato vines grow from tubers. Take cuttings to create new plants a few weeks before overnight temperature drops into the 40s. Add the cuttings to a container of water. After roots form, leave the cuttings in the container or pot them up as houseplants. Transplant rooted cuttings outdoors in late spring or early summer.