Ipomoea is a genus of plants that belong to the family Convolvulaceae. It consists of both the sweet potato vine family and the morning glory vine family. Ipomoea plants are native to the tropical and subtropical areas of North and South America, Africa, and Asia. With over 500 species, Ipomoea is a diverse and fascinating group of plants known for their beautiful flowers and unique growth patterns. At Martin Garden Center, we carry Sweet Potato Vine in the spring but we do not carry Morning Glory Vine.
Growing and Caring For Sweet Potato Vine
Ipomoea is well-adapted to different soil types, ranging from sandy to loamy, as long as it is well-drained. These plants prefer full sun, although some species can tolerate partial shade. It is worth noting that some Ipomoea species can be invasive in certain regions, particularly in tropical and subtropical areas where they can outcompete native vegetation. As with any plant, it’s essential to be mindful of the potentially invasive nature of certain Ipomoea species and to plant them responsibly, following local regulations and guidelines.
Sweet Potato Vine is susceptible to several pests including deer and other leaf munching pests such as caterpillars later in the season (late May to June). Because of the excessive growth of the vine, we normally don’t recommend any treatment because the vine will regrow so quickly that you generally won’t notice any effects of munching on your vine.
One unique aspect of Sweet Potato Vine is its vigorous growth habit. Its creeping/trailing growth habit making it ideal for use as ground covers or in hanging baskets. One small 4″ vine can become 8-10 limbs each spreading 8-10 feet by mid-summer.
Leaves and Flowers
Ipomoea typically has heart-shaped or palmate leaves arranged alternately along the stem. The leaves can vary in size and shape but are always lush and attractive. Some species have interesting foliage patterns, such as variegation or unique leaf shapes. Ipomoea flowers often have intricate patterns and markings. They come in shades of blue, purple, pink, red, and white. The flowers of many Ipomoea species are trumpet-shaped and open in the morning, hence the common name “morning glory.” Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds often pollinate the flowers.
Our Selection of Ipomoea
At Martin Garden Center, we have an entire table devoted solely to sweet potato vines. Generally it is covered in 6-8 varieties at any given time. We do not grow this plant at Martin Garden Center because our vendors carry a plethora of varieties. Some of the varieties include Marguerite, Dwarf Marguerite, Blackie, Ace of Spades, Black Heart, Solar Power, Tricolor, Rusty Read and more. Always more.
Sweet Potato Vine loves the heat. We advise customers not to plant Sweet Potato Vines until nighttime temperatures rise above 50F … not that our customers heed our advice.