Ipomoea – Black Heart – Sweet Potato Vine – Ipomoea batatas

Garden Height
6 - 12
18 - 24
48 - 60
Container Role
Flower Size
Light Code
Light Level
Part Sun to Sun
Proven Selections


"A Real Simple magazine Top 10 goofproof Plant"

"A Real Simple magazine - Top 10 goofproof Plant"

  • Award Winner
  • Dead-Heading Not Necessary
  • Heat Tolerant
  • Foliage Interest

Maintenance Notes:

Ipomoeas are great additions to combination planters, but they can sometimes overwhelm less vigorous plants. If you are like me you can let your combination plants duke it out Darwinian style, however, if you prefer to keep a more balanced look to your combination planters, you can cut back or remove stems at any time.

Ipomoeas also make great annual groundcovers in the landscape. They love the heat and humidity (growing up to 36" a week in the Deep South), cooler temperatures and low humidity cause them to stay more compact.

While Sweet Potatoes all come from the same parent material out of Southeast Asia, there is a big difference between the Sweet Potato you buy in the store and the tubers produced by the Sweet Caroline and the Illusion plants. Commercial sweet potatoes have been bred for over 100 years selecting for those with the best sugar to starch content (hence the name SWEET Potato), the ornamental have been bred to produce good leaves and no tubers, though they do form, they are composed of almost pure starch and no sugar; making them a poor choice for eating. So yes you can eat the tubers, but don't expect anyone to come back for seconds! Also always be careful when eating any ornamental plant unless you know how it was grown, and if pesticides or fungicides were used on it before you got it; a tuber is a storage root, and yes they store chemical as well as starch.

An application of fertilizer or compost on garden beds and regular fertilization of plants in pots will help ensure the best possible performance.

Uses Notes:

Use in hanging baskets, beds, borders and window boxes

Maintenance Category: Easy

Water Category: Average

Bloom Time: Grown for Foliage

Hardiness Zones: 11b

Flower Form: Landscape

pH: C - pH 6.0 - 6.5

EC (2:1 Extraction Method): 0.6

Fertilization: 150 - 200

Light Requirements: High

Water Requirements: Moderate to Moist

Rooting Out Temperature: 65 - 72° Fahrenheit

Growing On Temperature: 70 - 75° Fahrenheit

Holding Temperature: 50 - 60° Fahrenheit

Planting and Timing Information:

Spring through Summer Finish. Standard PPP.

Finishing Times [weeks]:

4-5" and Quart Pot: 5-6
6" and Gallon Pot: 6-8
7-9" Pot: 8-10
10-12" and Two Gallon Pot: 10-12

Pinching and Growth Regulators:

Pinch once, 1-2 weeks after transplant. PGRs are not necessary on Sweet Caroline and Illusion varieties.

Pest and Disease Management:

General pest and disease practices as listed in notes. Watch for aphids and white flies. Thrips and spider mites can be problematic, scout and treat as necessary. Thrips are especially prevalent on chartreuse colored Ipomoea. Spider mites are especially problematic on Tricolor.

Under high humidity and low light conditions, Oedema (syn. Intumesence) causes small bumps to form along the leaf veins. It is caused by the roots absorbing more water than the leaves can release. It usually resolves itself within a few weeks when light levels are higher and circulation is better.

Prolonged wet foliage can lead to bacterial leaf spotting. Copper based fungicides will treat for this problem.

Grower Tips:

Illusion varieties are more compact and are better suited for combinations with less vigorous varieties. They also work well in landscapes.

Sweet Caroline Bewitched is more upright and compact than the other Sweet Carolines and is the best choice for small pot production.

In low light conditions avoid wet soil and moisture on the foliage.

  • Proven Winners
  • Proven Winners