Tuesday, May 22, 2012

'Blackie' Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine

Properly referred to as Ipomoea Batatas, ornamental sweet potato vines produce potatoes. The large tuberous roots are edible, but most have a poor flavor or even a bitter taste.

While in bloom, it looks similar to a Rose of Sharon. Those developed as ornamentals depend on the color of their foliage for their attractiveness. The color of Ipomoea batatas "Blackie' range from deep purple to almost black.

  It can be propagated as a container plant,

or it is excellent weaving among other plants in beds and borders.

If you happen to like this one, be careful when you order one online, because there are different varieties. 'Blackie' has deep purple to nearly black leaves, but 'Margaurite' has light green leaves.

Ipomoea Batatas 'Margaurite' also known as 'Sulphur'

'Black Heart' has black heart-shaped leaves. It's a beauty.

Ipomoea Batatas 'Black Heart' also known as 'Ace of Spades'

'Pink Frost' is also pretty, if you like pink and lavender leaves.

Ipomoea Batatas 'Pink Lady' also known as 'Tricolor'

They require full sun to partial shade, and you need to water them regularly, but be careful not to over-water.

Growers take a few cuttings in the fall to propagate them inside over the winter. Don't permit the tubers to remain in a container over winter, since it can affect the tuber. If your winters are very cold, you'll want to dig up the tubers, and place them out in early spring. They will bloom indoors during the winter. They can also be started from seed, but be aware that they are highly toxic if ingested.

Black Heart and Margaurite

How was that for a moment of escape from this grim world? They sure are pretty.