Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.
Ipomoea batatas, commonly known as sweet potato, is a perennial.
Ipomoea batatas was already described and the name validly published by Carl Linnaeus. It was Jean Louis Marie Poiret, however, who reclassified it into todays valid botanical systematics in 1804.
Ipomoea batatas is a species in the genus Ipomoea which contains approximately 332 to 631 species and belongs to the family of the Convolvulaceae (Morning-glory Family). The type species of the genus is Ipomoea pes-tigridis.
The perennials reach heights of 50 to 400 centimetres.
Ipomoea batatas is deciduous. The dark-green, simple leaves are alternate. They are cordate, entire and petiolate.
Flowers and Fruits
Ipomoea batatas produces cymes of pink salverform flowers from October to July.
Ipomoea batatas is native to : garden origin.
The perennials prefer a sunny to half-shady situation on fresh to moist soil. The substrate should be sandy-loamy or gritty-loamy and comparatively rich. They tolerate temperatures down to -7Â°C (USDA zone 9). Under glass use potting compost.
Tolerance of special soil conditions
- none: drought, waterlogging
The ornamental value of Ipomoea batatas lies especially in the ornamental leaves. Suited as groundcover and as indoor plant.
Maintenance and Propagation
The plants usually need very little maintenance.
- For healthy growth apply liquid fertilizer monthly during growth.
- Water moderately in summer, water moderately in winter.
Propagate by division in late winter or in early spring.
All parts except the tuber are highly toxic
Please read the health issues note!
Pests and Diseases
Disfigured and discoloured leaves and flowers indicate a viral infection. Remove affected plants and control insects that may spread the disease.
A powdery white coat on the plants indicates an infection with powdery mildew. Remove affected plants and apply a fungicide. To prevent infection improve ventilation, keep the roots moist and do not water the plants from above.
Honeydew and sooty mould indicate an infestation with whiteflies. The larvae look like those of mealy bugs, the adults suck sap on the undersides of the leaves. Apply insecticide, under glass control biologically.
Fine webs on the plants indicate an infestation with red spider mites. These sap-sucking insects mainly appear under glass and can be controlled either with insecticide or biologically with parasitic mites.
- Walter Erhardt, Erich GÃ¶tz, Nils BÃ¶deker, Siegmund Seybold: Der groÃe Zander. Eugen Ulmer KG, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-8001-5406-7. (Ger.)
- Christoper Brickell (Editor-in-chief): RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. Third edition. Dorling Kindersley, London 2003, ISBN 0-7513-3738-2.