Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas)
Other Names - Yams, Yam.
Origins - Tropical S. America.
Type - Perennial (herbaceous).
Hardiness (see References, below) - Zone 11; but can be grown as annual, in many Summer gardens.
Bloom - Summer, Fall.
Fruit - Summer, Fall.
Approx. 3 ft (1 m), long vines.
Cultivation - Sweet Potato requires 150 frost free days to be able to produce. See more details on HOW TO GROW SWEET POTATOES, here.
Propagation - By cuttings; by layering, by seeds; or try keeping one end of Sweet Potato tuber moist and warm, and it will also sprout, like other potatoes.
Other - Although commonly called (sweet) potato, and yam, Ipomoea batatas is more closely related to beautiful Morning Glory vines (the same Ipomoea genus) than it is to Potato (Solanum tuberosum), or Yam (many different species of Dioscorea genus).
North Carolina, -home state of our Town & Country Gardens publication is the biggest producer of Sweet Potatoes, supplying 40% of total production in the US.
Sweet Potato foliage makes great addition to any garden. Attractive tubers inspire creativity (see Potatosaurus picture, on the right). Sweet Potato tastes good, and provides great nutrition, too. It's rich in Vitamin A, E, B6. It's got more dietary fiber than oatmeal. Find out more about SWEET POTATO NUTRITIONAL FACTS, here. Look at this month's What's Cooking? section for many great Sweet Potato recipes.
Sweet Potato can also be grown as an ornamental plant, particularly in herbaceous borders. There are many interesting cultivars, that come with great foliage and blooms.
For variegated purple-white-green foliage try: Ipomoea batatas 'Pink Frost'
For purple foliage, try: Ipomoea batatas 'Blackie'.
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References - Find more about Hardiness Zones
Special Thanks
Special Thanks to Town & Country Gardens Contributors: addicted to pics!, blogger, bulabean, cairaguas, dive-angel (Karin), flickr, Jasmine&Roses, North Carolina Sweet Potatoes Commission, RєRє (Vanessa Dualib); see her latest, Playing With Food book, Rita Crane Photography. Rita Crane, daughter of LIFE magazine photographer Ralph Crane. Her work can be seen on Flickr at Rita Crane Photography or on her website., TMR Davies, Wikipedia, W.D. Williams

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