Information About Sweet Potato Plants
Sweet Potato Plants
In the genus Ipomoea and the family convolvulaceae are sweet potato vines. There is more than a thousand species in the family. Sweet potatoes are native to tropical South America, and have been around for more than five thousand years. They are often called yams in the United States. North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi, and California are the leading producers of sweet potatoes in North America. China grows about eighty percent of the worlds’ supply.
There are a few festivals held in the United States each year that celebrate sweet potatoes. One, is the “National Sweet Potato Festival” that is held in Calhoun County, Mississippi during the first week of November. A second is held in Benton, Kentucky and is called “Tater Day Festival” on the first of April. The third is held during Labor day in Greason, Tennessee. It is called the “Tater Town Special.
Sweet potatoes are an eatable tuberous root that taste sweet, and are considered a root vegetable. Young leaves and shoots on the plant are sometimes eaten as greens, although the greens are not as nutritional as the roots. The sweet potato is a wide, long root that tapers at its bottom. Its skin colors include red, purple, brown, and white. The color of the meat can be shades of white through yellow, orange and purple. Sweet potatoes can be baked, fried, or boiled, and have a very high nutritional value compared to other vegetables. In the United States, candied sweet potatoes are often prepared as a side dish for Thanksgiving dinners. Because the vines are thick, little weeding needs to be done.
If there is more than eleven hours of daylight, sweet potatoes will seldom bloom. The flower on a sweet potato vine will look like a morning glory flower. Morning glories are also in the genus Ipomoea. Sweet potatoes are sometimes grown as ornamental plants.
Sweet potatoes grow best when the temperature is about seventy-five degrees and warm nights. They need to be watered regularly during their first sixty days. However, there must be good drainage to prevent the sweet potato from rotting. They will mature in two to nine months, and must be harvested before the frost.
Sweet potatoes are cultivated by using clippings from the vines, or the plant may produce runners from its tuberous root. The soil needs to have a pH range from 4.5-7.0 so lime is often added to the soil mixture.