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Are Ornamental Sweet Potato Vines Edible?

Pretty to look at, safe to eat, but not real tasty! This describes the ornamental sweet potato vine. You may know it as Marguerite, Sweet Caroline, Blackie or one of the other popular cultivars of this plant.

Garden varieties of the edible sweet potato have been selected for their flavor while the ornamental varieties were selected for their colorful foliage and trailing nature.

Like the edible varieties the ornamental sweet potato vine will produce tuberous roots. The purple tuberous roots are edible but gardeners who have tried them, say they’re not tasty.

Some gardeners try saving the tuberous roots overwinter much like dahlias. They store them in a cool dark location. Most gardeners report having limited success and poor growth on the second year plants.

You may want to start new plants from cuttings. Those in cold climates will need to move these in for winter and grow them as houseplants in a sunny window.

A bit more information: Start new plants from 4 to 6 inch cuttings. Remove the lowest leaf and stick the cut end in a container filled with vermiculite or moist well-drained soil. Keep the rooting medium moist.  Or just buy new plants each year.

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