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Carolina Gardening: Saving Ornamental Sweet Potato Vines

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gessieviolet
Saluda, SC
(Zone 8a)

August 23, 2008
8:30 PM

Post #5457877

Just read in another post that some of you have ornamental potato vines that come back year after year. Last fall I was thrilled that I harvested potatoes of 3 different varieties, planning to reproduce in spring. Well, they sprouted but reverted to green. I was surprised as I thought vegetative reproduction
assured my getting same as parent. Anyone have any idea why I was wrong? I have 4 different colors right now growing beautifully but I see no reason to try to save them for next year.
1cros3nails4gvn
Bluffton, SC
(Zone 9a)

August 24, 2008
8:21 PM

Post #5462212

i would just let them stay in the ground to see what happens
chamthy
Selma, NC
(Zone 7b)

August 25, 2008
1:30 AM

Post #5463426

You can also take a cutting of each to overwinter indoors. If you have a sunny window or room you can actually hold them over in a vase or jar of water. One year I held over some coleus that way. I followed advice I saw on a forum and covered the jar with plastic wrap held down by a rubberband and poked holes for the stems. I changed the water once a week.
DebinSC
Georgetown, SC
(Zone 8a)

August 25, 2008
11:32 PM

Post #5467344

Yep, I've kept cuttings in water all winter, too.
gessieviolet
Saluda, SC
(Zone 8a)

August 26, 2008
6:41 AM

Post #5468830

Do the cuttings reproduce true to color the next year? The tubers I saved were suppose to be black, pink, yellow but came back green.
chamthy
Selma, NC
(Zone 7b)

August 26, 2008
10:48 AM

Post #5469013

They did not revert to green for me.
tranquil
Ladson, SC

August 28, 2008
1:30 AM

Post #5476372

I dig mine up each year. I replant them the next year they don.t turn green for me.

Raggedyann
Lawrenceville, GA
(Zone 7b)

August 28, 2008
1:35 AM

Post #5476392

I stored mine in sphagnum moss in the garage and replanted them in spring. I tried to overwinter a few inside, but the whiteflies took over.
StonoRiver
Johns Island, SC

August 29, 2008
2:25 AM

Post #5481134

I don't know where Saluda is gessieviolet, but here in Charleston I just treat them as perennials and they come back year after year in the original form (each year more robust than the prior year). I have a lot of "tropicals" in the ground that aren't supposed to be able to handle our winters here, but do. Barleria, Alamanda, Arugia Sericofera, Alpinia, Tacoma, Vigna caracalla, Thunbergia grandiflora...just lots of different things. None of which are "approved" for zone 8, but all seem happy here. Well, maybe not delighted (they emerge late, and start rampant growth late, and bloom later than in an ideal climate), but grow and bloom they do. And I love them! Only way to find out is to try it in your ownself. I totally agree with leaving them 'taters' in the ground. But they can become a pest...
bonjon
Raleigh, NC

September 14, 2008
4:26 AM

Post #5549446

any chance you're in the area that's been moved from zone 8 to zone 9, stonoRiver? i was 7a, now I'm told I'm 8a.

question 0 do the ornament vines I get from purchased seedlings create tubers that can be stored for growth next year? I know nothing came back from last year, and nothing survived growing in this dark house.
StonoRiver
Johns Island, SC

September 20, 2008
1:15 AM

Post #5574238

As far as I know, bonjon, we're still officially zone 8a. But I noticed shortly after moving here 20 some years ago that plants approved for 8a didn't fare as well as the few tropical plants I was trying. I quit trying to fight experience, and don't plant anything anymore that isn't recommended for 9a minimum. Found that works much better for me. I think it's because we can get real cold air temps here for a night or two, but the lowest soil temp I've recorded since '87 was 52 degrees---and that was last year---a mild winter!
bonjon
Raleigh, NC

September 20, 2008
2:03 AM

Post #5574494

well, that soil temp does it, then.
StonoRiver
Johns Island, SC

January 5, 2013
3:03 PM

Post #9376407

I found out recently that we have been officially designated 9A here now, bonjon, so we weren't crazy! We haven't planted anything here for the past 10 years that wasn't recommended for at least zone 9A, and it's worked out fine. Sometimes personal experience works better than "official government standards"...
Entlie
New Bern, NC
(Zone 8a)

January 6, 2013
5:33 AM

Post #9376923

Up here in New Bern with a mild winter in 2011 one of my sweet potato vines made it through and three died. I only have the green ones. This year I dug them up and they are in the garage. Also I have had a love hate relationship with my key lime tree (Very Thorny and hardly any limes) - Fed up with it, left it in the deck pot during 2011 winter and it was late to come back but once it did, doubled in height! 8A up here.
Entlie
StonoRiver
Johns Island, SC

January 17, 2013
5:36 PM

Post #9388603

My sweet potatoes come back reliably from the roots every year here, Entlie. I don't know what color to call them...they're not "green", they're not "yellow", but something in between. Chartreuse, maybe? Whatever, I replaced them every year (for years!) before I noticed that they were coming back by themselves...I didn't need to keep replacing them! So I didn't. Haven't replaced a one for 5 years, and they're still there every spring! Late emerging, though. Key Limes are a whole different kettle of fish! Still haven't really figured them out... Both my trees marked "Heavy Producer" don't have flower one on them. Nada. Two other trees without any annotation as to past productivity are literally covered with flowers and small fruit. All in the GH for the winter, all brought in at the same time. But a year apart in seeding. I'm wondering if Key Limes are "alternate year" producing (like pecans), but can find no suggestion of such in the literature...???
Entlie
New Bern, NC
(Zone 8a)

January 18, 2013
5:32 AM

Post #9388940

Stono, I gave my key lime away to a friend whose son lives in Myrtle Beach and is growing citrus in his sun room. He didn't have a key lime, and was thrilled to get it. I was thrilled not to worry about it. Chartreuse sounds like an apt description. This will be my winter of the sweet potato test. Most are repotted and in the garage, but yesterday I found one deep down in a big pot which is located fairly close to the house. We'll see if it makes it.
StonoRiver
Johns Island, SC

January 19, 2013
8:06 PM

Post #9390793

Let us pray together for your friend in Myrtle Beach, Entlie! When those things produce, they produce BUMPER crops! But they're unpredictable here. Some years I have bumper crops, some years, nothing. Amy loves the "bumper crop" years. She adds a little key lime juice (one ice cube) to her nightly Limoncello, and she's happy for the rest of the evening. Gotta admit, I've tried it too, and I really liked it! Cuts the sweetness of the Lemoncello just enough to be palatable (o.k...delightful)...
ardesia
Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

January 20, 2013
4:34 AM

Post #9390919

I have found most citrus to be alternate year bearers down here and this year was the off year for mine. I had enough tangerines but hardly enough to gift the neighbors with big bags full like last year. Also, there is not even one grapefruit on our tree this year.

Great idea about cutting the limonchello's sweetness with the key lime juice. I just tossed a bottle of some I had made with last year's Meyer lemons because it was tooooooo sticky sweet.

The pollen is falling heavily already, can spring be far behind?????
Entlie
New Bern, NC
(Zone 8a)

January 21, 2013
5:39 AM

Post #9392087

Would love to have a Meyer Lemon. Mine come in bags from Wal-Mart :) Do Meyer lemons have thorns?
Oh! pollen already? We are usually gone this time of year, and come home to find it over everything. Perhaps we can manage to keep up with it since we're at home this year.

ardesia
Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

January 21, 2013
11:21 AM

Post #9392486

Most citrus have some thorns. I had a lime that had the worst thorns, it was not a key lime but some unnamed variety and it was dangerous. :-)

Meyers are fast growers and they bear early but since you are often away during the cold months, I guess it would not be wise for you to try and grow one, they do need winter protection.
Entlie
New Bern, NC
(Zone 8a)

January 22, 2013
5:40 AM

Post #9393400

Thanks, Ardesia. Sadly, our boat Sunspot Baby is for sale and our long distance cruising days are probably behind us, so we will be here most of the time. Our next boat will hopefully be a small regional cruiser. Maybe a Meyer lemon tree might work for me now.
ardesia
Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

January 22, 2013
8:52 AM

Post #9393613

Oh, I am sorry, that is sad. I am probably the only person in Beaufort that loves waiting on the swing bridge, watching the cruisers go through. Soon it will be time for the snowbirds to return north.
StonoRiver
Johns Island, SC

January 22, 2013
6:55 PM

Post #9394211

Do it Entlie! For some reason, Meyer Lemons taste WAY better than a plain old lemon! Had no idea what all the fuss was about "Meyer" Lemons, so naturally, I had to try to grow one a few years ago. I did, and it produced a small crop (8 lemons on a 2' tall x 3' wide mini-tree---really kind of funny-looking because the weight of the fruit distorted the shape of the tree). But the lemons were delightful.It got a severe case of the zits (spider mites) right after fruiting, and declined rapidly. I finally gave up on treatment, and planted it in the ground out behind the Veggie garden, and bought a new one (which I keep in the GH in the winter). But that original sucker produced new growth for 2 yrs. in a row, so it was still alive! Just not growing well... beware the spider mite!
ardesia
Saint Helena Island, SC
(Zone 9a)

January 23, 2013
3:58 AM

Post #9394419

Stono, While I prefer the soap and water route, I just noticed Bayer has a Imidacloprid product for Citrus and other food crops. Perhaps this would make sense for struggling trees. I saw it at Possums which has become my favorite place to shop in Charleston. Pitiful, isn't it?

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