Ipomoea, Ornamental Sweet Potato, Sweet Potato Vine 'Blackie'

Ipomoea batatas

Family: Convolvulaceae (kon-volv-yoo-LAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Ipomoea (ip-oh-MEE-a) (Info)
Species: batatas (bat-TAT-as) (Info)
Cultivar: Blackie
Additional cultivar information:(aka Blacky)
Synonym:Ipomoea fastigiata
View this plant in a garden



Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Vines and Climbers

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade


Grown for foliage


Foliage Color:




18-24 in. (45-60 cm)


9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

12-15 in. (30-38 cm)

15-18 in. (38-45 cm)


USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)

USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)

USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)

USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone

Can be grown as an annual



Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

Patent Information:

Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:

By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)

From leaf cuttings

From herbaceous stem cuttings

Seed Collecting:

N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Dothan, Alabama

Fairhope, Alabama

Gadsden, Alabama(2 reports)

Gurley, Alabama

Irvington, Alabama

Goodyear, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Azusa, California

Castro Valley, California

Clovis, California(2 reports)


Garden Grove, California

Merced, California

Pleasant Hill, California

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Woodland Park, Colorado

Smyrna, Delaware

Altamonte Springs, Florida

Bartow, Florida

Bradenton, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida(2 reports)

Fountain, Florida

Hollywood, Florida(2 reports)

Interlachen, Florida

Keystone Heights, Florida

Lakeland, Florida

Old Town, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Orlando, Florida

Pompano Beach, Florida(2 reports)

Port Charlotte, Florida

Rockledge, Florida

Tallahassee, Florida

West Palm Beach, Florida

Zephyrhills, Florida

Calhoun, Georgia

Fortson, Georgia

Thomasville, Georgia

Canton, Illinois

Des Moines, Iowa

Derby, Kansas

Wichita, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Baker, Louisiana

Belle Rose, Louisiana

Deridder, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana

Cumberland, Maryland

Madison, Mississippi

Mathiston, Mississippi

Saucier, Mississippi

Waynesboro, Mississippi

Howell, New Jersey

Scotch Plains, New Jersey

Mesilla Park, New Mexico

Binghamton, New York

Hopewell Junction, New York

Hudson Falls, New York

Southold, New York

Matthews, North Carolina

Rowland, North Carolina

Wilmington, North Carolina(2 reports)

Council Hill, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma(2 reports)

Pawnee, Oklahoma

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Albany, Oregon

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Conway, South Carolina

Longs, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Rock Hill, South Carolina(2 reports)

Summerville, South Carolina

Clarksville, Tennessee

Crossville, Tennessee

Del Rio, Tennessee

Hendersonville, Tennessee

Lafayette, Tennessee

Rockwood, Tennessee

Alvarado, Texas

Austin, Texas

Boerne, Texas(2 reports)

Deer Park, Texas

Denison, Texas

Edinburg, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas(2 reports)

Frisco, Texas

Georgetown, Texas(2 reports)

Houston, Texas(4 reports)

Humble, Texas

Jacksonville, Texas

La Grange, Texas

Missouri City, Texas

New Braunfels, Texas

Richmond, Texas

Round Rock, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Saratoga, Texas

Terrell, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Newport News, Virginia

Kalama, Washington

Pasco, Washington

Appleton, Wisconsin

Racine, Wisconsin

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 27, 2013, nana58 from Boerne, TX wrote:

This plant grows really fast and pretty. But I have to rate it neutral because the deer think it is quite tasty! After the deer eat it down to the nub, they grow back within a couple of weeks. The deer seem to watch them grow and when they get a certain amount of growth going, they eat them down to a nub again.


On Mar 1, 2013, Duiou2 from Lesslie, SC wrote:

I am having trouble with Wrinkled leaves, and tiny brown spots on the older leaves. I had Spider Mites and treated with Neem Oil, and the spider mites are no longer here. But the wrinkled leaves and tiny yellow spots have me puzzled. Any body that can address this issue?


On Oct 5, 2010, Cheryl_103 from Pittsburgh, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

A beautiful addition to mixed containers. Although not cold hardy in my region (zone 6), just take a cutting before it gets too cold, stick it into some water, and it will root within a week. Plant in a nice pot & use indoors for the winter. Then you'll have more for spring cuttings & next summer's outdoor containers.


On May 16, 2009, Levdrakon from Colorado Springs, CO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I bought a small 99 cent nursery pot sized one two years ago, here in CO. It's just about the easiest plant to root via cuttings so in no time you can propagate it all over the garden. I also take a few cuttings in the fall and keep them inside over the winter to start over the next spring. It seems to bloom just about whenever it wants to, including all winter long indoors. Adapted well to my heavy clay soil although it doesn't prefer it. Once it's acclimated to the outdoors, it can handle some cold. The leaves wilt and droop when it drops below about 40 but pick up as the day warms. A light frost will do damage and possibly kill it. It's a goner below that.

I've collected seeds each year and attempted to sprout them, but so far it's a no-go. I'm trying again this year. It ... read more


On Sep 1, 2008, gardenbugde from Smyrna, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

I grew this in 2007 and it was beautiful, until the Japanese beetles made the leaves into swiss cheese! I sprayed heavily with bug killer and then it had a chance to recover. It bloomed pretty little lavender flowers and it set seed! I saved seeds from it and I started a few in early Spring of this year. They didn't do anything after awhile, so I dumped the peat cups they were in into my potted grapefruit plant. I brought the plant outside for the summer and lo and behold! One seed sprouted. It looks like a normal morning glory seedling at first, then it started to get the 5 lobed leaves. It trails for me, and it's healthy. It's got buds on it now. (I had forgotten that I had tried to start the seeds and was in a state of confusion about the mystery plant until I saw the buds and then a li... read more


On Nov 30, 2006, annetta51 from Bradenton, FL wrote:

I live in Bradenton, Florida on the west coast (Tampa Bay area).
I wanted to get rid of the grass and weeds in the front yard so I put in 6 vines. soon the whole front yard was filled (30' x 15' area).
I have had to pull them out several times to keep them in my yard only.
The potatoes are sweet, whiteish yellow and very dry. I have eaten them several times, boiled, peeled and mashed with a lot of milk and butter. They are also good in soups. Has anyone else tried eating them?
[email protected]


On Apr 23, 2006, skaz421 from Wesley Chapel, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

Extremely easy to propagate through stem cuttings. I've found it flowering at all times of the year here in Florida. It does tend to fade slightly in bright sunlight.


On Apr 3, 2006, Suze_ from (Zone 7b) wrote:

I like to use 'blackie' in large containers with cannas. Not very drought tolerant, though.


On Nov 6, 2005, vossner from East Texas,
United States (Zone 8a) wrote:

I grow it as a ground cover planted on sw side of property. Very striking looking from a distance; not as pretty when you look at it closely and notice the "swiss cheese" look caused by slugs munching on it.

Rating it neutral because I have to keep an eye on it or it will choke anything nearby and also because the minute temps drop to mid 30's plant is dead and area looks ugly until the following spring. Nevertheless, I still like it a lot and will always grow it.

Oct 2011. Changed the rating to positive. I no longer grow it as a groundcover, only as trailer in pots. I notice that if I keep it well watered, it doesn't get the "swiss cheese" damage as it used to get when it was a groundcover. I don't know the reason why, but this year my largest pl... read more


On Jul 14, 2005, darylmitchell from Saskatoon, SK (Zone 3a) wrote:

In this climate, Blackie is grown as an annual, mostly in containers. Mine grew in a mounding habit, not vining. This may be because the growing season is too short for it to develop sufficiently. I've also noticed that intense sunlight can cause its black colour to fade to a dark green around the leaf edges. It perished in a late September frost.

Nevertheless, it is still an attractive and reliable foliage ornamental. When I purchased it, I didn't realize it would flower, so I received an unexpected gift when it produced some lavender-coloured blossoms.


On May 25, 2005, handbright from Coral Springs, FL (Zone 10b) wrote:

I think I have every variety of this plant, and this is the only one that I have had bloom. It is very pretty trained up a white picket fence. It doesnt vine as well as the other varieties that are not lobed, but it is definitly worth the effort, for the flowers are really pretty.


On May 9, 2005, waxedout from Tallahassee, FL (Zone 8b) wrote:

Blackie is a wonderful groundcover here in Tallahassee, and so far I am also successfully growing it in a container on a southern windowsill in my office!


On May 2, 2005, nevadagdn from Sparks, NV (Zone 7a) wrote:

Blackie won't overwinter here, even with protection (neither will any of the other ornamental sweet potatoes), but it's glorious during the warm season. It tolerates even part-to-full shade here in Northern Nevada.


On May 2, 2005, txgirl221 from Saratoga, TX wrote:

I have Blakie planted in a very large pot along with a pink Wave petunia. which sits on my patio in full sun. Both are beautiful. This is my first experience with both. So far I love it.


On Jan 11, 2005, crimsontsavo from Crossville, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

A very beautiful vine that makes excellent groundcover.
I never knew it bloomed until tonight. This is worth trying at least once by young and old.


On Mar 17, 2004, youreit from Knights Landing, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

This was [sadly, past tense] such a beautiful plant, I had to have it. It seemed to do really well after I planted it [on the border of Sunset zones 8 & 14 in California), starting new, bright green growth almost immediately, in a raised planter in part shade, however, as soon as the rains came in fall, I lost Blackie. I sure will miss her.


On Sep 5, 2003, htop from San Antonio, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

San Antonio, TX
Requiring little care, Blackie is a great fast growing hanging basket plant. Mine is suspended from a high oak tree limb and receives some morning sun and a little afternon sun as the sun is setting. It really stands out as the morning sun "lights up" its leaves. At night, a security light situated above and behind it, makes the foliage appear to glow an eery purple. Multi-colored coleus (they too "light up" in the morning and at night) are in hanging baskets in the same tree. Blackie adds contrast to the coleus and gives some drama to my garden.


On Sep 4, 2003, suncatcheracres from Old Town, FL wrote:

I have grown 'Blackie' for a number of years, mainly in a pot in the Atlanta, Georgia area. It looks great trailing out of a big green clay pot with multicolored coleus.

Here in Northcentral Florida, zone 8b, a friend overwintered her 'Blackie' in the ground last Winter--and that was the coldest Winter we have had in over a 100 years. Her plant makes a lovely, dark groundcover inter-twining beneath cream colored dahlias, tall purple Mexican petunias, and red shrimp plants. I noticed that her 'Blackie' was in a very protected flower bed, under the house eaves, facing Southeast, with filtered sun from high trees.

My friend gave me a cutting of her 'Blackie' earlier this Summer, and my plant is now really spreading out as a ground cover in a raised bed along... read more


On Sep 3, 2003, Laura1957 from Scotch Plains, NJ wrote:

This is the first time I grew 'Blackie' Potato Vine, and it has has grown beautifully. Today for the first time it has blooms of beautiful pink flowers. I had never seen any other one with flowers, so for me this was a great surprise.


On Aug 29, 2002, Wingnut from Spicewood, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

This is the dark purple/maroon, almost black one with deeply lobed leaves.