Sweet Potatoes Add Ornamental Flavor
sweet potato, Ipomoea batatas, a tropical root and member
of the morning glory family, has taken the landscape industry
by storm. Adding another dimension to a plant traditionally associated
with a food we welcome on North Carolina tables, the ornamental
sweet potato is popular for its decorative foliage and vigorous
growth habit which provide an appealing plant choice for mixed
containers or as a groundcover.
so many plants from tropical regions, sweet potatoes like it hot.
They need full sun and constant moisture. Plant after danger of
frost has passed and watch them take off when the soil temperature
begins to warm.
for three main cultivars: 'Blackie', with purple, almost black,
foliage and deeply cut leaves; 'Marguerite' ('Sulfur') with its
chartreuse lime-green foliage, and 'Tricolor' ('Pink Frost') with
shades of pink, green and white marbled in the same leaf. While
they do not flower often, them enhance mixed plantings with shrubs,
herbaceous perennials and flowering annuals.
most exciting is the 2002 release of four new patented cultivars
developed by NC State University researchers in cooperation with
the JC Raulston Arboretum (JCRA). The "Sweet Caroline"
series names each new cultivar by its color and is characterized
by a compact growth habit and reduced root size, which makes them
better suited than existing cultivars to containers and landscape
gardens. They offer all the colors currently available plus the
uniquely hued 'Sweet Caroline Bronze'. The latter is coppery-bronze
in appearance, especially as the leaves age, and has deeper-,
contrasting-colored veins in its leaves.
should contact their favorite garden center for availability,
whereas retailers should contact Bodger Botanicals for stocking
information. In this first-time partnership, a portion of the
"Sweet Caroline" royalties will benefit the JCRA. Learn
more at www.ncsu.edu/jcraulstonarboretum
'Sweet Caroline Green'