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Old 11-21-2009, 07:28 PM
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Sweet Potato Vine overwintering


Each year I add a Chartreuse Sweet Potato Vine to my garden, and, each year it dies during winter. This year I purchased a sweet potato vine late in the season and got a very beautiful one to hang as a hanging basket on my shepard's hook. I would love to try overwintering it and need advice. It is way too pretty to loose this year. The picture was taken a few days ago. Still holding on with cooler weather.


Sweet Potato Vine - Ipomoea batatas 'Margarita'
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:35 PM
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Well, first, they root very, very easily in water. So you could cut pieces and root them and winter them over as small plants. I am overwintering parts of larger plants that I have rooted and set out into a hanging basket (all 3 colors in one pot) and have it hanging in my greenhouse. But you know, I wonder if the whole plant wouldn't do okay hanging in a bright window in your house.

I was going through this dilemma with my double coral impatiens. I pinched the ends out of all the limbs and tried to root them but it was the wrong time of the year. The cuttings just rotted; I've never had that happen before. But the original plant that I had pinched everthing off of ended up setting on the floor just a foot or so back from a southerly window. I'm keeping it watered some--but not much--and it is coming back more beautiful than ever. So, I'm going to overwinter it setting right where it is. If it gets too big, I'll just pinch it back again.

Good luck whichever way you go, okay?
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:46 PM
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This basket is extremely large and EXTREMELY heavy. I don't have a place in my house for the hanging basket. Guess I could take cuttings but the effect for next year thru the cuttings wouldn't be the same. Hmmmm. Just hate to cut back all of these vines. But I don't want to loose her. Dilemma

Wondering if I should try to get the tuber out of the basket? That will be some feat to do And, if I do that, what should I do with the tuber? I do have a storage shed. I'm not sure they even go dormant.
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:51 PM
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Oh, I just looked it up on Dave's Garden. The ornamental sweet potato vines are hardy in zone 8b through 11. You're in zone 9, I think. That means you should be able to set the pot out on your patio or deck or whatever and winter it over there. Check that out and see if it takes you anywhere. I hope it does. I'm like you I hate to see beautiful plants die. But it sounds like you may not have to.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:03 PM
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That would be great. I may try overwintering it where it is as it is so heavy. Maybe throw a sheet over it when temps get down?
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Old 11-21-2009, 10:18 PM
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Does it ever frost there? I can't remember it ever getting that cold there.
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:42 AM
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Hi Steph, I know you have a little porch room and if you could put a hook or wall bracket to hand it up in there it would take up no floor space and stay green with a little heater. Otherwise, my whole front flower beds are covered with Blackie tator vine, and every year they die back but always return with a vengence. They have large potatoe tubers but if you just want it back next year, set it underneath some bushes for cover till spring when it gets ratty looking and it will return. Mulch, newspapers, towel or anything to cover and protect from the hardest freeze will help. Don't think you can kill it though. Not in New Orleans. Pretty enough to hand in kitchen.
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Old 11-22-2009, 06:05 PM
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BFG, not really. Last year we had two freezes, temps both times down to 26degrees. We even got a 2 hour snow last year. LOL It was beautiful and I was out of town. I got a call that we were having snow and rushed home to deal with my plants.

Hey bc
If you would see what is inside my shed, you would then know I wouldn't be able to place it on ground and won't want to hang this huge basket, HUGE, only to go under it maybe daily and not get hit by it. LOL I don't have anything for it to 'hide' under, not that I can think of. Guess I'll try and keep it where it is for the winter, sheet it when and if we have freeze/s
and hope for the best. I did notice the leaves go from green to yellow and I just snip them off. It doesn't seem to like cold weather and if memory serves me correctly, most of the leaves do turn yellow then it dies. Wondering if I snip the yellow leaves off when that does happen, I'll just have stems. Will new grow appear from stems once old man winter does his thing and after I protect it when needed?
I'll bet your blackie vines are beautiful. You are lucky they come back each year.
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Old 11-22-2009, 06:34 PM
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As I am reading through all your posts, a question comes to mind.....

Don't plants in pots/containers feel the extreme weather more? In other words, wouldn't this hanging container freeze more readily (and heat up to a greater extreme), being in the pot? Would you be better off placing it in the ground, and then doing as BC describes, covering it with a sheet, etc.?

This is a question that I've always wanted answered, so I am looking forward to your input.

From my experience with the heat, the roots of plants in containers definitely warm up more than those in the ground!
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Old 11-22-2009, 08:44 PM
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Yes, MP I think you are right. The ground would insulate best. Mine are always in the ground since I do not like to water a lot of pots,or protect from heat and freezes. Good thought.
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Old 11-22-2009, 09:15 PM
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The fact that plants are in a pot makes a difference but it mostly depends on the point at which the plant is damaged by, in this case, the cold. The ornamental sweet potato vine is hardy down to 15 degrees F. It would really be unusual for the core of the roots in this pot to get that cold. The leaves would be much more vulnerable than the roots I believe.

Do you have a big box (I'd say cardboard but I don't know why a large plastic tub wouldn't work) that you could pull out when the weather is theatening a freeze? The box would need to be big enough to cover the entire plant PLUS space for a heat resistent bowl (like a Pampered Chef or Pyrex) 9x13 lasagna pan or caserole dish. If you could put the heat resistent bowl on the ground beside the pot, put a string of about 25 of the large Christmas Tree lights in the bowl and plug them in and place enough of a lid over the bowl to keep the box from touching the bulbs. Place the box carefully over the entire plant, pot, and bowl of lights. The lights will keep the inside of the box warm enough to protect the plant probably down to 0. I had a larger version of this I devised and used before my greenhouse was finished and it saved my tender plants 3 nights through frost and a light freeze.

Not only did it work for the plants, mother's cat Patches loved sleeping inside (it was open enough in the back he could slip in and out).
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Old 11-23-2009, 02:04 PM
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mp, bc and BFG, thanks for your input, thoughts and ideas!

BFG, hmmm, that is an interesting protection idea you came up with I would have to run an extension cord with the lights to reach where the basket is, and try to find a very large box to cover this basket. It brings to mind my ficus tree that I'v kept warm in the past with holiday lights. I will keep your suggestion in mind. Thanks
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Old 11-24-2009, 05:54 AM
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I love the color and its so pretty~~!!
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Old 12-03-2009, 06:53 PM
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Thanks Penny! It really does add a nice touch to the garden with chartreuse color. Hope I can overwinter it. Will let yall know come spring!
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