Is is easy to grow sweet potato vine by taking cuttings from existing plants and rooting them in water. Use this method to fill out your summer planters or take cuttings to grow plants indoors during the winter.
Grow Sweet Potato Vine Cuttings
Ornamental sweet potato vine never goes out of style. It’s bright, beautiful, fast-growing, and adds a punch of cheer to any garden container.
And better yet, it’s easy to grow more from cuttings.
This easy-going plant can grow in soil or water so your options are wide open.
You can also use it as a houseplant, though it can be attractive to various pesky flies that hold parties indoors, so beware of that.
I’ll show you how I propagate it in jars of water.
Some product links may go to affiliate accounts like Amazon.com but I always suggest you check your own cupboards first or buy locally.
- Ornamental sweet potato vine (lime green is the most common color but also check for the darker varieties too).
- Scissors or fine garden snippers (clean with rubbing alcohol, bleach (1 part bleach:9 parts water) or your favorite garden-friendly disinfectant).
- Jars or vases with warm water.
Step 1 – Take a cutting below a leaf node
What is a leaf node? It’s the location on the plant where a leaf grows out of the main stem. When leaves are removed, roots can grow in their place. Cool, right?
I like to have about 6-8″ of vine to use for a cutting.
Using clean scissors (I keep rubbing alcohol handy), clip off a piece of vine just below a leaf node.
Roots will sprout wherever nodes have contact with water.
Step 2 – Pinch off lower leaves
See all the leaf node stubs in the image (above)?
I’ve removed the leaves to expose the entire section that will sit in water.
New roots will form at those nodes.
Just don’t submerge any leaves: they will rot.
Step 3 – Place the stems in fresh, warm water
Warm water is a key to successful gardening. Plant roots do not like the cold the same way we don’t like cold feet.
I keep the jars in a slightly shaded area. They don’t need a lot of sun and you don’t ever want the water evaporating and exposing the roots.
After a week or so, you’ll see white roots start to form at the former leaf node locations.
Some sweet potato vines grow really fast—with tons of roots—and others take their sweet time.
Either way, it’s a tough plant to kill. And I hope I didn’t just jinx your efforts by saying that.
Step 4 – Replace the water every few days
You don’t want the water getting gross or murky so keep it fresh. You can use the old water to water other garden plants.
You might notice the remaining leaves wilt slightly for a few days. Don’t panic. They should get perky again soon.
Step 5 – Plant them in containers or keep them in jars
When the roots are at least 3″ long, you can plant your vines in containers (use potting mix, not garden soil) or continue growing them in jars.
Various insects will nibble on the leaves but it’s rarely tragic. You can see tiny bite marks in the image below. No big deal. They seem to nip and run.
Grow Sweet Potato Indoors
As mentioned, you can bring the cuttings indoors and keep them going all winter long (either in containers with proper container mix) or in water jars or vases.
They can attract whiteflies and other tiny insects so keep this in mind. I like to keep a fan running for good air circulation and to discourage indoor soil pests.
You could also overwinter them in a heated greenhouse so long as the temperature remains moderate (not cool and definitely not freezing).
Last year I tried keeping the cuttings in water all winter long in our house. The plants grew like crazy and lasted right through until April when they started to brown.
I hope you’ll give this a try. It’s a super fast way to get more plants from the purchase of just a few!
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛
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