Free houseplants: Sweet potato vine

I like to keep sweet potatoes around. They’re an easy snack for both me and the cat. Throw one in the microwave for 4-6 minutes and voila! I eat the orange part, and Lilo snacks on the skins.

But sometimes I misplace a sweet potato until it’s so old, it’s started to sprout a vine.
sweet potato vine

Pretty, isn’t it?

Instead of thinking of it as a wasted potato, I like to think of it as a free hanging plant. Here, I decided to make a pot of lemon balm growing on my back porch more visually exciting.

sweet potato vine

A couple weeks later, this is what it looked like:

sweet potato vine

Change the focus, and you can still see the sweet potato nub in the dirt. It looks like a squirrel got to it, but didn’t dig it out:

sweet potato vine


Although sweet potato vine makes a great houseplant, I only use it as a porch plant. Although sweet potatoes themselves are a great cat treat, their vines are toxic to cats. Since Lilo will eat anything green (and quite a few things that aren’t), I’m not willing to risk having one inside.

Depending on the time of year, you can use this method to grow yourself more sweet potatoes, as well. If you want to do that, you’ll need to plant your sweet potato chunk in the ground. Rodale Organic Life has a nice article on growing sweet potatoes if you want to pursue that.

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