American potatoes originate from Central and South America, where they are grown for their edible, starchy, slightly sweet tubers; these perennial herbaceous climbing plants can also be cultivated as decorative houseplants. They develop thin stems, very flexible, with a climbing or hanging habit, very well branched; they bear numerous large trilobate, elongated and pointed leaves, dark green, slightly leathery. During the spring season they produce large bell-shaped flowers, white or pink, with a contrasting throat. At the base of the stems large tuberous roots develop, similar to long, yellow or orange colored, edible potatoes. They are very suitable for growing in hanging baskets; in Italy it is common to cultivate sweet potatoes in aquaculture, as is the case for bulbs to be forced; this type of cultivation must be carried out only knowing the techniques well, in order to avoid obtaining a plant with a very short life cycle, also because it can easily happen that the tuber rots in case of too firm water. There are also varieties with particular colored leaves , yellow or purple, which are mainly used as annuals, ground cover or hanging. Some species of ipomoea are also grown as annual garden plants, mainly species with particularly decorative flowers.
The American potato plants are grown in a very bright place, even if it is sunny; they fear the cold, so during the winter months they should be kept in the apartment, at a temperature not lower than 13-15 ° C; species grown in the garden are often grown as annuals.
To obtain healthy and well-developed plants it is advisable to water regularly, throughout the year, avoiding leaving the soil dry for prolonged periods of time. During the winter months let's slightly thin the waterings, allowing the soil to dry slightly. From March to October we supply fertilizer for flowering plants, every 15-20 days, in half the dose recommended on the package.
The soil to be used for the development of our plants must be selected taking into consideration the specific needs of our crops. This is because our plants acquire the main sources of livelihood from the soil. The ipomea batatas prefer soft and light soils, very well drained, not particularly rich in organic matter; they can develop without problems in most soils, even poor or stony.
The reproduction of American potatoes can take place by seed, in spring, although not always from seed we get plants identical to the mother plant; in summer you can prepare cuttings from the top of the stems that have not brought flowers, or you can root portions of the tubers.
American potatoes: Pests and diseases
American patets can be affected by aphids and mites, which mainly affect young shoots. A poorly draining substrate or repeated water stagnation can favor the development of rot.