Are Ornamental Sweet Potatoes Edible – Should You Be Eating Ornamental Sweet Potatoes

ornamental sweet potato
ornamental sweet potato
(Image credit: RoniMeshulamAbramovitz)

Over the course of the last decade or so, ornamental sweet potatoes have become almost a staple in many hanging baskets or decorative containers. As with many good things, the plants time comes to an end and is invariably jerked out of the container to be tossed in the compost. Wait though, what about the ornamental sweet potato tubers? Can you eat ornamental sweet potatoes?

Are Ornamental Sweet Potatoes Edible?

Yes, ornamental sweet potatoes are edible! Ornamental sweet potato tubers are, indeed, sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas). That said, ornamental sweet potato tubers are planted for their lovely chartreuse, purple, or variegated trailing foliage that serves as the perfect counterpoint to offset annual blooms. What that means regarding eating ornamental sweet potatoes is that, yes, while you can eat ornamental sweet potatoes, they are not necessarily the tastiest of sweet potatoes and are, in fact, much more bitter. It may take a heavy hand on the brown sugar and butter to make them palatable. Also, you may want to think again about eating ornamental sweet potatoes if they have been sprayed with pesticides not suitable for use on vegetables. So, when fall arrives and it’s time to tidy up the garden, don’t just throw the ornamental potato vines out. There are two better options. You can either try eating the ornamental sweet potatoes or dig them up and store them in a cool, dry area and then use them in the spring to propagate new ornamental potato vines.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.