Sweet potatoes are long, vining, warm season plants with sweet, delicious tubers. Technically perennials, they are usually grown as annuals due to their warm weather requirements. Depending on variety, sweet potatoes need between 100 and 150 days of good hot weather – above 65 F. (18 C.) but easily up to 100 F. (38 C.) – to mature, meaning they often have to be started indoors early in the spring. But once you get them out in the garden, what are the plants that grow well with sweet potato vines? And what are those that don’t? Keep reading to learn about companion plants for sweet potatoes.
Sweet Potato Companions
So what are some of the best companion plants for sweet potatoes? As a rule of thumb, root vegetables, such as parsnips and beets, are good sweet potato companions.
Bush beans are good sweet potato companions, and certain varieties of pole beans can be trained to grow along the ground intermingled with sweet potato vines. Regular potatoes, though not actually closely related at all, are also good sweet potato companions.
Also, aromatic herbs, such as thyme, oregano and dill, are good sweet potato companions. Sweet potato weevil, a pest that can wreak havoc on crops in the Southern United States, can be deterred by planting summer savory nearby.
What You Shouldn’t be Planting Next to Sweet Potatoes
The biggest problem with planting next to sweet potatoes is their propensity to spread. Because of this, one plant to avoid, in particular, when planting next to sweet potatoes is squash. Both are strong growers and fierce spreaders, and putting the two next to each other will only result in a fight for space in which both will likely be weakened.
Even in the case of companion plants for sweet potatoes, be aware that your sweet potato vine will grow to cover a very large area, and take care that it doesn’t crowd out its beneficial neighbors.