Q: Do sweet potato vines used in gardening pot arrangements produce edible sweet potatoes?
— Kathi Gallagher, Stow
A: The tubers produced by ornamental sweet potato vines are edible, but most people probably wouldn’t consider them very tasty, said Douglas A. Bailey, head of the horticulture department at the University of Georgia. Those varieties are bred for their pretty foliage, not their flavor. Bailey said ornamental sweet potatoes are more bland than their cousins bred for eating, and they also may have stringy fibers that need to be removed. He found that out when he made pies from them. It took the added sugar to make the potatoes sweet, he said. Of course, if the plant has been treated with pesticide, you wouldn’t want to eat the potatoes. It’s probably better to save your tubers over the winter in a cool, dark place and use them to sprout new vines next year.
Have a question about home maintenance, decorating or gardening? Akron Beacon Journal home writer Mary Beth Breckenridge will find answers for the queries that are chosen to appear in the paper. To submit a question, call her at 330-996-3756, or send email to email@example.com. Be sure to include your full name, your town and your phone number or email address.