Problems With Yellow Leaves on a Sweet Potato Vine
Sweet potatoes are nutritious and delicious, and growing your own sweet potatoes can be an excellent way to serve nutritious meals to your family all year long. For the most part the sweet potato plant is a hardy crop that is suitable even for the beginning vegetable gardener, but it is still important for growers to know what to do when problems occur.
Checking the Garden Plot
Sweet potato plants are prone to a number of conditions that can cause the leaves to turn yellow, so it is important to pay close attention to the condition of all the plants in the garden. If you spot yellow leaves or other signs of trouble, take action as quickly as possible or the problem could spread and infect the entire garden.
Most of the time yellowing leaves on sweet potato plants are caused by a fungus. Vermicillium and fusarium are two of the most common fungal diseases with sweet potato plants, If either one of these fungal diseases is present the yellowing of the leaves will begin at the bottom of the plant and work its way up. If you discover a fungal infection, apply a quality fungicide that is designed for use on vegetable crops.
Yellowing leaves on sweet potato plants can also be caused by a nutrient deficiency in the soil. The most common nutritional cause of yellowing leaves is a lack of nitrogen. Treat with a nitrogen rich fertilizer. Yellowing leaves can also be the sign of a magnesium deficiency, since plants use magnesium to make the chlorophyll that keeps their leaves green and healthy. Treatment with a quality all around fertilizer can address this type of deficiency.
Sweet Potato Vine Brown?
Sweet potato vines are frequently used as an accent plant in potted arrangements, or as a bedding plant. Sweet potato vines are native to the tropics and are not at all frost hardy. Blackened or mushy leaves indicate that the plant has frozen and will not recover. Pull it up and discard it. In addition to brown or discolored leaves, you may notice stunted growth, especially during dry weather. As the nematodes feed, the plant is unable to take up water and nutrients, and eventually dies. To prevent nematodes, plant sweet potato vines in a clean pot with new potting mix each year. There is no cure for these diseases. Look for signs of insect infestation, such as eggs or insects on the undersides of the leaves, or a sticky substance known as honeydew secreted by leafhoppers and other leaf sucking insects.
- Sweet Potato Growing Guide
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System; Ornamental Sweet Potato Vine; Tony Glover
- University of Arkanas Extension; Ornamental Sweet Potato
- Clemson University Cooperative Extension; Irish and Sweet Potato Diseases; Marjan Kluepfel,, et al.; 2004
- Clemson University Extension; Sweet Potato Insects; Randall P. Griffin, et al.; 2004