Time for a Haircut

A common rule for containers is they need a "thriller", a "spiller", and a "filler".  One of the go to spillers for many gardeners is sweet potato vine.  Before this year I definitely like the stuff.  It wasn't true love, sweet potato is a little too utilitarian for that, but I was okay with it being in the garden.

We put some on our blue pots that are around our pool this spring.  It looked okay for a time, but then they began to take on the look of a chartreuse ball.  They weren't really trailing, they instead resembled a shrub.  Very full and thick, rounded, and covering EVERTHING else.  I tried to pinch them back.  I tried selectively taking our stems.  Neither option worked.   The were not doing it for me at all this year.  Whenever I glanced at the three pots, I was secretly cursing the stupid sweet potato vines in my head.  In fact, often it wasn't actually in my head.  My husband (the true Plant Geek) and daughter have heard way too much about them.

So I went out the other morning in my pajamas and cut them off.  Literally, took the pruners and cut them down to little nubs.  They should re-sprout and grow into weird sweet potato balls again, and honestly, I might chop them off again.

Look how much better it looks.  There are even entire plants that were formally covered by their balls of foliage that now can be seen.  I'm no longer convinced that these pots need a spiller to soften their edges.  I think the smaller pots and plants around them do the job just fine.

More than likely there will be no more sweet potato vine for us, at least not in these pots.  There are a few places where it hasn't become a "gardening don't", but it may be time to try something new in it's place.  After all it's always good to challenge ourselves to be more creative.

What "gardening don'ts" have you committed in your garden?  Have you ever taken somewhat drastic measures to fix them?


  1. That is a more finely cut sweet potato vine, so maybe its behavior is a little different? I love regular sweet potato vine, as it spills so nicely. You have quite the nice collection of potted plants! My 'dont's' are usually putting the wrong plant in the wrong place. Every season I usually have to shuffle plants around, and I have dug up entire gardens before to move plants around!

  2. I definitely think it's this variety. We have a volunteer burgundy one that's pretty nice on the ground and a green one in some pots and a hanging baskets that's okay. I think I'm just ready for something different. I just need to figure out what it's going to be.

  3. I think gardening in your pajamas is definitely a "no no" however, I end up doing it also. I don't mean to, I am only going to...and then don't stop.

    Jeannie @ GetMeToTheCountry.Blogspot.com

    ps: I like it trimmed back better also.

    1. I garden far too often in my pajamas for my own good. Especially when I'm hybridizing daylilies. It's definitely not the best look.


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