En Español

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Sunday - November 11, 2007

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Vines
Title: Culture of a potato vine
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

This spring I was given a potato to grow. The lady called it a potato vine. Do you know anything about this vine?

ANSWER:

We might need a little more specific information to answer that one. There are just a whole bunch of potatoes, from sweet potatoes to ornamental sweet potatoes, Yukon golds, on and on. Anyone who has ever forgotten a potato in a vegetable bin will tell you they all sprout easily, and all result in vining plants. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the use of plants native to North America to help preserve and protect our environment. Potatoes of various types are native to South America, but most have been cultivated in North America for a long time.

One of our plant experts believes you are probably talking about Solanum jasminoides, and this link is to a website where you can get a description and picture. One concern is that if the Solanum jasminoides is in a mild or warm climate, it could become invasive. We would like to warn you that were this plant to escape from cultivation, it could be a threat to plants in other areas. Since it is probably not cold hardy in the Austin area, this is not a great danger, but one we hope you will be aware of. It can be grown in USDA Zone 9 and sheltered portions of USDA Zone 8. If you feel the plant you were given is a different species, perhaps you could send us a picture for better identification. See the lower right hand corner of the Mr. Smarty Plants opening website page for instructions on e-mailing picture to us.

 

More Vines Questions

Questions about Clematis virginiana in Austin, TX.
August 26, 2011 - Hello! I have a few questions regarding Clematis virginiana. Is it scented? Does it attract birds and butterflies? Do only female flowers get the feathery plumes? If yes, how do I know if ...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vining plant with red berries in California
January 28, 2016 - We found a vining plant next to and growing in our stream with gorgeous purple leaves in the fall after frost and a few sporadic clusters of smooth small red berries with little thorns on the vine. We...
view the full question and answer

Vines for arbor in North Carolina
September 14, 2008 - Please identify vines that can be used for an arbor that fronts my garage and a portion of the house. Living in Zone 6, the arbor faces southwest. My interest is that the vine be non-invasive because...
view the full question and answer

Planting Wisteria frutescens Against a House in Wisconsin
October 01, 2015 - I have a question about Wisteria frutescens ('Amethyst Falls'). I know it's far less aggressive than the non-native species, but how aggressive is its root system? Can I plant it close to my house ...
view the full question and answer

Vine non-toxic to alpacas and dogs from Fowler CA
June 29, 2012 - We have alpacas and would like to plant a flowering vine on a backyard fence that adjoins the pasture. We live in Central California so we have many hot days during the summer and would like a plan...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center