Rent Shop Volunteer Join

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

Vine to cover fence line in Bridgeport, Texas
December 04, 2009 - We are looking for a year round vine that will cover our fence line. Flowering and non-flowering.
view the full question and answer

Vine for yard with morning sun in California
May 24, 2014 - Hi, What is a good perennial vine to grow on the front of our house? We would like a fragrant flower too. It will be on a wood support beam, helping cover some pipes we have there. It will be an e...
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine for shade in Southern California
May 11, 2012 - Flowering climbing plant for shade in Palm Desert, CA.
view the full question and answer

Vines for Madison, Wisconsin
March 12, 2015 - What are some good options for non-aggressive native vines for southern Wisconsin? I am looking for something that can cover a chain-link fence and benefit local insects. I don't want it to take ov...
view the full question and answer

Native evergreen vine for East Texas
June 21, 2014 - Can you please recommend a native vine (western edge of East Texas in the pines) that will be evergreen and fast growing? It will get about 4 to 5 hours of sun on my moongate. Flowers a plus, but not ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.