En EspaŅol

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?


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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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


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


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

Blooming but not berrying American bittersweet from Pendleton IN
May 29, 2013 - I have had a bittersweet plant for years, it blooms but not berries. How do I tell if it is male or female so I can buy the opposite? It is currently blooming.
view the full question and answer

Vine like blackberry with 3 leaves & thorns in Florida
July 08, 2009 - What vine looks like a blackberry vine but has three leaves and thorns?
view the full question and answer

Vine with red berries in North Carolina
November 04, 2011 - I found a plant/ vine pink teardrop with red berries in the Pusgah Forest in North Carolina and no on knows the name of it. I have a photo, can you help?
view the full question and answer

Possibility of using vinegar solutions for weed control
February 29, 2008 - What is your suggestion about the control of weeds - do you consider vinegar solutions environmentally friendly?
view the full question and answer

Mystery berries on vine in Montgomery County, TX
August 09, 2013 - While out in the woods today on Caney Creek near Grangerland, Texas, I found what I thought to be some grapes on a vine hanging down from a tree. I brought the vine down, but when I got it home to pr...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center