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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.

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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.

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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!

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Tuesday - July 08, 2008

From: San Angelo, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives
Title: Question about non-native blue potato tree
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I have a blue potato tree that I planted last summer, the top looks dead but isn't, the bottom has grown into a bush, help what can I do?

ANSWER:

Mr. Smarty Plants supposes you are talking about Solanum macranthum (syn: Solanum wrightii) (Blue potato tree or Brazilian potato tree), a native of Brazil. Here are more photos and more information. Our focus and expertise here at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center are with plants native to North America and, therefore, we aren't going to be of much help to you with your non-native blue potato tree. If the top isn't really dead, wait awhile and perhaps it will leaf out again. If you don't mind having a bush instead of a tree, you could try trimming the top down to the area where it is leafy. Better yet, I suggest you join one of the gardening forums, such as the University of British Columbia (UBC) Botanical Garden Forum, The Garden Forums, GardenWeb Forums , or Helpful Gardener Gardening Forums where you might find someone who has a blue potato tree and has had a similar problem.

 

 

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