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?

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
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

Monday - July 14, 2008

From: San Angelo , TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Non-Natives, Planting, Shrubs
Title: Pruning blue potato tree (Lycianthus rantonnei)
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

I wrote earlier about a blue potato tree(Lycianthus rantonnei) the top appears dead but if you break a branch it is still green, what would happen to it if I cut all the branches forming at the bottom making a bush? I would rather have a tree. Thank you

ANSWER:

Okay, so you have Lycianthes rantonnettii (syn: Solanum rantonnettii) (blue potato bush) rather than Solanum macranthum (syn: Solanum wrightii) (Blue potato tree or Brazilian potato tree). It isn't native to North America either and, thus, is not in our area of expertise. You would be better served by joining a gardening forum such as Garden Web which happens to have a current discussion on the blue potato bush. Many sites (e.g., Gardening in South Africa) advise pruning it so I don't see how removing those lower branches could hurt. However, you might want to wait to be sure the top leafs out again before you take off the lower branches.

 

 

More Shrubs Questions

Potted Plumbago, struggling with the heat, in Spring Texas
June 29, 2011 - Why do some of the leaves of my plumbagos that are grown in large, well-draining planters turn brown? The brown starts on the tips, then extends to the whole leaf. They get several hours of west aft...
view the full question and answer

Native plants for full sun in Austin
April 03, 2009 - I am looking for a tough, native TX plant to put in full sun location between the sidewalk and street. I would love for it to flower all summer. There is some irrigation but not much. I don't want ...
view the full question and answer

Plants for southwest Louisiana courtyard
December 29, 2009 - Hi, I live in southwest Louisiana,very close to Texas. I would like to remove the grass in my townhome backyard (east sun exposure) and create a courtyard by adding pavers. However I am planning on...
view the full question and answer

Do female possumhaws require male to bloom?
January 02, 2009 - Do female possumhaws require a male nearby to bloom? I've read that about yaupon hollies, but not possumhaws specifically. Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Need help identifying a deciduous weedy shrub in Ridgefield, CT.
September 01, 2010 - My overgrown property is blanketed in a deciduous weedy shrub. Its not Autumn Olive. The stems have large thorns and the shrub is comprised of many thick woody stems that, when cut have a distinctive ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center