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

Restoring the woods in Central Austin.
May 08, 2012 - I live in Austin, south central between Red Bud trail close to the low water bridge and Bee Caves road. My question: I want to make the wooded sections of my yard attractive. They have filtered sun...
view the full question and answer

Care for California lilacs from Portland OR
January 16, 2014 - Hi There, We live in the Portland Oregon area, so temps are moderate and winters are wet. We have several California Lilacs that are about 7ft in height and have created the perfect screen. Love th...
view the full question and answer

Native landscaping plants for Sherman, Texas
December 19, 2007 - We are starting from scratch on landscaping our new yard. We live in Sherman, TX and I would like to use plants and flowers that are native to Texas and have a good chance of surviving. What are you...
view the full question and answer

Native perennials for Donley County, TX
July 16, 2009 - What are the best perennials to plant in Donley County, TX?
view the full question and answer

Privacy Hedge Suggestions for Tampa, Florida
May 15, 2014 - My back wall is made of stone and is about 6' high. We are very close to a busy road. I need a plant that will reach about 7-8 feet high or a hedge to reduce some of the noise. What plant/hedge would...
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