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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 is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Saturday - June 12, 2010

From: El Dorado Hills, CA
Region: California
Topic: Non-Natives, Diseases and Disorders
Title: Non-native blue potato bush in El Dorado Hills CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I have two blue potato bush topiary planted in my front porch in a very big planter. It's getting a full afternoon sun. I am wondering why they are losing their leaves??? Am I overwatering them??? Also, how much water do they need considering the amount of heat they're getting. When is the best time to water them???

ANSWER:

Solanaceae  lycianthes. synonym Lycianthes rantonetti, common names Paraguay Nightshade or blue potato vine, take your pick. All are native to Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and other areas of South America. All are part of the Nightshade family, to which eating potatoes and tomatoes also belong. Most parts of these plants are poisonous, even the unripe fruits, but the fruits on most of them can be eaten. Since they are non-native to North America and therefore  not in our Native Plant Database, we have found some references that might help you. When you are reading forums, you need to remember that these are not experts writing the responses, but they are gardeners who have some experience with your plant. 

Dave's Garden Forum: Blue Potato Bush

gardenguide.com How to Plant and Care for Blue Potato Bush

eHow.com How to Plant and Care for Blue Potato Bush

 

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