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
2 ratings

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


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???


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


More Diseases and Disorders Questions

Sap dripping from redbud in Bertram, TX
March 03, 2014 - Our multi-trunked Texas redbud has sap dripping down 3 of the trunks. It seems to originate from a very small crack in each trunk. The tree is just starting to show pink this week, and is about to blo...
view the full question and answer

Should I use wound paint when pruning my live oak tree?
February 04, 2010 - When trimming live oak branches, is it best to coat the wound on the tree? I have been doing this but have recently heard that it can actually be bad for the tree.
view the full question and answer

Recovery of water-stressed Agarita
August 11, 2014 - Hello! I planted a small agarita at the end of May and then left town for six weeks. During that time it was supposed to receive weekly deep irrigations to help it establish, but it seems that som...
view the full question and answer

Failure to thrive of pecan trees in Las Vegas NV
October 11, 2009 - In April this year I purchased two 8-foot tall pecan trees in 3-foot square boxes from a local nursery and planted them here in Southern Nevada. I'm sure I dug a large enough hole to provide plenty ...
view the full question and answer

Freeze-damaged Texas Mountain Laurel in Austin, TX.
May 05, 2011 - I have a Texas Mountain Laurel (Sophora secundiflora) that is several years old. During this past winter, one of the freezes we had split one of the largest trunk right below the soil line. T...
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.
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center