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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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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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Monday - April 11, 2011

From: Duluth, MN
Region: Midwest
Topic: General Botany
Title: Starting a sweet potato in water in Duluth MN
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

I am trying to start a sweet potato plant in water. I noticed 3 days after it's in water, there is white finger like(hairy) areas at the tip of the bottom of the potato and also on the sides. I have also noticed the same hairy substance in my good soil, I started as a hot bed for herbs. Can you help me??

ANSWER:

Ipomoea batata, sweet potato,  is related to native Ipomoea pandurata (Man of the earth) and other morning glory vines. The sweet potato itself is native to South America and therefore out of our area of expertise. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is dedicated to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the areas in which the plants grow natively. While we cannot help you directly, since it is not in our Native Plant Database, we have found some websites that give instructions on sprouting the sweet potato. We found no mention of hairy substances, and are presuming that is some sort of beginning rootlet, but don't know for sure.

From Garden Web Forum How to Start a Sweet Potato Vine

Suite 101: Grow a Sweet Potato vine

 

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