Explore Plants

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
    
 

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 - June 13, 2011

From: Morgan Hill, CA
Region: California
Topic: Vines
Title: Problems with non-native Potato vine from Morgan Hill CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Greetings from Morgan Hill. CA. I have moved into a home that has a fairly mature (10 years +/-) Potato Tree which has some blue/purple flowers but very few new leaves, it looks almost barren. It gets 8 hrs sunlight, regular watering (in lawn) and good soil. Everything else in the yard is growing great, But this poor tree looks sad. Small birds are using it to roost near a bird feeder. Maybe eating new buds? Thanks,

ANSWER:

We had to take your word on it that there was such a thing, as we had never heard of it. Turns out it is a Chilean Potato Vine, or Blue Potato Vine, as described in this article. We are assuming that is what you are talking about.

Actually, it appears there are two, both in the Solanum, genus, related to potatoes. One, Solanum macranthum is native to Brazil; the other, Solanum crispum, is the Chilean plant.

Obviously, both are tropicals and non-native to North America. The Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center is committed to the growth, protection and propagation of plants native not only to North America but to the area in which the plants are being grown.

We found one more article on Solanum macranthum, with some growing and care information, but nothing about the problem you mention. Since it is not in our Native Plant Database, and also a tropical that probably wouldn't grow in Texas, so we could maybe find someone with experience with it, we are suggesting you contact the University of California Cooperative Extension Office for Santa Clara County.

 

More Vines Questions

Identification of vine in New York
May 15, 2012 - I have a flowering vine that grows against my home and I'm not sure what it is, but it's beautiful with a delicate scent. The flowers look like clusters of mini purple pea pods hanging downward befo...
view the full question and answer

South Austin Groundcovers for Oak Shade
March 29, 2013 - Hi! I live in S. Austin now but used to work at the Wildflower Center! My backyard is shady with several oak mots. Do you have any suggestions as to what if any ground cover will grow in all that sha...
view the full question and answer

Purple Passionflower as a native in Charlottesville VA
September 18, 2013 - Is it possible to grow purple passion flower as a perennial in zone 7? I am looking for hummers and butterflies to be attracted by the plant. Thank you.
view the full question and answer

Is there a vine in Indiana with poisonous thorns?
December 27, 2011 - I was cut at the left big toe by a brownish/red thorny vine while tracking thru dry grass near the bridge exiting 278. I'm from Indianapolis, in 46208. Was wondering if I was exposed to a poisonous v...
view the full question and answer

Vine to cover concrete retaining wall in Georgetown TX
March 02, 2013 - I have an unsightly concrete retaining wall and culvert covers that require fast coverage from a vine of some sort. The plant must be deer resistant and drought tolerant. The retaining wall and culv...
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.