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 - 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

Vines for Austin, Texas
July 23, 2010 - I have heavy clay soil that is very wet during rainy season. I would like to plant climbing, blooming native. Crossvine and trumpet creeper are doing well but need another vine for an area that gets f...
view the full question and answer

Vines for an arbor
November 02, 2012 - We're building an arbor in a 9 1/2 x 12-ft area on the south side of an urban lot. It's bordered by two-story buildings on the south and west and has a tall,sparsely leaved pecan tree on its northea...
view the full question and answer

Mexican species Orbexilum melanocarpum.
January 04, 2013 - This is not a question; just a note to supplement a previous MSP post answering a query about a source for Orbexilum. The "mountain pea" that the original questioner was asking about is the e...
view the full question and answer

Propagation of wild grape vines
July 14, 2004 - How can I propagate wild grape vines where I want them to grow?
view the full question and answer

Tough, Non-toxic Vine to Cover Fence in Washington
February 16, 2014 - I have about 150 feet of 6-foot high chain link fence that I would like to cover with a vine for privacy. I really want an evergreen or semi-evergreen plant that requires very little care. I also don...
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