Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

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

 

More General Botany Questions

Why plants grow in very hot or very cold areas from Edison NJ
October 06, 2013 - Why can some plants grow where very cold or very hot?
view the full question and answer

Do yuccas die after blooming?
October 11, 2010 - We have a blue yucca which was planted 2 years ago and is just now blooming with a tower of white flowers. Will the entire plant die after blooming as the century plants do? If so, is there a way to s...
view the full question and answer

Ways to group plants
April 14, 2009 - Are deciduous plants and leaves and roots ways to group plants? I need the answer now; tell me the answer if some are wrong?
view the full question and answer

Is there a flower that blooms only once in seven years?
December 17, 2008 - Just wanted to know if there exists a flower that blooms only once in seven years? Thank you!
view the full question and answer

Which one is huajillo and which one is guajillo?
November 19, 2013 - Recently I attended a field trip to the Leonard Garden at the Kleberg Institute in Kingsville. I took a picture of a tree that was referred to as Tenaza or huajillo. Later I took another photo of a ...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.