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 - 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

Shade tolerant plants for erosion from Austin
May 03, 2014 - I live in Austin and my house backs up to Shoal Creek. I am looking for a native creeping vine or something that will grow on the shaded bank to help prevent erosion. It should be able to tolerate the...
view the full question and answer

Should grape vines be covered in winter from San Antonio
February 07, 2011 - Do I need to cover grape vines in winter?
view the full question and answer

Plant to hang over and cover a wall
May 21, 2010 - HI! this is a stumper for me! I have a 6 foot wall bracing a hill on one side and a lawn on the other. It is currently cement and I would like to find something to cover it --evergreen would be the...
view the full question and answer

Identification of vine in Louisiana
July 06, 2011 - I have two vines in my backyard. I've looked at pictures of each and they both keep coming up "virginia creeper." However, both are different. Neither causes an allergic reaction. One has leaflets ...
view the full question and answer

Flowering vine for summer sun in Southern California
November 26, 2013 - Hi and thanks for this great site. 1)Southern CA -- South facing wall(lattice on top)total height 7ft with mature Boston Ivy-- Viburnum tinus and Euonymus at base. THE PROBLEM: East 25% (25ft) has b...
view the full question and answer

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