Lower South

May, 2006
Regional Report

Favorite or New Plant

White Potato Vine
The white potato vine (Solanum jasminoides) is relative of potatoes and tomatoes. It produces a moderately vigorous vine growing to 15 feet, which does well along a fence or up a trellis if you help it along (it lacks tendrils or "holdfasts" for support). Clusters of white blooms adorn the plant from spring to fall and show up well against the glossy, dark green leaves. It does well in full sun but can take a surprising amount of shade, where its white blooms really show off. White potato vine has proven to be generally hardy to zone 8b. All parts of the plant are poisonous if ingested.

Clever Gardening Technique

Temporary Shade for New Transplants
If you are setting out a row of transplants or planting seeds in the heat of summer, the scorching sun can burn the tender seedlings. Take a section of stiff fencing wire and bend it into a "C" shape to set over the row. This creates a Quonset hut-type structure. Then use a section of shade cloth and attach it with clothespins to the wire to provide shade. Place it on the wire so that the plants are shaded from the hot midday to afternoon sun. After a week or so, they won't need the shade anymore and the wire can be removed.

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