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Potato Plant - motaka - 12-06-2006

Have two potato plant: 1) lush green leaves with abundant of purple flowers; 2) very sparse little leaves with abundant orange berries. Plant one year ago, same time 10 feet apart next to fense with afternoon sun (Zone 9). Why are the plants different? At time of purchase the plant were alike with green leaves and purple flowers. When should I prune these plants?

Re: Potato Plant - KimmSr - 12-08-2006

Potatoes are usually grown as a food crop not an ornamental. If what you have is an ornamnetal with a common name of "Potato Plant" we need a better name for it since nothing comes up under that name besides the vegetable.

Re: Potato Plant - IntrepidMeredith - 12-10-2006

Could the green leaf/purple flower one be sweet potato vine? Maybe the second plant was mislabeled? I know sometimes the tags at the nurseries can fall out of the pots, and a well-meaning customer (or novice big box store employee) could have put a tag back in the wrong pot.

Not knowing exactly what the plants are, it's hard to say when to prune them. The best rule of thumb I can give is, if it seems to flower on the previous year's growth (usually in early to mid spring), then prune immediately after flowering. If it seems to grow on new growth (usually sometime late spring through fall), then prune in early spring before new growth begins. (You can actually prune at any time; it's just that pruning at the so-called 'wrong' time will lessen, rather than hopefully enhance, the number of flowers that you'll see the following season.)