The potato vine has long been popular as a garden ornamental in the United Kingdom and is now gaining popularity in the United States as well. The plant adds striking summer interest with a nice bushy form and bright violet flowers. But this potato tree won’t grow just anywhere, at least if you want it to survive the winter
The USDA recently released new zoning for the entire United States based on recent environmental changes that have gradually warmed all the regions. That said, you might be able to enjoy potato vine in your garden where you previously may not have been able to 30 years ago. To see how much things have changed, check out this arbor day zone change map; I think you’ll find it pretty surprising!
Technically, the plant thrives in zones 8a and above. That includes a lot of southern and western states but unfortunately leaves out the breadbasket area, Rocky Mountains, and the east coast. Sorry folks. If you really want to grow this, you’ll be forced to seed it every year because it will die back with each frost. Potato vine is very popular in California, Texas, and Florida (among the southern states). However, it can be grown in cooler climates in Washington and Oregon as well, at least in areas west of the Cascade Mountain range. Many growers have reported success growing Solanum from Maple Valley, WA to coastal Florence, Or. There have even been reports of growth up in British Columbia in zone 7b!!
If you live in a cooler climate, it probably helps the plant to keep it close to a house wall for protection from wind and cold. Paghat has a garden in zone 8 and successfully grows potato vine; check out the pictures and story here. If you live in 7b, it sounds like it might be worth a try integrating Solanum crispumin your garden! If you live in a place where potato vine and other warm weather plants might succumb to freezing temperatures, this may be your long term solution
Do you have potato vine in your garden? Where do you live? Let us know or send us a picture!