Air Potato Dioscorea bulbifera

wacalmJanuary 1, 2002

HELP!!!! Have been looking for this vine. Does anyone have some "potatoes" to share. Tell me what you would like and maybe I have it.

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You may want to post this on the Plant Exchange but before doing so, you may want to do a search as this plant can be very invasive in warm climates.

Here is a link that might be useful: Dioscorea bulbifera

    Bookmark   January 2, 2002 at 10:12AM
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miSago(z9 Fl Island)

yeah, if you were my neighbor and planted it, I'd be upset...come over at night and kill it

    Bookmark   January 2, 2002 at 12:06PM
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Hi! I have some!! I grow it w/ blue potato vine in a huge pot. Now its in the greenhouse. I'll check for taters-- if these folks haven't talked you out of wanting one! LISA

    Bookmark   January 2, 2002 at 4:05PM
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Anyone have a tuber I can sase for? Very interested. (My neighbors are a long way away)...thanks!
Deb in Oregon

    Bookmark   January 21, 2002 at 1:49AM
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I have what I have been told is the old fashioned potato vine, that grow potatos on the vine itself. It doesn't bloom, but it has beautiful leaves(heart shaped) and as big as plates. The potatos can get as big as softballs.
I have a few I would be willing to part with...Donna

    Bookmark   March 1, 2002 at 8:46PM
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It was interesting to read of air potato being such a pest. I understand in Florida it is really a bane. Here, where the weather is normally so hot and dry, we really have to pamper the little boogers to get a pretty vine growing. I like them, and I think there is little danger of them becoming invasive here, where they are more of a novelty than a nuisance.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2002 at 7:15PM
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ronk37(z5 NE)

Invasive texascuda? heck i cant even get them to sprout!!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2002 at 10:50PM
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LOL. To ronk37, "Patience, Grasshoppa".

    Bookmark   March 20, 2002 at 9:52AM
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Well, I'll add another "bane" about it. Even in Arkansas, it's something I've been pulling out of my flowerbed for over 14 years. I foolishly allowed some to grow in an azalea bed (silly me) and have been paying for it ever since. Even after moving 5 miles away, some tubers came with the azaleas.
Btw, it does flower from mature tubers and the scent of the flowers is very cinnamonny (it's only good feature).

    Bookmark   March 24, 2002 at 10:44AM
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To: MiSago

I'm a freelance writer from Colorado. I'm writing a story about this vine and I'd like to talk to you about your posting concerning this plant. Since now address is listed, I'd like to for you to contact me at

Many thanks,


    Bookmark   April 22, 2002 at 3:57PM
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If you need some of this root, I have more than plenty to share. I'll have to brave the ticks and thorns of other plants, so I hope you'll trade me something for my work to get it. Hee hee!
Karen Marie

    Bookmark   April 28, 2002 at 7:01PM
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If you're still looking for this, I back yard full.
Help yourself...

    Bookmark   July 5, 2002 at 8:58PM
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Thanks everyone for all the info posted on this vine. Here in central Mississippi, the tubers have been passed between gardeners for years. But, nobody knew the true name. I have searched for years for info with no success.Horticulturists that I have asked had no idea and asked me for tubers. When gardeners here lose their tubers they are known to stop at strangers houses where they are growing to ask for tubers. I had always heard the vine called a monkey ball vine. Here in zone 7 we treat the vine as an annual. you must save the tubers to have plants next year. This is a great plant to play stump the garden know it alls with in areas north of Florida. I would love to try some of the other varieties of this vine if anyone has tubers to share.

    Bookmark   August 17, 2002 at 11:56AM
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waterfall(Zone 7 NC)

Hi, I have one air potato, just recieved it in the mail, but I am not sure how to over winter it. Pot it up now and water or keep stored until spring? Thanks..... Paula

    Bookmark   September 20, 2002 at 5:08PM
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Well they die back here in zone 8 during the winter, so I imagine in z7 you should just wait till spring to plant it. Be careful when you plant it. I could never gert mine to grow or it took forever. I finally figured out I was planting them upside down! It's really hard to tell which end is up. Good luck!

    Bookmark   September 23, 2002 at 4:46PM
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In North La I have had excellent luck. We have planted several for the past 3 or 4 years close to any thing they can climb on.(trees, fences and trellis) Just before the 1st frost we pull the "taters" and save til spring when they start sprouting. The ones we plant in pots and place at the bottom of the trellis do just as well and maybe better than the ones in the ground.
If they continue to put on I will have some to share.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2002 at 9:05PM
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I've never seen it in flower, but it never fails to come back. It is native here. It can take a freeze (the taters) as long as they are in contact with the soil. It is most prevalent in creek bottoms.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2002 at 3:29AM
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I live in Central Florida.. and spent most of last fall and 2 large truckloads to get rid of these most evil vines. They may be fun up north. I ripped every leave and pulled what seems like miles of roots up.. they still come back like carpet. These are a Class 1 invasive plant. Most of the trees on my lot now have twice the foliage on them scince removing the vines.

to see growth of 10 to 30 feet a month is not out of the question for these vines.

They do look kinda nice with the big leavs but I would not wish this plague on my worst enemy.

A couple of more years and some herbicide and I may win the battle.. except for the woods full of them behind my house. They will be attacking from above now.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2002 at 11:09PM
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I am looking for different species of Dioscorea
anyone with any information please write me
I want to trade...
I have brugmansia, Ipomoea, and many others

    Bookmark   November 11, 2002 at 11:31PM
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I am an environmental educator, and I just returned from a conference on invasive species. Though I really enjoy gardening, I am still a beginner. However, I do know something about the impacts a single person can have on the environment. As I feel very strongly about educating people about these issues, I am writing to share some information. Please don't think I am preaching; it is my philosophy that people do the right thing, the best way they know how, and if you share knowledge, they are better equipped to know.
I have always felt that gardeners, in particular (because they get so much enjoyment from nature), should be informed of some problems they create and simple solutions they can use. One of the biggest problems environmentalists face is invasive species. They decrease biodiversity, and those that are successful are almost impossible to get rid of without serious detriment to the native plants and animals. Many invasive plants are introduced by gardeners (Chinese tallow, water hyacinth, etc.). I urge you to please, please be responsible and research exotic plants you are considering introducing. Most people are not aware that the vast majority of pollution comes from individuals, not industry. This nonpoint-source pollution comes from you and me in the form of fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, motor oil, etc. A very simple and effective solution is to develop a beautiful garden of native plants. Because they thrive there naturally, you don't need fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, you don't need to use extra water. If this is not acceptable to you, please research ways you can create the garden you desire using the most environmentally-friendly methods possible. Ideally, you would not grow air potatos where they are not native (certainly not where they take over), but if you must have them, perhaps there are ways to contain them. Happy Gardening!

    Bookmark   November 26, 2002 at 12:18PM
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I am soooo happy I finally found this discussion! I've been searching for weeks to identify the "potato vine" given to me by a friend. We live in deep south Texas and planted our potato under a mesquite tree in our yard. They are both doing well. The vine has grown in 6 months but is not "overgrown" and definitely is not overtaking anything. Does anyone else out there live in my zone and grow these? Also, do they put out tubers under the soil? If I pick up all the fallen potatos, will this help to eliminate unwanted spreading? Can anyone point me to a website for pics and more info? Thanks for any info you can send my direction!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2002 at 5:18PM
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drasaid(zone 8)

I'd like to know; sure could help get rid of it if it becomes invasive.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2002 at 8:43PM
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It's called an air potato for the obvious reason that the "tubers"/seeds are in the air.

This noxious weed is like wishing more kudzu on the fine people of Georgia. Just blink and it is sprouting up somewhere. I don't even toss this in my compost, goes right in the garbage for the garbage people to incinerate; think thats the only way to kill it.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2002 at 4:30PM
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Dioscorea species true yam. Tender perennial vines with tuberous roots, some native to Mexico. The inedible tubers are rich in saponins and are used in the manufacture of hormones used in medicines and birth control drugs.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2002 at 7:35AM
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Being a native floridian, I have had some experience with this noxious weed. It is not a true potato & all it has to do is come in contact with soil (the tuber) & away it goes to multiply. I have seen them 25 or 30 ft. up in trees. They surely are a pest here.

    Bookmark   December 11, 2002 at 9:26PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

My sister give me some this past winter and I am wondering when I need to plant them? They are trying to sprout now in the bag they are I have had them in an open zip lock bag in the bottom of my pantry all winter. Went to cleaning out the pantry day before yesterday and noticed sprouts on them. I am in Mississippi and in zone 8 and in an open field basically so I NEEEEEEED some shade!!! Can any of you tell me when to plant them? I have several so I don't think potting them would work. Don't want what few bulbs that I do have to freeze. I wanted to put them on an arbor.
I was looking up info on them to find out when I could plant the bulbs when I found this thread going on them. :)

    Bookmark   March 13, 2003 at 11:42PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

When can I plant them? Does anyone know?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2003 at 11:10PM
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I have had no problem with my air potato becoming invasive here in the Houston area. It comes back regularly and I let it run all over this big old cedar stump. I trained another up an arbor to provide shade for my back porch. I love their big heart-shaped leaves. I just pick all the taters each fall at first frost. I picked a Walmart bag full this year. Some got the size of softballs. When you plant them, the new vine and roots emerge from the 'eye' where it was attached to the vine. I forgot some last year and they sprouted in the house.

I have much more problems with the purple sweet potato vine becoming invasive. I'm constantly battling it trying to jump the sidewalk and head for the yard. Talking tubers!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2003 at 9:27PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

I was thinking about planting some of them on the west side of my house. My front porch faces the west and my daughters room gets sooooooo hot from the sun. I put some wire up there on the eve of the porch 2 summers ago for a vine but haven't gotten one to climb it yet and fill it up. The moonvine come close to filling it up but it wasn't thick enough.
Do the air potatoes have tindrils like boston ivy? I was kind of worried about planting it if it did because it might try to climb the My sister give me some of her air potatoes so I don't know anything about them but that there pretty! lol
DH and I started a patio roof last summer and he still hasn't gotten the tin on it. I was evening thinking of planting a potato at each post and letting it climb all over the frame we've got up so far. It should cover it by the heat of the summer if it does like everyone says it will do. That would give me the MUCH NEEDED shade I am wanting for my patio and my pond.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2003 at 10:51PM
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georgia_gardener(z7 GA)

Hello! I just planted some of these "potatoes" in the spring that were given to me by my sister-in-law who lives in Louisiana. I had given up on them sprouting, especially when some had been dug up out of the pot, when I found two of them the squirrels had stolen and planted in the yard doing very well! Although all of the vines are growing well, they haven't gone "crazy" and the leaves are very attractive. The squirrels planted them in a pot and in the ground. I planted mine in a pot. Some are in full sun and one is in the shade. My s.i.l. said hers don't flower...that would be nice, though. I haven't found any potatoes growing yet, but I understand that they will be above ground on the vine. Mine (and the squirrels') were all planted just under the surface of the soil. The Morning Glorys that grow in my yard are much more invasive, but beautiful!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2003 at 10:09PM
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njoynit(Z8b Coastal ~secluded)

I plopped mine in a jar of water and presto shoot on way up and seems fine is out in yard in a planter with a bamboo stick araping its lil heart out...was told could overwinter indoors if gave plentry of light
got from friend who hs growing with his morningglorys as a screen on porch.looks nice

    Bookmark   September 2, 2003 at 2:35PM
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JUst a side note. The poster that recalls it by the name "monkey ball vine," reminded me that I had an aunt that called it "Old Man's Pe*ker vine"

It did provide a most welcome, cool shade for a porch in the hot south Georiga sun. I don't know how invasive it was there as she had nothing around the house except lawn.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2003 at 4:08PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

I've had no trouble with mine being invasive. I'm in zone 8. Mines making babies really well. I pulled all of them up but the one plant. We were redoing the patio because of the fountain and I had to pull the others up because they were in the way. But the one that I left for me some babies for next year is doing great.

    Bookmark   October 11, 2003 at 11:37PM
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gdon33(z8 TX)

My wife planted a tuber at our back yard fence 2 years ago and it has produced about 20 tubers from marble size to grapfruit size this year. Half of them were baseball size. When I picked the grapefruit size one off the vine, I wondered if this is considered large for a tuber since we have never seen one this big.

I think this twining vine puts out pretty large heart shaped leaves and is perfect for covering ugly fences in the summer time. They love the Texas heat. Just don't let them get near trees or shrubs or they will strangle them. Whats good about them in our area is they die out in December and restart themselves in March-April.

And since they twine and do not cling to things, they won't damage painted surfaces. I just pull the dead vine off the fence in the winter and wait for it to start again in the Spring.
I can see where this stuff could get invasive if left uncontrolled.
Has anyone else out there had grapefruit size tubers produced?

    Bookmark   December 24, 2003 at 11:43AM
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Does anyone know if these are toxic to animals?

    Bookmark   January 21, 2004 at 7:00PM
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I really need one of these vines.!!!

    Bookmark   January 23, 2004 at 8:32PM
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Does anyone have one to share, I've always wanted one, just didnt know what they were.

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 12:05AM
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teddi(z8 TX)

I'll take one! any one?? trade or SASE?

    Bookmark   January 27, 2004 at 4:07AM
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I can attest to their invasiveness. Never knew what they were when I was a kid, but they grew all over the place throughout the Saugahatchee creek swamp, in east-central AL.

    Bookmark   January 28, 2004 at 11:59AM
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FlowerLady6(z10 Fl)

I live in FL and these are horrible!!! We try to pick up all the potatoes that fall to the ground but alas... They are a tough vine and hard to pull out of the ground also. Yes they do have nice heart shaped leaves, but no flowers that I've ever seen. Just a nuisance!!! IMHO

    Bookmark   January 29, 2004 at 1:19PM
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They ones I am familuar with ARE toxic. You can plant them as you do most other plants "after last frost" and get good results.
Invasiveness: Well, almost any plant, given the right conditions and left unchecked can be concidered invasive.
Size: The new tubers (patatoes) can be any size from a marble to a large grapefruit. I have seen both sizes on plants their first year. It depends on soil condition, light, humidity...
It has been my experience that the more water you give them, the more humidity there is, and the more sun they get gives you the best results (Plant full blazing sun and try to drowned it every day with the hose and you will have a time keeping it in check). I do know that they do not particularly like clay soil in the shade. (thats how I killed my first one). If you dont want it to become invasive, do what people do, use birth control..(pick the new tubers and grind them and make mashed patatoes FOR YOUR COMPOST!) I hope that answers some of your questions.
A Vicksburgian in Europe

    Bookmark   February 12, 2004 at 4:05AM
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maypop(z7 NC)

If anyone has some tubers they don't need, I would love to have one. I'm new to the this site, so I would be happy to share. I do have some what we call "maypops", I would be happy to share. They grow wild in my back yard, and I try to save everyone I see. That is how I got my "handle" of maypop. I'm avid about saving native plants. They used to grow wild everywhere, but with the state trying to control roadside vegetation, housing development and chemicals used to control vegetation in farming now, a lot of the old plants are not going to make it. Anyway, to get off my soap box now. My father had one last year, and it never produced tubers or potatoes or balls. It was given to him by his brother who lives in Louisiana and is now deceased. He just thinks this is the perfect vine for his patio, and I would love to be able to get him one. If you would like to trade for a maypop, just let me know what I need to do and would be happy to send it to you.


    Bookmark   May 2, 2004 at 12:49PM
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Strange--I was at a nursery the other day & saw a vine
on a trellis in a pot. Looked just like a 5-leaf akebia.
Asked the vendor if it was akebia & she said, 'no, it's a
potato vine'. Asked her if it was Dioscorea but she didn't know the bot name. No tags on the plant. Any varieties of dioscorea look like akebia? Did not resemble any solanum that I'm familiar with, either.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2004 at 12:51AM
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I have been looking for these tubers!!! I will purchase or send SASE please!!!!

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 5:26PM
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Air Potato is the Kudzu of south Florida! I hate that vine! I can't get rid of it, no matter how hard I try! It literally eats acres of land around here.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2004 at 11:12PM
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I'm down here in z9b and these things areUNBELIEVEABLE. I've been battleing them for years. Two months ago I filled a 5 gallon bucket with them and then filled the bucket with water( to drown them), after a month I assumed they were dead!Well, I dumped the bucket, and within two weeks they were sprouting! Roundup only stunts them unless you spray the whole vine.And if there in a tree or shrub thats impossible. Two years ago I had a demolition crew come in here to remove an old mobile home, the bulldozer buried hundreds of them and the next spring.....! The neighborhood kids seem to get a perverse kick out of throwing them at each other, and where they land, they grow.I caught several kids in my Discorea Free Zone,my woods and cypress swamp, and they were having an "air potato fight" .After explaining the problems with that,calmly, I seem to remember, they picked up as many as they could find.But now I have a new front to fight them on.This IS the vine from Hell!!!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2004 at 10:28AM
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Each year this vine grows over my gate and looks
very nice.
Each winter, it is killed with the frost.

If any 'taters have dropped, they sprout.
If I don't want the sprouts there, I pull them up.

Pretty easy to tend to, but you can't just ignore them
or they will spread.

Because they grow where I enter and exit the
yard several times a day, it takes but a moment to pick
up a few of them on my way in and out. Of course, I'm
not that fussy about my garden, but I do keep an eye
on it and yank what I don't want there.

Pick up your potatoes. ;-)

    Bookmark   October 13, 2004 at 10:37PM
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tony_pman(7b/8a Al.)

I have grown them for years and have had no trouble with them. I have grown them in the sun and in shade. Most of the time the plant comes back. I live in Birmingham, if I lived just a little futher south the vine would be invasise. I have a suggestion for you 8b and below. Trade them with all the people asking for them on this thread. Maybe they could send you some of their mimosa's.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2004 at 10:29PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

My Mom planted some of the "cute little potatoes" in the yard years ago...everytime I see them I want to choke her! It's worse than kudzu!!

    Bookmark   October 18, 2004 at 10:33PM
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rootdiggernc(Z-7A NC)

After reading the horror stories on here I decided to grow one in a pot (someone gave me) to better control it. It did well this year and looked nice growing on a mini greenhouse. It did try to grab hold of another plant, but was able to control it fine this way. Also got a few potatoes. They're still on the vine but I'll gather them before it frost and store them for winter.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 11:03AM
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They aren't invasive in central AL. I don't think they come back unless you replant.

I store the taters in a ziplock bag in my laundry room over winter. In spring they sprout while still in the bag. Plant them with the sprout pointing up.

Seems weird... but if you plant them before they sprout be sure to plant them with the root end pointing up. The sprout comes out of the center of the root end.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2004 at 2:25PM
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After I woke up in the hospital, I was told I was hit on the head by an Air Potato the size of a coconut. I am still in recovery and was told I should be out of this wheelchair in a month or so. I started a little game here. I've planted one Solid acre of these taters that grow wild in the trees.....Thousands of those big ole taters! What we do is have bout a dozen of ma friends shake the trees loaded with them as we run. The winner has to run through the woods for five minutes while the Big Heavy taters Crash toward the ground and not git Knocked out......I lost! Lol.

    Bookmark   December 24, 2004 at 12:25AM
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angelfairy(Z-8 S.AL)

Some of these posts make me smile. I have been growing both Kudzu and Air Potatoes for over 30 yrs. with no problems. The key is "control". If you are a lazy gardener they will definitely get away from you eventually, but so does Bermuda grass. These two vines are some of the best for covering Pergolas, trellises, porches, etc. NO matter what you say, they will always have their die hard fans.....thank goodness!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2005 at 5:53PM
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barb_tx(z9a TX)

I have a nice size 'tater' sitting in my "office" if someone wants it. Barb

    Bookmark   January 25, 2005 at 3:27AM
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Bush4(10a/11 SSE FL)

It's most unfortunate that the Air Potato has a rather bitter taste. The vine is so prolific and productive here in south Florida, even the tiniest potato, smaller than an eraser head, can sprout a vine. Our goats eat the larger ones and our pigs eat the vine. I'd be willing to part with a few; simply email me with your request.

    Bookmark   January 30, 2005 at 4:36PM
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Helpful Reminder...

Squirels, racoons, birds and any other furry and cuddly critters that live near you might take tubers and plant them in natural areas. Since these creatures are very skilled gardeners, they will get them to grow and that is how they become invasive. You can control the roots all you want. Heck, you can even throw them in a trash can. Then when some wildlife decides to open your trash can and take the tuber to it's home, it then causes a problem. That is why you should not mess with this plant, especially when over 50% of the posts say it's terrible.

This concludes the helpful reminder

    Bookmark   February 1, 2005 at 2:42PM
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mistiaggie(z9A Tx)

Wow, so interesting about this because I had read an article not too long ago in a magazine in which the guy had planted air potato along a trellis by his house in Texas. I thought he was insane!

The point is, yes, a lot of things can be invasive to a gardener, but when it's becomes a problem is when it displaces natives or is causing eclogical damage, which air potato does here in Florida.

I guess the question becomes, do you ban it in other regions even though it isn't considered invasive there? Because as FLneedsTrees said it is spread by other animals, and I'm sure unwitting humans when they move to Florida.

Interesting topic.

    Bookmark   February 3, 2005 at 5:55PM
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A friend of mine was just looking at a garden magazine and saw a picture of these and decided we should grow these. Of course I needed to turn to the gardenweb to find out what they were. After reading this thread it sounds like a plant we could grow here in Minnesota without it becoming a problem, provided our growing season is long enough. I'm wandering if any of you southern gardeners in the Myrtle Beach area would have any extra bulbs to share? My parents are down there for another month and I'm sure they would go and pick them up for me if someone has any. Or if not, perhaps an idea where they could buy them at a nursery in the area. Shipping them to me would be more difficult because of the freezing temps. Thanks alot, my email address is cpalm@tekstar, Janny.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2005 at 3:57PM
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Sorry, growing this one in zones 8 and up in the Southeast is just not ethical. You may think your vine is "doing no harm", but it could very well be doing lots of harm. These noxious weeds clog watercourses throughout north Florida and readily grow in uplands as well. Each year tons of the "potatos" are harvested by volunteers and then burned. Yes, a beautiful vine, but like the chinese tallow tree, one to avoid if you care about the environment.

Here's link to a program in Florida. Before moving to Japan I participated in this round up. These are not nice plants to say the least. PF

Here is a link that might be useful: Round Up!

    Bookmark   February 16, 2005 at 5:57PM
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In Houston, this vine has an important purpose. This was passed down to me through my mother. It does substantially die down in hard winter, but during light weather it provides an excellent (and cheap I might add) privacy screen along a chain link fence. We have grown it for over 20 yrs and never, never had any problem with it taking over anything. I just moved to a new house in Houston and I NEED TATERS if anyone's got them or can tell me where to run get them locally. Thanks to all.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2005 at 6:10PM
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gardnpondr(Zone 8)

I have had mine for 3 summers now and have never had any trouble with it trying to take over either. My sister give me my first balls and then mine grew so many balls last summer that I shared with her and got her some to start over with. Hers died and she has had no trouble with them taking over either. I plan on planting one ball at each of the poles on my gazebo this year so I will have lots of shade for the gazebo.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2005 at 11:06PM
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I just posted on the plant exchange then ran across your post...I have plenty of these, and they're gorgeous!

    Bookmark   April 5, 2005 at 7:27AM
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The following link is to invasive plants of the southeast. It shows the states where potato vine is invasive. Hope this helps people with their decisions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Southeastern Invasives

    Bookmark   April 8, 2005 at 11:19AM
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I grew this last summer outdoors against a fence that a huge tree had fallen on, just to disguise it until I could remove the damage (hurricane)...I never fertilized my vine, but it still looked like it was 10X too big for the little 1-gallon pot. It bloomed like crazy though--maybe it blooms better potbound???

    Bookmark   April 12, 2005 at 1:35PM
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I would love a couple tubers of this if anyone is willing to share.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2005 at 3:38AM
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I have been searching for a fast growing vine to shield my courtyard from a monstrosity of an apartment building next door. I've tried several other types of vines and nothing seems to be happy in the location (it's very windy). If this vine would do well in large containers I'd like to give it a try. I'd be happy to send an SASE if anyone is willing to share a few of them.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2005 at 7:36PM
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Earlier in this thread I said this:

>They aren't invasive in central AL. I don't think they come back unless you replant.Well I stand corrected, at least about having to replant. I didn't replant this year and THEY'RE BAAAAACK, but not to the point of being invasive.

That's ok with me, I like them.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 8:41AM
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dado~Be aware that it's possible you'll have a vine sprout anywhere on of these 'taters' falls, hence planting them in containers probably won't "contain" them.

    Bookmark   June 3, 2005 at 8:46AM
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growinweeds(z9b FL)

Don't know if it is the same plant but I bought this at HD. It was labeled as a false potato. I planted it a month ago and it grows like crazy- already had to trim it once. No potato things in it though. I put clippings in a bucket of water and are rooting like mad.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 1:35PM
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Now that is a sweet potato vine (Ipomoea) and it is not invasive. Although it grows about a foot a day, it does not come back predictably thus it behaves more like and annual vine or groundcover.

    Bookmark   June 4, 2005 at 9:47PM
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rizzir(z7b TN)

It appears there are three different species of Dioscorea we are talking about here.

The one with coconut, softball, or grapefruit-sized bulbils ("tubers") is Dioscorea bulbifera and it can grow up to 80 feet in length and has large leaves. This is the monster eating southern Florida. It appears to crave high humidity and frequent rainfall, so that is why it is not as much of a pest further north or in dry parts of Texas.

Dioscorea alata is a much less common variety with squared stems that almost have "wings" off of them. It doesn't flower worth noting or have very large leaves, and so there doesn't seem to be much interest in cultivating it here in the U.S. so its unlikely most of the folks on this discussion have it. It does get the attractive leaves even though they are smaller, and it does grow quickly and could be a pest if given the chance, as could the others. It also does not appear to be capable of overwintering outside of the deep south.

Dioscorea oppositifolia, the Chinese yam, is the one with the cinnamony-smelling flowers. It has smaller leaves, and does not attain the lengths of the others, though one plant can grow a healthy 10 feet or more. The bulbils are not usually bigger than golf balls and most are pea-sized, but every one of them can sprout a vine in areas with high humidity and moisture. The leaves are glossy and handsome, and the vine tough and stringy. It could easily crawl over low native plants and shrubs and kill them due to its ability to thicky shade. The bulbils can stand southern winters just fine... therefore this vine is considered invasive even in Kentucky. This vine has the propensity to get away from you because the tiny bulbils can fall due to the vine being shaken, brushed, or even blown by wind. It can easily make hundreds of pea-sized bulbils. Add to this that these bulbils taste better than the other varieties and you have a recipe for them being spread by wildlife as well as gravity.

That being said, my current infestation of this vine in East Tennessee is no worse than my infestation of chokevine, morning glories, or Japanese honeysuckle, all of which tend to have the same habit. I have found that if I can't get the root up, repeated pulling of the vine at its base eventually exhausts the tuber. Round up is also effective.

I feel that growing one or two vines in a pot, and pulling the bulbils off as they form (much like deadheading annuals) would probably contain this vine even in states where it is considered invasive. Each gardener should strongly consider whether s/he has the time to dedicate to doing so before committing to this plant. I can tell you that cleaning up after someone else's infestation was not gratifying ;-) And the vines, left to their own devices, do not flower - it takes true cultivation to achieve it (which explains why it performs better in a pot.)

    Bookmark   June 15, 2005 at 2:35AM
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I am currently doing a science fair on these vines. If anyone has any ideas for an experiment that would be grea. My email is .......thank you

    Bookmark   November 5, 2005 at 11:20AM
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I'm begging you, don't propagate these things. They are SO invasive, so horrible.... They are as bad, or worse, than kudzu. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE find something else.

    Bookmark   July 6, 2006 at 2:57PM
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All you folks who have decided you absolutely need this vine please please do your homework. Those who are saying they keep this vine under control work at it. But what happens when the controlers move away and the next owner is not a gardner. Please just think about it.

My neighbor asked me to help her transplant some cattails from a marshy area enclosed by concrete to the open marsh behind her house. Research told us that their growth is "rampent". We decided she should container grow or just enjoy them down the block.

Kudzu is a rather nice looking, shady vine when there is only one.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2006 at 10:52AM
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Misago,Your yappy dog would end up missing if you killed my air potato plant.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 7:59AM
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I moved to Mt. Dora Florida in 1999. My fences are covered in Dioscorea bulbifera. They are interesting, attractive, and have been no problem at all.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2007 at 11:03AM
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mistiaggie(z9A Tx)

Carlos: yet they are considered class 1 invasives in Florida. May look good in your yard but you are doing a huge disservice to everyone else's yards and nearby natural areas by keeping it.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 4:08PM
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mistiaggie(z9A Tx)
    Bookmark   March 5, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Seems everyone can grow these but me! My cousin sent me a box of these from Texas. I planted them, some under mulch, some on top of the ground some under the ground, NOTHING! I have not seen a single sprout. Can any one suggest what I am doing wrong. My Aunt tells me she had one on a self in her basement and it sprouted . I do not understand! Maybe it needs warmer weather, we are just starting to warm up here on the coast of NC. Thank you

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 9:32AM
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cathys1951(z8 GA)

I have this air potato in Ga. Had it for 4 yrs now. Though I live in the country, I try to contain it because I don't want it all over my yard. I is growing up my arbor beautifully now. A web site that I have found info is or
I do have some of the potatoes if anyone wants them.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2007 at 2:04PM
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We're in Reno Nevada and are having a really hard time finding plants that will thrive here. Especially under the 60 foot tall pine tree in the front yard. :) I would like to try the air potato to see if it will grow.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2007 at 1:11AM
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I received Air Potato Vine in a swap, and planted them in a container for my back porch. I will keep vigilint about the taders, but I really wanted something to green up that patio. It's been 2 weeks, and so far they have tripled in size. And that's in 115+ heat! From what I can tell, they will die back this winter in my climate. Anyone else have luck in Phoenix?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2007 at 1:33PM
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markdaniel(z7 OK)


I have a very long fence that I would like to cover with air potatoes. I need probably 50-100 and would be willing to trade,etc. I am in zone 7 and our winters are tough and they are not invasive because they can not survive the cold.

I have all kinds of plants to trade.

M. Pearce.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2008 at 8:22AM
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wannab(8b & 4a)

After all the Pro and Con's do you still want this plant? I was given one tuber, and have been fighting it for years. We leave Alabama in the spring and summer in Mi. We return in October only to find that we have again been invaded with this horrible weed. It is eqyak a Kudzoo in my opinion.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 10:53AM
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Please tell me where I can get air potatoes. We always had them at home and at my Mom's and loved them. They were destroyed by Katrina along with our homes. We have moved to North Carolina and I have a huge expanse of ugly fence I want to cover. Besides it would make this place seem a little more like home. I have nothing to trade but am willing to buy them and pay for shipping.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 10:34AM
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I found this forum after seeing the air potato referred to elsewhere as a staple food crop! Well, the source is the Permaculture Network in Malawi, not exactly around here. I didn't paste the website, but the publication info is Issue #51: Drought Season is Mulch Season January-April 2006

I'm open to trying a plant in an indoor pot, if I can figure out which type is edible and where I can get one.

Here's the Malawi text of interest:

The "potatoes" grow up to 10 cm and may be cooked and eaten just like a normal potato. They also store very well through the entire dry season, so you can eat them right up until the next rains come. Keep them stored in a cool dry area and they will start to sprout when they are ready to be planted again. Once they sprout, simply plant the whole tuber in the ground near a tree or other supporter and watch them climb. Once you have planted an Air Potato, it will continue to grow each year in the same place. It will go dormant during the dry season and then grow again bigger and with more potatoes in the following years. Not only is this a great staple crop, but itÂs also fun to grow and show other people! (Note: there is a poisonous variety of this plant but the tubers look different with bumps on them and more oval, plus they tend to be much smaller).

I saw the post naming the Dioscorea oppositifolia, the Chinese yam, as the best tasting, with the tiny bulbils and cinnamony-smelling flowers. That's confusing re size, per the Malawi source. The USDA shows 29 species of Dioscorea. But I've already spent too much time in front of my computer.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2008 at 4:28PM
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I won't try to sort out names, but the invasive "air potatoes" I have seen in southern Florida were with golf-ball or larger aerial tubers, which won't survive well here in colder country (in my experience at the border of zones 7/8), same as the edible Diascorea yams. The one that is a pest here has aerial tubers that are up to large grape size.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2008 at 8:58AM
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Okay, surely by now the fact is established that:

a) A major invasive plant in Florida
b) Often grown out of Florida as an annual vine
being very frost sensitive

That being stated, perhaps *emotions aside* those of you
who have them can share with those who want them and are
NOT in Florida?

Many of us folks lose ours if the tubers are not kept
carefully, which I know you find understandably amazing.
But it would be good to just get the facts out there
and let the ones who can, have - by the grace of the ones
who need them not.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2009 at 11:30AM
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I moved one of these to SC from my granny's house years ago. It grew up the side of her porch, shading the porch swing. She told me the vine got little "potatoes" on it, and over the years I could never identify it. I was sad when I moved in winter and couldn't dig up any of the many vines that had sprouted over the years. I moved back home and wondered what happened to all the vines at granny's when the place was remodeled. One day in the drive thru at McD's I looked down and there was one lone vine! I yanked it up, brought it home and kept it going all summer. The following spring I found some sprouts but still didn't know what it was. Back to McD's last spring, and there was another vine in the same island. I got it and made a stop at the Southern States store with said vine in hand. Lo and behold the man knew what it was! Cinammon Vine, he said. Save the tubers and plant them for more vines. Yeah me! Later last summer my aunt came in to visit (she owns the old house now)and I gave her one of the vines. She said that while her sister, another aunt of mine, was digging by the porch she found lots of little potatoes and didn't have any idea what they were. So, finally the circle is somewhat closed. I baby a potted plant over winter in the house and need to get the potatoes in some dirt soon. Oh, one side note- the two varieties (yam/cinn)differ in the way they twirl. One goes counter clockwise, one clockwise. I really like this plant and am sorry it's so rampant in FL.(I did notice in photos from the Caylee Anthony murder case the area her remains were found was covered in this vine.)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2009 at 12:29PM
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i would love some of these large pods/tubers if anyone has any. i don't have anything of interest to trade but would pay the shipping. I am in NC near the coast.
As an aside note I am also looking for Jerusalem Cherry plant seeds.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 8:48PM
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I posted in 2011 wanting some of these but no one ever responded. It is not invasive to my state (NC) because we have kudzu instead. Please contact meif anyone has any of these potatoes. (

    Bookmark   April 5, 2012 at 5:00PM
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Want air potato...can sase or trade...thanks!!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2012 at 10:17PM
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topsiebeezelbub(z7 Al)

Wow, you people that keep saying "I want some'...can't you read?!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2012 at 3:18PM
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Don't plant these! It's actually illegal to plant, exchange, or sell them. I worked for the National Park Service in Florida and we would have Air Potato days where we would get together as many volunteers as we could and pull and burn all the air potato from the area. They ruin entire ecosystems, and the government spends millions-millions of dollars combating them. They hire people who's only job it is to track down invasive plant species and erradicate them with hardcore pesticides. Do yourself and the environment a favor and avoid them. They will kill forests of trees, and propogate like crazy. Please be a responsible gardener and avoid these!!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 1:43PM
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Dear mccoml,
While your concern for Florida is admirable, it is obvious that you know nothing about growing conditions in those sections of the USA where winter temperatures are harsher than those in the Sunshine State, e.g., USDA Zones 8b and lower. Where there are significant winter frosts, _Dioscorea bulbifera_ is killed outright and, therefore, is not invasive. Know whereof you speak before you make such a pompous, and I must say, ignorant, condemnation of a beautiful exotic vine that behaves itself quite well in most of the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2012 at 6:22PM
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I have been looking for these potatoes for a long time... When I moved into my house 8 years ago I had a beautiful full of them... these last four years they have not come back up... I found that when I planted my pumpkins near them, they really took off but my neighbor didn't like the pumpkin nor the air potatoes and decided to kill off my garden two to three feet off the fence line on my side of them fence... I was really mad at him for doing so... Now I am on a big hunt for them. Does anyone have any that they are willing to part with? I live in Texas near Houston. Thank you.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2012 at 8:37PM
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I have grown this vine for several years. It's very beautiful and quite a conversation piece, as no one here has ever seen nor heard of it. I live on the border of Zones 5 and 6, so there is no chance of it ever becoming a nuisance. It stops growing as soon as the weather gets cool here and the first frost kills it immediately. If I lived in an area where it was a problem, I would be respectful and not grow it, but here in the north, it's a gorgeous annual vine to be enjoyed!

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 7:49PM
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Is there anybody that has some of this air potato? I am not sure if it will even grow in my area. I tried it once with no avail. It is too hot and dry here in NM. But I love the look of the vine. Thanks

    Bookmark   June 9, 2013 at 1:09AM
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I am in Jacksonville, FL and these vines have been trying to take over my garden for the past two years. I would love to ship them out to places where they would not be invasive; after all, a weed is an unwanted plant. There are useful places, but not here in Florida where they need to be removed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 3:13AM
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Hi Atlee, would you consider postage for some bulbs. I don't really have anything to trade at the moment.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2013 at 11:00PM
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Teree, At this time the new bulbs have not fully formed. I do have small live plants coming out of the ground that need to be dug up soon. If you are interested in them let me know. My Email is I find that they even grow from chopped up bulbs. Each white dot on the bulb seems to begin a new plant which is why they are so hard to kill in Florida. The specific spot where these plants are growing was from a land clearing for my garden and was where we burned off the plants in the first place. The fire only seemed to help them grow stronger, now after the second year.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2013 at 2:26AM
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I note that a good many people here are determined to plant the Air potato. You really should consider carefully if you're living in Florida. My yard is full of the stuff and I have mixed feelngs about it. It is very attractive (unfortunately) which is probably why people want it. I've gone to some lengths to keep it under control in my own yard, but it's exceedingly persistent and I have to keep digging it up from just about every square inch of dirt I've got. The only things more numerous here than air potatoes are squirrels and, as someone else mentioned, I feel sure those little dudes are planting the potatoes. Do consider the people around you.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 6:50PM
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