(October) I have some questions about two plants I brought from the Mississippi gulf coast. One they called a Confederate Rose. I think they told me it would bloom in the fall. I have had mine two years and it has not bloomed. It is a beautiful bush, but has no blooms thus far and now it will be too late I think. Do you know anything about this plant? The other plant came from near Mobile. It is called a potato vine, down There. It has beautiful heart shaped leaves and has potato like things growing on the vine. They look kind of rough and are growing on the vine right next to where the leaf joins the vine. Any information on this plant? I have only seen one here in Arkansas and it was on a fence in Monticello. I was wondering if these "potatoes" were edible for animals or if they are just a nuisance and something to clean up.
The confederate rose is actually a hibiscus -- Hibiscus mutabilis. It has powder puff blooms in light pink, usually in October -- so it isn't too late for yours to bloom. They are marginally hardy in central Arkansas, but need to be lifted if you live in the northern part of the state. It needs plenty of sunlight, and prefers a somewhat moist site. In years when we have an early frost, we often don't get to enjoy the blooms for long, but with mild falls, these plants can be spectacular. As for the potato vine, it isn't as uncommon as you think -- it is usually called Aerial potato or potato vine, since the potatoes are grown above ground, versus underground, like most potatoes. It is unusual and does produce all these aerial potato-like fruits. The Latin name is Dioscorea batatas. The fruits are not edible. If you bring one indoors, it will eventually sprout and send out a long runner. It is more of a conversation piece, but it is interesting vine.
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