Air Potato

“Air Potato”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana 


Air Potato vine (Dioscorea bulbifer) is a vigorous, ornamental vine.  It has huge heart-shaped leaves and grows to about ten to fifteen feet in my garden.  On the stem it has aerial tubers that resemble potatoes hence the name.  It does go dormant in the winter but comes back in the spring.  If it is grown in the shade, it does not produce as many of the tubers which keeps the number of new vines down.  Mine gets very little morning sun, but, still the foliage is very lush.



This is growing on an arbor which is kind of hard to tell from the picture.  The vine does occasionally try to grow into the bamboo, but I just pull it back onto the arbor to keep it in check.  This has been reported to be an invasive vine, so I collect the tubers to keep the population down.  If a vine does pop up in the spring where I don’t want one, I just pull it out, but I really haven’t had to do much of that.


This has turned out to be a great summer vine – lush, big foliage (leaves up to 10 inches across), no pests bothering it, and needs just an occasional watering.  It is great for a shady area where many plants won’t grow.  All they seem to need is a structure to grow on and minimal care.




  1. Brenda Kula said,

    June 15, 2008 at 11:34 am

    Sounds like the leaves are big enough to provide shade for you too! I don’t know of many plants that have leaves that big!

  2. June 15, 2008 at 4:17 pm

    That’s a neat vine. I’d never heard of it before. I’ve some fencing in the shade near the a/c units that might brighten up nicely.

  3. Jan said,

    June 16, 2008 at 6:05 am

    Brenda, those are big leaves. I think they would make a good leaf to use to cast in concrete. Maybe one day, when I have time, I’ll try it.

    Linda, it is a nice summer vine for covering up areas.

  4. Randy said,

    June 17, 2008 at 5:07 am

    Don’t those vines make silver/gray potatoes? I love those; I use to grow them when I was a kid. I can’t find them around here anymore. I’ve had one in the past 13 years that a friend gave me. The only time I have ever paid to have the grass cut the lawn man ran right over it! I was so mad.

  5. Jan said,

    June 17, 2008 at 9:47 am

    Randy, yes, they do make a those potatoes. They make the “potatoes” in the late summer/fall. If you would like some, I could send them to you in the fall.

  6. Randy said,

    June 25, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    Sorry I’m just now getting back to you. I would absolutely LOVE to have some of them. Thank you! I don’t know why, but you just can’t find them around here anymore. I would be happy to pay the postage when the time comes to ship them and by all means, should you see anything you like in our garden please don’t hesitate to speak up about it. 🙂 If it happens to be a daylily I have that only has two fans, when it has four I will split it with you. LOL I love to share.

  7. Jan said,

    June 26, 2008 at 7:16 am

    Ok, Randy, in the fall when they are ready, I’ll email you for your address and send you some. Nurseries just don’t seem to carry the old-fashioned plants anymore. It seems that so many plants are now only pass alongs. How sweet of you to offer to share some of your garden plants when you all have just finished redoing your garden after that tornado. I may take you up on some of your gorgeous daylilies. Thanks.

  8. Cecile said,

    July 30, 2008 at 10:19 pm

    Dumb question……..are the considered perrennials?

  9. Jan said,

    July 31, 2008 at 4:38 am

    Hi, Cecile, remember there are no dumb questions. The air potato does die down in the winter but returns in late spring, so it is considered a perennial.

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