Friday, August 29, 2014

Planting Potato Dandelion

Back in April, I found a small cluster of Potato Dandelions, Krigia dandelion, growing on the site of a storage shed that had burned around 40 years ago.  The plants apparently grew from tubers taken by a Chipmunk from one of my garden containers and buried here.  In total, I recovered nine little tubers.

The Potato Dandelions were planted into a seven inch diameter plastic container filled with used potting soil.

The plants prospered.  By the middle of May the pot was full of growth.  The leaves yellowed in June and began to wither.  By the end of July, no signs of top growth remained in the pot.  This is normal behavior for the Potato Dandelion which is a cool weather species that enters dormancy for the summer season.

I just recently emptied the pot and collected the tubers.  All of these were produced by those nine plants in just one growing season.  I decided to set these free and plant them back into the woods.

I’ve had poor luck introducing Potato Dandelions into the wild.  This may be because I’ve planted them into sites where I thought they should do their best growing.  The most vigorous plants develop in areas with the most sunlight, but those are not the conditions at the original site of the Blue Jay Barrens Potato Dandelions.  Those plants are growing in the woods in dry, ridge top soils very much like this site located about a quarter of a mile west of the original.

The ground here looks identical to the original site.  Same type of soil, same mix of trees, and same lack of heavy ground cover makes me think that this could be the place to successfully introduce Potato Dandelions. 

I worked my way along the ridge top planting the tubers in groups of three wherever conditions looked right.  I drilled a small hole with my knife, dropped in a tuber and covered it up. 

This may be the tuber that begins a new population.  I don’t bring in any plants or seeds from outside Blue Jay Barrens, but I do work to increase the populations of plants that are already found here.  Especially with the rare species, I would like to have several populations scattered about the property just in case something horrible happens to one.  It’s fortunate that the Potato Dandelion produces so well when grown in a container.  I’ll always have plenty of tubers to experiment with.


  1. Hi Steve... Well I be darned never heard of such a thing!!
    You just never know what your going to have going!!

    I dropped by one day while I was not feeling so great and you had a darn snake on here...I was not impressed an quickly shut your blog : ))) Wouldn't you know that would happen to me???

    They just give me the creepy- crawly's !!

    I going to research these dandelion potatoes to see if your pulling my leg!! ; ) Aren't potatoes and dandelions to different things??


  2. Hi, Grace. Sorry the snake caught you on a day you weren't feeling well. Doctors say that a shock sometimes moves a patient towards recovery. Maybe the snake actually helped you along the way.

    A lot of people believe that I just make up a lot of what I say. I do sometimes spin out some fiction and those stories are always believed without question. It's when I relate the truth that people begin to raise their eyebrows.