"Chilean Potato Bush"
If you think of potato vine as kind of a ho-hum plant then prepare to have your eyes opened by this exceptionally pretty, purple-flowering relative. Growing as a scandent bush, this vigorous variety dons one inch, star-shaped, intense lilac blooms eventually smother the vining shrub, making for quite a summer and fall spectacle. Yellow centers provide an attractive contrast. Elliptical green leaves provide a verdant backdrop, allowing the purple flowers to really pop. Very small berries (poisonous!), which progress from green to golden and finally purple, appear in the autumn. Just as tough as its familiar cousin, though it definitely wants to be in some sun, once established it needs little water. It tops out at 15-20’ but can be kept more compact if desired. This native of Chile and Peru can be grown as a relaxed, stand-alone shrub or trained on a fence or trellis. It can even be grown in a large container, as an ornamental or espallied as a privacy screen. Plant in neutral to alkaline soil in a sunny location. Deer-proof but watch out for aphids and gray leaf mold. Prune back hard in late spring to flush out new growth. Attracts bees.