Blue Potato Trees - Knowledgebase Question

Long Beach, CA
Question by KarenFransse
October 3, 2001
I have three Blue Potato trees. The first one was planted about two months ago and has really taken off!!!! It started out in a tree shape but now the branches are nearly to the ground. I love the look but fully realize at some point I am going to need to trim it. How and when do I do that? The others are equally healthy and will probably head in the same direction soon. Several of my neighbors have the same Blue Potato trees but none are doing nearly as well as mine. My soil is particularly sandy so I've got to believe they like sandy soil and attention! But I really need help with the pruning -- I don't want to hurt it. Thanks a bunch!
Karen Franssen
Direct (562) 434-6247

Answer from NGA
October 3, 2001


Solanum Rantonnetii 'Grandiflorum', the Blue Potato Bush, is probably what you're growing. It's sometimes classified as Lycianthes rantonnei, or Paraguay Nightshade. It's generally grown as a shrub but can be staked into a tree form. It's evergreen in mild winters, deciduous in colder areas. The bright green oval leaves are about 4" long and the plants is covered with violet blue, yellow-centered, one inch wide flowers throughout the warm months. You can prune and train your tree in spring and again in fall to correct errant growth and keep it in the form you desire. Remove misplaced branches and cut back those that are too long. It's a vigorously growing plant so you won't hurt it by cutting it back. Best wishes with your blue potato tree!

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