Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Blue Potato Bush, Paraguay Nightshade, Blue Lycianthes
Lycianthes rantonnei

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lycianthes (lish-ee-AN-theez) (Info)
Species: rantonnei

Synonym:Solanum coniculatum
Synonym:Solanum muticum
Synonym:Solanum rantonetii
Synonym:Solanum rantonnei
Synonym:Lycianthes rantonetii

One vendor has this plant for sale.

12 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Seed is poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:
Unknown - Tell us

Propagation Methods:
From semi-hardwood cuttings

Seed Collecting:
Unknown - Tell us

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There are a total of 33 photos.
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6 positives
8 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral victoria07 On Apr 22, 2014, victoria07 from Pawleys Island, SC wrote:

I found this plant was available in CT when we lived there. We have since moved to SC and I have not been able to find it and the nursery here have never heard of it. Any idea where I can buy one? They are hard to describe but I remember them as a vibrant purple/blue.

Thank you,

Positive Bazuhi On Jun 8, 2011, Bazuhi from Downers Grove, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

Loved this plant!! Found it at Home Depot in 2010 and bought it. I stuck it in a huge pot out in my yard and it grew great.. full sun and of course watered when dry.. when winter came I brought it in to over winter but due to not having enough light it passed away. If I can find this plant this year I have solved that problem with over wintering any outdoor plant. So far no luck.

Positive Fortuna On Jan 22, 2011, Fortuna from Gilroy, CA wrote:

I planted my potatoe shrub 14 years ago. I live in Gilroy, Ca. and I get a good frost every year. The shrub has grown to over 10 feet tall and just as wide! It bloomes from March to December. Each winter it looses most of its leaves but not all. Today I took a big step and cut it back to 3 feet tall. It was very large and it shaded my vegetable garden during the summer. I feel bad because the humming birds and the robins love it and nested in it each year. The big bumble bees also love it! But... it will grow back; it always has, and I have other trees for them to nest in. My English pointer chews on the wood from the shrub. He loves it and he has never been sick from it. My neighbor has been trying to get hers to grow as big as mine. But she has not been successful. It must be a different variety. If I had to I would plant another one!

Positive Beelover On Oct 16, 2010, Beelover from Santa Cruz, CA wrote:

I live in Santa Cruz CA Zone 9 and have very well established blue potato shrubs. I have to constantly cut them back because they get higher than my one story home.They pretty much stay put, unlike the Passion Vine which plants itself everywhere. I don't bother to water them so if they like water they must be getting it from the watering of other things in the garden. When not by my house I don't clip them and the birds sit on them and also come and take off the size of stick they need for their nests which means they can get material for their nests without having to go to the ground where cats can get them. The birds and hummingbirds love them and find something edible about the flowers. It is definitely a shrub for wildlife and wildlife lovers. I have them in front of windows on the west side and they absorb the sunlight.

Neutral magicmistic On May 20, 2010, magicmistic from Mentone, CA wrote:

I agree with nunquam in Davis. This bush grows out of control here in Southern California. I'm planning to hack it into submission sometime soon. Is there a right or wrong time to prune, since this one is blooming constantly here?

Neutral artbytes On Dec 21, 2009, artbytes from San Diego, CA wrote:

Planted in June. Having problems. The leaves turn yellow and fall off the branches. I'm having a hard time deciding if they are getting too much water or too little water - or what the problem is. They just get worse and worse. Does anyone know how to tell the difference between a plants reaction to too little water or too much water? Thanks.

Positive mariner On Apr 10, 2007, mariner from Casa Grande, AZ wrote:

I put this bush in my landscape two years ago and it was very leggy and sparse the first year. Last winter we had two weeks of very cold weather which nipped it back to a stump and this seems to be just what it needed. In the last month it has shot up quickly and has several blooms, although these are only around the bottom six inches of the bush. I read a note that said that it is poisonous, but that doesn't keep the rabbits from chowing down.

Positive Dondi On Mar 5, 2005, Dondi from Ceres, CA wrote:

I am looking to relocate my potato bush and was wondering if anyone had done this and had success

Neutral xoxokristinoxox On Oct 3, 2004, xoxokristinoxox from Fort Wayne, IN wrote:

Just bought the "bush." However, mine has been trimmed to resemble a tree. Is not in bloom, but I got it for only $5 at Lowe's on discount. Since I am in zone 5, I am confident it will not survive outside. I was planning on having it as an indoor plant. Will this work?

Neutral jkom51 On Apr 8, 2004, jkom51 from Oakland, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

I was visiting a friend and saw the most amazing specimen of this rather ordinary plant. Looks like it has actually grown into a substantial tree! I will try to take a picture of it next time I'm in the area. Imagine it must be at least several decades old, this suburb is only about 40 or 50 yrs old at most. It had very handsome, rugged dark bark and was in full bloom, in a sunny site in San Pablo (Northern CA, East Bay/San Francisco Bay Area), CA.

Neutral nunquam On Feb 10, 2003, nunquam from Davis, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

The brilliant purple-ish flowers are lovely and very eye-catching. Blooms almost year-round, though only a smattering of flowers during the coldest months of the year (zone 9b).

When considering this plant for the garden, keep in mind that once established outside, it grows remarkably quickly during spring-summer-fall and can become unruly in no time at all. You will need to be aggressive with pruning. Growth stalls immediately after first cold snap and restarts as days get warmer. Mine has attracted clouds of tiny, white, aphid-like insects in summer months.

Positive JJsgarden On Aug 31, 2002, JJsgarden from Northern Piedmont, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

The Blue Potato Bush has performed excellent for me this year as a container grown plant.. It has bloomed continuously from spring thru summer with dozens of beautiful blooms. Since it is not supposedly winter hardy in my USDA zone 7, I will over-winter it inside.

Neutral smiln32 On Aug 26, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:

Prefers full sun. Grows quickly. In severe cold leaves drop and branch tips may die back. Prune to keep neat. Can be used in tailored landscape areas.

Neutral poppysue On May 16, 2002, poppysue from Westbrook, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

This tropical shrub can be grown as a large container speciman. In summer and autumn it bears clusters of 1-inch dark blue to violet-purple flowers with yellow centers. Winter in a cool location and leave almost dry. In late March bring into brighter light and begin to water at regular intervals.

This is a member of the nightshade family and all parts of the plant are toxic. Flowers are followed by red berries so beware of small children that may be tempted to taste them.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Chuichu, Arizona
Phoenix, Arizona
Tucson, Arizona
Anaheim, California
Berkeley, California
Brentwood, California
Carmel, California
Ceres, California
Dana Point, California
Gilroy, California
Hayward, California
Highland, California
Manhattan Beach, California
Manteca, California
Martinez, California
Mentone, California
Merced, California
Orinda, California
Rancho Cucamonga, California
San Diego, California
Santa Cruz, California
Yorba Linda, California
Atlanta, Georgia
Braselton, Georgia
Lawrenceville, Georgia
Downers Grove, Illinois
Fort Wayne, Indiana
Belle Chasse, Louisiana
Las Vegas, Nevada
Wolcott, New York
Willow Grove, Pennsylvania
Conway, South Carolina
Darlington, South Carolina
Beaumont, Texas
Dallas, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Humble, Texas
Katy, Texas
Manvel, Texas
San Antonio, Texas
Bellevue, Washington
Shelton, Washington

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