The Teddington Gardener

The Porcelain Berry Vine, no less…

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Ampelopsis brevipedunculata var. maximowiczii ‘Elegans’

A compact climber with attractive variegated leaves and gem-like berries – and a tongue-twisting name to boot!

The leaves of this outstanding, if little known, little climber are outstanding in themselves – emerging pale copper with reddish rim, vaulting off pink leaf stalks, later turning fresh green. As they mature they develop a mottling of pale green and white before, in October/November, turning buttery yellow.

Variegated foliage is not unusual, even for a climber (Hedera, ivy, of course, Honeysuckle Lonicera Mint Crisp, Actinidia kolomikta – is that it, now that I think about it?), but the blue berries certainly are – pale blue, speckled with navy, and developing into Royal Purple. Now that is special.

A diminutive plant, doing well with companion planting to scramble over, or a trellis to thread through, it might reach 2m in 10 years, so it will not be overwhelming your garden and would be fine for a large container. A warm, sunny wall would be ideal. Hardy in milder parts. Much like this specimen which is growing quite happily on a wall beside the toilets at RHS Wisley. All the more reason to pay a visit…

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