Painted in delicate blues, pinks, and purples, the fruits of porcelain berry (Ampelopsis brevipedunculata) shimmer like fine china in October. At Denver Botanic Gardens, a variegated form of the deciduous vine, called ‘Elegans’, festoons a pergola. “The berries are a beautiful surprise late in the season,” says Ebi Kondo, senior horticulturist at the botanic gardens. Plant the vine in fall so it gets a jump on the spring growing season.
Porcelain berry is a hardy, woody vine that climbs 20 to 30 feet high. ‘Elegans’ is shorter and less vigorous than the species, with mottled creamy white-and-green leaves. The pea-size berries, which are plentiful once the plant has been in the ground about three years, attract birds too. Since its early-season performance is subtle, pair porcelain berry with another vine, such as Clematis viticella or honeysuckle.