Facts about this hardy woody vine

Colleen Smith

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.

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