No leaves on Potato Bush

Credit: Dagmar Bensberg/iStock

Q: Our potato bush last year was fabulous. This year, we have great flowers everywhere, but NO leaves! Also, our Alpine, which I think is called Lady fingers, is separating with the hole in the middle. Can we just separate it and replant the halves?

The plant is probably “Potato Vine or Potato Bush” (Solanum laxum or S. rantonnetii cv.) both are commonly available. If the plants were kept in a pot too long or become extremely root bound providing plenty of watering and feeding, it is possible to have a plant produce plenty of flowers with very few leaves. I would suggest either to repot plants into larger pots or “root prune” the plants early in the season before growth start, e.g. late February.

“Alpine Lady Fingers” could be “Cinquefoil” (e.g. Potentilla verna) or “Lady’s-Mantle” (e.g. Alchemilla ellenbeckii). Plants could be divided in the fall or spring.