Saturday, March 5, 2016

Native Plant Profile: 'Mountain Pride' Blue Witch

'Mountain Pride' Blue Witch (Solanum xanti 'Mountain Pride')
This dark-purpled selection of blue witch hails from the Santa Barbara hills. Blue witches are a common sight in chaparral and woodland environments throughout California, including here in the Bay Area at parks such as San Bruno Mountain and Edgewood. 

Solanum umbelliferum blooming in February at Edgewood

Flowers can be blue, purple or lavender, and bloom profusely over long periods in the Spring and Summer if conditions are favorable. The leaves and round green fruits of this plant are toxic. Many native plant venders recommend planting blue witches in a container rather than in the ground. I have attempted both and agree that they are much easier to manage in a pot. My plant was purchased from Yerba Buena Nursery in Half Moon Bay last year and promptly deposited in a brown glazed pot where it is happily blooming right now.

Thriving in a container in full sun
Receives drip irrigation in the dry months

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