This very drought tolerant annual makes a wonderful addition to any garden. Growing to a height of three feet it takes on the appearance of a small shrub with long arching branches that produce a profusion of bright blue to violet flowers. Each bloom only lasts one day but the plant produces multitudes of them every day. The flowers are followed by very showy pods in green and purple which resemble miniature Chinese Lanterns. They make the plant very attractive throughout the whole year. As fall arrives the pods turn brown and hang from the branches like rows of Christmas decorations. They can either be cut for use in dried flower arrangements or left in the garden to provide winter interest in the more bleak months.
The plant has interesting apple green leaves covered in small chocolate brown dots. Even from small seedlings the dots are visible making the growing foliage an interesting talking point. Flowers begin in early summer and will continue until the frost knocks the foliage back leaving only the pods. Plants are very strong and don't requite any staking. Bright sunlight is essential for this plant to do well but it needs very little water and will grow quite happily in poor soil. It also appears to be deer resistant.
Originally from Peru and sometimes known as Apple of Peru it is thought to repel flies, hence it's common name. It is also used in as a medicinal herb in many cultures especially in Tibet. There they are used in the treatment of contagious disorders, toothache, intestinal pain from worms and impotence. A decoction of the seeds is used in the treatment of fevers.
Note: Medicinal uses of herbs mentioned in our here is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please see a qualified medical practitioner for diagnosis if you have a health problem.