Over the weekend I dug up my Purple Potato Bush (PPB) that was infected by a canker, really sad. Now time to plant the new PPB, but wondering if I should mix the existing soil or add something to help the new PPB take hold.

Should I mix the existing soil with something and if so what? Should I add some nutrients supplements and if so what? My old PPB latest about 40 years and would love to see the new one last that long. Thanks.


Personally, I would plant an different flower of a different family. You may plant PPB on a different place.

Why? When a plant is dying, it is week and it attract many diseases. After 40 year, the soil is also consumed: fertilizers are never complete, but mixing soil helps. Additionally after 40 years, there could be many rotting roots.

So for one or two year, plant an annual flower, then you can return to your potato bushes, and yes, you should mix soil and add fertilizers (or manure), or just change bush, and plant a new potato bush in an other place.

If you really want to keep it in the old place, I would replace the soil (maybe exchanging from an other spot in your garden), and ev. adding a new one).

BTW there were other potato bushes in your neighborhood? Are they all healthy? Maybe the diseases is wide spread. Note: some insects damage trunks, and so they transport and inoculate various "cancers". (Cancer on vegetables are often bacterial/viral infections, which just show up as animal cancer: expanded tissues)

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    If you exchange the soil, remember there are many other Solanaceae grown for flowers or as vegetables, including potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, schizanthus, petunias, etc. Be careful not to "transplant" the disease somewhere it can do more damage. – alephzero Jun 18 at 11:25
  • I had already bought another PPB prior to digging out the old one. We had an arborist come out a few years ago and he told us about the canker (I had no idea what a canker was until he taught us). He thought the tree got infected by landscapers as their tools may have picked up the disease and transferred the disease to the PPB. There are no other PPB trees around our neighborhood, that I know of. I dug about a 3-4' diameter hole about two feet deep. I pulled and cut as many roots as I could, though some remain. Since I already bought the PPB I will give it a go as too late to return it. – lordhog Jun 18 at 11:30
  • When I cut down the PPB I made sure not to cut near the canker as to send the disease flying all around. I did have a European Birch die a few year back also, but not sure what happened to it. I was replacing the main water line and did cut through one of the roots (about 2-3" in diameter) and I guess that is what killed the tree?? When it was cut down did find termites. Not sure they were the cause or invaded the tree after it started dying. These two trees were within 20' of each other in the front lawn. – lordhog Jun 18 at 11:35

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