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19 Aug 2009

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Over the last few years we have become very interested in some of the more spectacular members of the genus Solanum. Most of these are only half-hardy and need a warm greenhouse to over-winter but they grow easily from seed.

We find it best to sow seed in a propagator in the early spring. Germination takes 2-3 weeks and the seedlings can be moved into individual pots when they are large enough to handle. We find that a general multi-purpose compost is quite suitable for all the species we have grown.

When all risk of frost has passed, the young plants can be planted out in the garden where they grow rapidly and provide an interesting addition to a garden bed. Most will grow successfully without any special care, although a warm, sheltered spot will suit them best. The larger growing types may need a supporting stake if the site is exposed to wind.

Flowers are readily produced, followed by attractive fruits from which seed can be collected for the following year. Most species are perennial but they will need warmth to get through the winter so it is easiest to treat them as annuals and grow new plants each year.

The fruits of many members of the Solanum genus are edible but some are deadly poisonous. It is always best to err on the side of safety and avoid tasting anything you are not sure of. 


Solanum species


We have grown each of the following species.

Solanum atropurpureum
Solanum conchifolium
Solanum crispum
Solanum eleagnifolium
Solanum laxum
Solanum lichensteinii
Solanum laciniatum
Solanum panduriforme
Solanum quitoense
Solanum pyracanthum
Solanum sisymbriifolium
Solanum tomentosum
Solanum ×burbankii


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