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Break out of your morning-glory rut and try something new in the world of vines. Solanum is a relative of the potato and the eggplant and if you look at its flowers, you'll see how. Shorter types are ideal for pots, planters, and windowboxes. Taller types can be trained up trellises. Bloom colors range from white to pale blue to deep purple. Many varieties have striking variegated foliage, so the plants look terrific even when they're not in bloom. While they're treated as annuals in most areas, many solanums are perennials in frost-free areas.


Part Sun, Sun



From 1 to 8 feet


1-4 feet wide

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how to grow Solanum

more varieties for Solanum

Lychee tomato
Lychee tomato
(Solanum sisymbriifolium) bears large white flowers flushed with silvery blue and edible, bright-red fruits. The leaves and stems are covered in spines. It grows 3 feet tall. Note: In some areas, this plant has become an invasive pest.
(Solanum quitoense) offers large, velvety leaves with purple hairs and orange-yellow spines with fragrant white flowers and fuzzy orange fruit. While it's usually grown as an annual where it grows about 3 feet tall, it is an 8-foot-tall shrub in the tropics.
Royal Robe nightshade
Royal Robe nightshade
(Solanum rantonnetii 'Royal Robe') bears rich purple fragrant flowers spring to fall on a plant that can reach 8 feet tall. Often grown as an annual, but it's grown as a shrub in Zones 9-11.

plant Solanum with

Castor Bean
Plant a castor bean and then stand back. This is one of the fastest-growing, giant annuals in the garden, rivaled only perhaps by giant sunflower. By midsummer, you'll have a huge (it can hit up to 20 feet) tropical plant sporting burgundy foliage. It's a great plant to grow with kids. Be careful, though. The seeds are extremely toxic.Wait to plant it outdoors after all danger of frost has passed; castor bean hates cool weather and won't grow well until temperatures heat up in summer.
Licorice plant
Elegant, silvery licorice plant is so useful to set off flowers in blue, white, purple, and other colors and to add contrast to plantings where you want more than just a mass of green. It's especially good in containers, where you can admire it up close and show off its spreading habit to best effect.Technically a tropical shrub, licorice plant is usually grown as an annual in the United States. It does best in full sun and well-drained soil.

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