A refreshing change from common vines, solanum is a shrubby climber with an almost perpetual flush of petite, fragrant blossoms from summer to frost. It's grown as an annual in cold regions and hardy in Zones 9 to 11 where it is semi-evergreen. Solanum is also called potato vine (not to be confused with sweet potato vine). Its blossoms vary from white to lavender to deep purple.
Solanum is a versatile vine. Plant it at the base of a sturdy trellis and it will quickly scramble toward the sky. Grow it on a fence or wall to bring the vertical surface to life with flowers and foliage. Many types of solanum are semi-evergreen and will add interest nearly year-round. Solanum tolerates part shade, making it useful in the dappled light of a patio. Tie it to a post of an arbor or pergola to encourage it to climb where it will provide additional shade below the structure.
Solanum Care Must-Knows
Solanum grows best in full sun or part shade and moist, well-drained soil. It will tolerate brief periods of drought after it is established, but it's best to water regularly for continuous flowering. Fertilize your plant twice during the growing season with an all-purpose fertilizer, following label directions. Where solanum is hardy, prune it in the fall to control its size.
Prepare for solanum to climb quickly after planting by placing a trellis nearby or siting it where it can scramble up a fence or pergola. Attach sturdy cables to a fence or wall to give solanum something to twine around and climb up. Gently bend the stems around a pergola or arbor post to encourage climbing.