Solanum - Solanum jasminoides
Solanum is a very large genus that includes more than a thousand plants. These are generally not very rustic plants that usually need a mild climate as well as possibly very sunny exposure, sheltered from strong winds. All belong to the Solanaceae family and within this large group we find both plants known and appreciated for their ornamental value, especially by virtue of a very beautiful, colorful and colorful flowering, but also plants well known for their edible fruits, such as the tomato, potato and eggplant, all belonging to the same family. In general, however, it is much better to make sure of the edibility of the fruits or flowers given the vastness of the Solanaceae family: many plants among these, in fact, are decidedly poisonous for humans, due to their rich alkaloid component. A widespread genus of garden plant, with an interesting ornamental value in particular for embellishing walls or pergolas is undoubtedly that of solanum wendlandii.
The solanum wendlandii
Solanum wendlandii is a climbing plant with deciduous leaves and a rich and beautiful summer flowering, with a peak of splendor usually in the month of August. Also belonging to the Solanaceae family, it has its origin in Central America, in particular in Costa Rica. It was later introduced in our continent in an era, it is estimated, around the last decades of 1800. It is a tree of medium height, reaching full development at about 7 meters. Its stem is very fragile and, alternatively, it can rise in height or have the characteristic posture of falling from a wall. Solanum wendlandii definitely favors a warm climate. For this reason it grows and develops very well especially in the gardens of Southern Italy, but its cultivation in pots or in greenhouses is also possible.
Eggplant cultivationThe eggplant (Solanum melogena) is part of the botanical family of the Solanaceae, has Indian origins and was introduced in Europe by the Arabs. It is a herbaceous plant between 30 cm and one meter high. I ...
Leaves, flowers, fruits
Its deciduous leaves are completely hairless. In the upper branches they are simple and ovate, while on the lower branches they are lobed and pinnate. They have a striking bright green color and are divided into 4 or 6 leaflets. Each leaf also has thorns on the lower side. The flowers have a pleasant light blue violet color with a yellow mouth, which contrasts well with the foliage giving a remarkable chromatic result. These have corollas with a width that rarely exceeds 5 centimeters and are gathered in large and dense racemes, sometimes hanging. The fruits usually ripen only in the warmer climate areas and are small and round in shape.
It occurs by sowing in spring, but also by offshoot or by cutting in August. Later the seedlings will be planted in the spring season. The solanum wendlandii has a low resistance to cold, to protect it from a possible too rigid climate it is advisable to intervene with a mulch, or to withdraw the pot.
The preferred position for the solanum wendlandii is certainly sunny, and it is advisable, to avoid too strong contact with the cold, to repair the foot of the plant at the beginning of the winter season, especially in the coldest areas.
It prefers fertile and well-drained soil, fresh and deep and not clayey. The best composition would be a soil consisting of two thirds of compost, one third of heather and then some sand.
Watering must take place regularly, especially in the first years of the plant's life. They must be abundant and more frequent during the summer.
It is advisable to intervene with a pruning at the beginning of the spring season to eliminate damaged branches and sprout the weakest or disordered ones. All this, together with a winter manure, will favor an adequate development of branching, vegetation and flowering.
In the garden for its ornamental value, for its particular structure and its type of climbing plant that rises or falls from a wall, it is highly recommended to cover, with a suggestive natural decoration, pergolas or walls, or to form suggestive and colored espaliers always close to the walls of the garden
Other species of solanum that are widespread and also suitable for cultivation in the garden are: the solanum crispum, with a height of up to 6 meters and a maximum width of 5 meters. This is an almost evergreen, with pleasing purple-blue flowers and beautiful yellow anthers, for a period ranging from summer to autumn. Its posture is bushy and expansive. Solanum jasminoides, 5 meters high and no more than 3 meters wide: is an evergreen climber with a very rapid growth and a development of valuable celestial flowers with a characteristic star shape, with beautiful yellow anthers in the center that color the flowers , also in this case, from midsummer until autumn. Solanum machranterum, coming from Chile, appreciated in particular for the presence of large purple flowers. The hanging solanum, also with purple flowers but smaller, which needs a rather mild climate and frequent watering.
This climbing vine is known as Solanum jasminoides, or more commonly as a Potato Vine. With the bushiness of a shrub and the growth of a vine, the stems of this plant reach an average height of 20-25 ′. 1 ″ long ovate or ovate-lanceolate green leaves act as a background to clusters of small white flowers accented with tiny yellow pistils. Depending on the climate the Potato Vine can have a long blooming season lasting from spring through the end of summer, or even year-round. Its scent is not nearly as strong as Jasminum polyanthum or Trachelospermum but it has been noted that it’s more aromatic in the evening.
As an evergreen plant, the Potato Vine is a great option to climb up a fence or arbor for privacy. If you are looking to fill a space quickly, this plant can be grown as a backdrop to a bed of plants or over a trellis for more shade during the warmer months.
Find more plants and design ideas here.
Botanical Name: Solanum jasminoides
Common Name: Potato Vine
Average Landscape Size: 20-25'
Plant Type: Evergreen
Special Features: Attracts Butterflies, Showy Spring Flowers, Year-round Interest, Good For Container Or Ground Planting,
- 1 Name
- 2 Nightshades
- 3 Food crops
- 4 Ornamentals
- 5 Medicine
- 6 Ecology
- 7 Systematics
- 7.1 Subgenus Bassovia
- 7.2 Subgenus Leptostemonum
- 7.3 Subgenus Lyciosolanum
- 7.4 Subgenus Solanum sensu stricto
- 7.5 Other notable species
- 7.6 Formerly placed here
- 8 References
- 9 External links
The generic name was first used by Pliny the Elder (AD 23–79) for a plant also known as strychnos, most likely S. nigrum. Its derivation is uncertain, possibly stemming from the Latin word sol, meaning "sun", referring to its status as a plant of the sun. 
The species most commonly called nightshade in North America and Britain is Solanum dulcamara, also called bittersweet or woody nightshade. Its foliage and egg-shaped red berries are poisonous, the active principle being solanine, which can cause convulsions and death if taken in large doses. The black nightshade (S. nigrum) is also generally considered poisonous, but its fully ripened fruit and foliage are cooked and eaten in some areas. The deadly nightshade (Atropa belladonna) is not in the genus Solanum, but is a member of the family Solanaceae.
Most parts of the plants, especially the green parts and unripe fruit, are poisonous to humans (although not necessarily to other animals), but many species in the genus bear some edible parts, such as fruits, leaves, or tubers. Three crops in particular have been bred and harvested for consumption by humans for centuries, and are now cultivated on a global scale:
- Tomato, S. lycopersicum
- Tomato varieties are sometimes bred from both S. lycopersicum and wild tomato species such as S. pimpinellifolium, S. peruvianum, S. cheesmanii, S. galapagense, S. chilense, etc. (Such varieties include — among others — Bicentennial, Dwarf Italian, Epoch, Golden Sphere, Hawaii, Ida Red, Indigo Rose,  Kauai, Lanai, Marion, Maui, Molokai, Niihau, Oahu, Owyhee, Parma, Payette, Red Lode, Super Star, Surecrop, Tuckers Forcing, V 121, Vantage, Vetomold, and Waltham.) 
- Potato, S. tuberosum, fourth largest food crop.
- Eggplant (also known as brinjal or aubergine), S. melongena
Other species are significant food crops regionally, such as Ethiopian eggplant or gilo (S. aethiopicum), naranjilla or lulo (S. quitoense), Turkey berry (S. torvum), pepino or pepino melon (S. muricatum), Tamarillo (S. betaceum), wolf apple (S. lycocarpum), garden huckleberry (S. scabrum) and "bush tomatoes" (several Australian species).
The species most widely seen in cultivation as ornamental plants are:
- S. aviculare (kangaroo apple)
- S. capsicastrum (false Jerusalem cherry, winter cherry)
- S. crispum (Chilean potato tree)
- S. laciniatum (kangaroo apple)
- S. laxum (potato vine)
- S. pseudocapsicum (Christmas cherry, winter cherry)
- S. rantonnetii (blue potato bush)
- S. seaforthianum (Italian jasmine, St. Vincent lilac)
- S. wendlandii (paradise flower, potato vine) 
Poisonings associated with certain species of Solanum are not uncommon and may be fatal. However, several species are locally used in folk medicine, particularly by native peoples who have long employed them.
Solanum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths) - see list of Lepidoptera that feed on Solanum.
The genus was established by Carl Linnaeus in 1753.  Its subdivision has always been problematic, but slowly some sort of consensus is being achieved.
The following list is a provisional lineup of the genus' traditional subdivisions, together with some notable species.  Many of the subgenera and sections might not be valid they are used here provisionally as the phylogeny of this genus is not fully resolved yet and many species have not been reevaluated.
Cladistic analyzes of DNA sequence data suggest that the present subdivisions and rankings are largely invalid. Far more subgenera would seem to warrant recognition, with Leptostemonum being the only one that can at present be clearly subdivided into sections. Notably, it includes as a major lineage several members of the traditional sections Cyphomandropsis and the old genus Cyphomandra. 
Solanum Species, Jasmine Nightshade, Potato Climber, Potato Vine
|Family:||Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)|
|Genus:||Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)|
|Species:||laxum (LAX-um) (Info)|
Tropicals and Tender Perennials
Average Water Needs Water regularly do not overwater
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 ° C (10 ° F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 ° C (15 ° F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 ° C (20 ° F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 ° C (25 ° F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 ° C (30 ° F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 ° C (35 ° F)
Where to Grow:
Suitable for growing in containers
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
Soil pH requirements:
From semi-hardwood cuttings
Allow seedheads to dry on plants remove and collect seeds
This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:
Foothill Farms, California
On May 1, 2015, Lily_love from Central, AL (Zone 7b) wrote:
Last fall I bought a mixed -planting basket, one of which is the flowering potatoes vine. I overwinter the basket in my makeshift greenhouse. I brought it back outdoor this early spring, after danger of frost - with surprise, I discovered what looks like two seedlings are emerging. I really enjoy this vine. The intricate little while flowers that trail down the multiple color of begonia basket enhances its beauties.
On Mar 27, 2013, terrylyn from Reedley, CA wrote:
Well, I was looking for some colorful vines at a local store and a guy in the nursery recommended the white potato vine and the bougainvillea (barbara karst) and I have to say I love them both! I planted them last year and while the bougainvillea bloomed like crazy the white potato vine did not bloom until now! I have them planted side by side against the wall of the house on a metal trellis (which I spray painted to match the color of the house) facing east but getting sun from the south as well. I don't mind that the barbara karst is a bit messy and thorny. And I love the dainty white flowers of the potato vine. My objective is to get them to bloom together in unison! Below them I have some Red Lions (bulbs) and some Shasta Daisys which I also love. I trim the barbara karst aggressively. read more each year.
On Sep 16, 2011, MrBeaker from Lathrop, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:
It is evergreen and blooms more or less year round. Survives USDA Zone 9B with only minor damage to tips (in an unprotected spot). Minimal care.
On May 13, 2009, hortims from Sacramento, CA wrote:
I have this vine espaliered against a south facing wall here in Sacramento. Absolutely beautiful, blooms constantly. Pinching back and removing low ground trailers will make the plant much fuller as they tend to get barren on the bottom. Average water.
On Jan 14, 2009, Phytowarrior from Brisbane,
Although scentless, this is a beautiful moderately growing vine that flowers 3/4 of the year in a temperate climate such as the one i live in. Is completely tolerant of the salt air from the near by ocean as well.
Attracts plenty of birds that use it to nest & the aphids / lady bugs alike love it!
Simply a well behaved & beautiful addition to any garden.
On Jul 14, 2007, Opoetree from Oak View, CA wrote:
We have this plant growing on the side of our house along with trumpet vines, giant birds of paradise, and queen palms. It has always been a great plant and we love the rather dainty little blossoms. The plant stood up to a very hard freeze last winter and continues to thrive.
On Jan 16, 2007, jasminoides from Brisbane,
We live in Brisbane Australia. The climate is temperate (winter 5deg-22degC, Summer 15deg-29deg)
Recently we planted two potato vines and have found that at the extremeties the plant is wilting / dying. Seems quite healthy near the root system. Could we be overwatering it?
On Apr 29, 2004, foodiesleuth from Honomu, HI (Zone 11) wrote:
I don't know if this is the same plant, but what I know as potato vine is a very aggresive weed that takes over like kudzu. Anywhere one of the "potatoes" drops its a potential source of another vine.
I fought it from getting into my yard in Dade County (MIami area) when I lived in Florida as a neighbor had a very healthy one planted on the fence between our yards.
We are facing a similar problem here in Hawaii, where people have brought it in illegally and now it is showing up in too many places. Someone planted some vines upstream and during storms they got washed down. now the gulches by our house are full of them and they are trying their best to engulf everything around them!
I purchased some 'bulbs' - they have started little sprouts but they don't 'look like' roots.
Moving from western Canada (Vancouver) to central where it is much colder, and checking to see hardiness ratings. Looks as though it will not survive winter in Manitoba, although this has done wonderfully here in Vancouver. Minimum temps this winter around -6 ° C. with no problem- and the flowers never fell for most of the winter! (They did reach a state where they had stopped growing). Did well with all purpose fertilizer throughout the summer, and seemed to be happy with lots of H2O. Grew quickly (about 20ft. In the summer).
On Aug 29, 2002, smiln32 from Oklahoma City, OK (Zone 7a) wrote:
This plant has the potential to flower at any time of the year, although it primarily flowers in springtime. It needs pruning / thinning from time to time to keep it looking nice. Grows quickly and prefers sun to partial shade. (for the Sunset Easy-Care Gardening book)
Evergreen or Semi-evergreen climber from Brazil.
Has lance like, dark green, glossy leaves. Bears blue white, 5 petalled, star shaped, flowers in late summer early Autumn. Also bears small, egg shaped, glossy, black fruit which will cause sever stomach ache if ingested.
Likes a sunny, warm position in well drained soil. It is only hardy down to 32F / 0C and is best grown indoors in frost prone areas. Saying that here it grows outside all year with no protection other than cover from the honeysuckle, I suspect there is a microclimate which prevents it from becoming too cold.
Solanum jasminoides - Potato Vine
Solanum jasminoides has a fragrance that is worthy of its name. The fragrance of the Potato Vine is not as overpowering as with some jasmines. In areas that have reasonable conditions Potato Vines are frequently grown. Solanum jasminoides is a reliable plant that blooms very well in the Spring and has a mild perfume. The foliage is damaged in the mid 20 ° s F. Solanum jasminoides does have plenty of redeeming points as all of the most common plants do. The Potato Vine will even bloom in more shade than most other vines. It is hard to kill with too much or too little water once established. Solanum jasminoides could be termed 'garden hardy'.
White flowers of Solanum jasminoides - Potato Vine. High resolution photos are part of our garden image collection.
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Last modified: January 27, 2021