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The Chilean potato vine, Solanum crispum, is just the thing to give a sunny wall an exotic look. It has wiry stems, which need tying up to wires or trellis for support, clad in small semi-evergreen leaves which remain on the plant in all but bad winters. The potato-like flowers, each with lilac petals around a pointed yellow centre, appear continuously from mid-summer to mid-autumn.
Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin' flowers more prolifically, and is hardier than other species. Grow in moist but well-drained soil. To propagate, take cuttings from summer to early autumn. The Royal Horticultural Society has given it its prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM).
Plant type: Deciduous climber
Flower colour: Purple
Foliage colour: Mid-green
Sun exposure: Full sun
Soil: Well-drained/light, Chalky/alkaline, Moist
Skill level: Beginner
Time to take cuttings: June to September
Flowering period: July to October
Solanum Crispum planted last Autumn , label showed it to be a climber, it has turned out to be a bit of a thug , not a climber at all, but had to be tied in and has now pulled my fence down , the flower are really wonderful and prolific but obviously the plant is not suitable for the position against a fence !!!
I shall have to cut it right down and think again , would a small leaf Ivy be better ? Can anyone suggest one that will not become a thug and will be beneficial for my insect / bird wildlife ....
Thanks Wendy7, I have one against a fence and whilst I love it, I will now prune it to try to keep it in check. I have small and larger leaved ivy (given so don't know names)on same long fence and has spread over last4years but I'm hoping birds will nest so I just trim it like hedge.
I have mine against a wall growing through a flowering cherry which gives it extra colour late summer and provide a little screening in the winter when all the leaves on the trees have gone. I too originally thought it was suitable to grow as a climber on trellis attached to the wall but it is not. The main stem grows very thick and wrecks the trellis. I don't prune and it flowers reliably each year. Every plant has a place but not on trellis for this one!
Very much a thug I grew mine next to a chain-link fence but it's just spreading everywhere, so I am going to do some pruning to keep it in check.
I had the same experience - bought as a climber but found it to be far larger/stronger than expected - I would now call the potato vine a large wall shrub. Having said that, I absolutely loved the plant, it reliably flowered all summer long and almost glows in the dark with its moth attracting colour, it was the most stunning thing in the garden but I planted the main stem too close to a very sturdy fence and in the end could not cut the tree-like branches back because they were holding the fence up! I had a Clematis Armandii next to it which also grew way larger than I expected. I've learned from this! :)
I used to look after one over an arbour. It didnt really work as it took over. I now prune it as a shrub. Much better control of it.
good for flower displays as produces for so long.
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