Solanum crispum
Common Name: nightshade
Type: Vine
Family: Solanaceae
Native Range: Peru, Chile
Zone: 9 to 11
Height: 6.00 to 12.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: Seasonal bloomer
Bloom Description: Dark blue with yellow stamens
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual
Flower: Showy, Fragrant
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 9-11 where it is best grown in organically rich, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Also does well in average soils. In St. Louis, it may be grown in pots/containers overwintered indoors or as an annual vine. Grow from seed started indoors 6-8 weeks before last frost date. Pots may be overwintered indoors as houseplants in bright sun rooms with reduced watering or as dormant plants by cutting back stems and placing in a cool, dark corner of a basement or frost-free garage. Cuttings may also be taken in late summer for overwintering.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Native to Chile and Peru, Chilean potato vine is an evergreen vine that typically grows 6-12’. Clusters (corymbs) of dark blue flowers with yellow stamens in summer. Flowers are pleasantly fragrant. Flowers are followed by clusters of round yellow berry-like fruit (to 3/4” diameter). Although this plant is in the same genus as eggplant and potato, all parts of the plant, including the yellow fruit, are poisonous if ingested. Ovate dark green leaves (to 5” long).

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to fungal diseases including powdery mildew, rots and both early and late blight. Watch for aphids, whiteflies and thrips.

Garden Uses

Tender perennial vine for trellises, arbors, poles or fences.