Jasmine Nightshade Info: Learn How To Grow A Potato Vine
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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
What is a potato vine and how can I use it in my garden? Thepotato vine (Solanum jasminoides) isa spreading, fast-growing vine that produces deep green foliage and a profusionof star-shaped white or blue-tinted, potato vine flowers. Interested inlearning how to grow a potato vine? Read on for jasmine nightshade info andgrowing tips.
Jasmine Nightshade Info
Also known as jasmine nightshade, potato vine (Solanum laxum) is suitable for growingin USDA plant hardiness zone 8through 11. Potato vine is lighter and less woody than many other vines andworks well on a lattice, or to cover an arbor or a drab or ugly fence. You canalso grow potato vine in a container.
Hummingbirds love the sweet, fragrant potato vine flowers,which may bloom much of the year in warmer climates, and songbirds appreciatethe berries that follow the blooms. Potato vine is also said to be deer resistant.
How to Grow a Potato Vine
Jasminenightshadecare is relatively easy, as the potato vine prefers full sunlight or partialshade and average, well-drained soil. Provide a trellis or other support atplanting time.
Water jasmine nightshade regularly during the first growingseason to develop long, healthy roots. Thereafter, this vine is fairly droughttolerant but benefits from an occasional deep watering.
Feed your potato vine regularly throughout the growingseason, using any good quality, general-purpose fertilizer.Prune a potato vine after blooming in fall if needed to control the size of theplant.
Note:Like most members of the potato family (excluding the most famous tubers,obviously), all parts of potato vine, including the berries, are toxic ifingested. Do not eat any part of your potato vine.
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The potato vine originates from southern Brazil and Paraguay. In southern European countries the thin, twisting branches often cover walls and low buildings, since the plant is hardy there. In our climate, the plant also grows quickly and flowers for a notably long time, usually until the frost arrives. As the growing season progresses, a mountain of leaves and flowers spread across the pergola or the trellis against which the plant grows enthusiastically. If you don’t have a lot of room, opt for a standard Potato Vine.
The word ‘night’ in ‘nightshade’ may refer to the fact that some flowers in this family only give off a strong scent in the evening.
In Brazil the plant symbolises wealth: ‘Anyone with a lavishly flowering potato vine will never go hungry.’
Although the name Solanum jasminoides suggests that it’s related to jasmine, they are actually members of completely different families (jasmine is part of the olive family). The flowers are remarkably similar - it’s one of nature’s little jokes. If you like the scent, you can enjoy it for three-quarters of the year with jasmine (early bloomer) and the Potato Vine (late bloomer).
If you plant the potato vine in your garden or yard, support it with a trellis, arbor, tree trunk or post of some sort so it won't fall over on itself. Loosely tie the woody stems to the support structure with garden twine and the plant will provide floral interest and can also camouflage an unsightly fence or structure. If you prefer a busier design, plant a flowering shrub (in a complementary color), bulbs and perennials in front of the vine to round out the space. If the vine is planted in a pot, secure it to a pot-sized trellis or cane teepee for support.
White Potato Creeper
This week’s Plant of the Week is the white potato creeper. A member of the Solanaceae or nightshade family, it is a classic, widely used plant in Australian gardens that perhaps should be used even more.
Common name: White potato creeper, potato vine
Botanic name: Solanum jasminoides
Description: A moderately vigorous, evergreen or semi-evergreen twiner from Brazil. In summer and autumn it produces clusters of star-shaped bluish/white flowers with yellow stamens. In mild areas, the flowering will continue through to late June.
Potato vine prefers a warm, sunny position and will grow well in most areas of Australia, except for cold mountainous zones.
fast cover for walls and fences
white theme garden
long flowering season
attractive white flowers
glossy, dark green leaves
partly deciduous in marginal climates
possible garden escapee
Potato vines like a warm, sunny position in rich, well-drained soil. They need a support for climbing. Prune in late winter to control size and also to encourage the growth of new vigorous wood.
White potato creeper is readily available at nurseries and garden centres. 200mm (8″) pots cost around $16, and 140mm (6″) pots cost about $12.