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Commonly known as the 'Potato Vine' or 'Jasmine Nightshade', Solanum jasminoides 'Album' (now correctly classified as Solanum laxum 'Album') is a slender, fast-growing, evergreen climber with twining stems and fragrant blooms. Native to southeastern Brazil, it was first introduced to European science in 1838. Since that time it has become a popular choice in many temperate and subtropical zones. However it has often escaped the garden environment and naturalized in the surrounding countryside. In Brisbane and Sydney in Australia it is now regarded as a pest species.
|Solanum jasminoides 'Album' flowers|
Solanum jasminoides 'Album' can be grown in any ordinary, well-drained garden soil. It isn't considered as hardy as some of the other popular species and cultivars of Solanum climbers, and so will need to be grown against the sheltered protection of a south or west-facing wall. Plant container grown plants in April or May and gently secure the stems to the supporting structure. Once in place the stems will naturally twine but may occasionally need tying in.
Overwinter, apply a protective covering or horticultural fleece once overnight temperatures begin to drop down to below 7 degrees Celsius.
In cooler northern European climates, you may need to grow Solanum jasminoides 'Album' as a greenhouse or conservatory specimen. Plant up into 8-10 inch pots containing a good quality compost such as John Innes 'No 2', greenhouse specimens can be planted directly into the borders. Maintain a minimum winter temperature of 5-7 degrees Celsius, keeping the soil around the roots just moist.
Water copiously during the growing season and ventilate freely.
Prune in March or April, thinning out and weak growths. Specimens overwintered outside can have any cold damaged shoots cut back to the main stems.