The Potato Tree Vine

Solanum crispum 'Glasnevin', the Potato Tree Vine, belongs to the Solanaceae family and grows in the Deer Park quad at Brasenose College. As its name suggests, it is related to the potato and tomato. It’s a large semi-evergreen plant with a scrambling, climbing habit. It has deep green finely-pointed, ovate (egg-shaped) leaves between 5cm and 12cm across. The flowers are violet-blue and open in clusters from mid to late summer; they are occasionally followed by small white fruits. However unlike in the case of its relatives, these are not edible. The plant will grow as high as 8 metres given good conditions. Solanum can be on the tender side, so a warm, sheltered wall is ideal. It benefits from a well-drained soil with plenty of mulch - it is quite thirsty but doesn’t like to sit in water. Although it can tolerate a little shade, it does best in full sun. Pruning can be done after flowering – the plant will tolerate a hard prune if necessary. Propagate with semi-ripe hardwood cuttings in the spring. For more information, see the RHS website.

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