Solanum - Solanaceae - How to care for and grow Solanum plants
HOW TO GROW AND CARE FOR OUR PLANTS
Ornamental plants belonging to the genus Solanum They are very popular with colored berries that ripen during the winter months.
Species: see the paragraph on "Main species"
The genre Solanum apfamily of theSolanaceae includes very many species of shrubby and mostly climbing plants, originating in Central and South America, where in addition to plants of agricultural interest such as the aubergine (Solanum melongena), tomato (S.olanum lycopersicum) or potato (Solanum tuberosum), we also find some ornamental plants. In fact, there are few species used for decorative purposes but the few are very popular because during the winter they produce delicious, very colorful and very decorative berries.
Most of the time they are plants that are thrown away after fruiting, which is inappropriate as if properly cultivated they can also bear fruit in the next season.
There are about 1400 species in the genus Solanumbut there are few species cultivated for ornamental purposes among which we remember:
The Solanum capsicastrum it is a suffruticosa species, native to Brazil with a shrubby habit, no more than half a meter tall with woody and flexible stems. The leaves are lanceolate of gray-green color and up to 8 cm long.
The flowers appear at the beginning of the summer, white, starry and inconspicuous that at the beginning of the winter form the berries, shiny, 1-2 cm in diameter that last several months, turning color as they mature, passing from green to yellow , to red.There are several cultivars among which Solanum capsicastrum 'Variegatum 'with leaves streaked with creamy white.
The Solanum pseudocapsicum is a beautiful evergreen shrub plant, robust, particularly bushy, often cultivated as an annual. The leaves are with wavy margins, up to 8 cm long, shiny and dark green.
It produces beautiful red-orange berries in winter. The flowers are white and starry and appear in summer.
The Solanum wendlandii is an evergreen plant, native to Costa Rica, characterized by slightly thorny stems and branches.
A peculiarity of this plant is the large foliar polymorphism, in fact, while the leaves at the base of the plant are segmented, those found in the central part are trilobed while those at the apex are ovate-acuminate. The flowers are blue and gathered in apical inflorescences and appear in the summer.
The Solanum they are plants that love the light so they must be positioned in the brightest possible position, possibly in direct sun which favors the coloring of the berries.
Winter temperatures must not drop below 16-18 ° C.
The plant during the hot season takes advantage of frequent nebulizations that will maintain a humid environment essential for flowering and subsequent fruiting.
It is a plant that loves the air so ensure a good exchange but paying attention to cold air currents that are not tolerated.
The plant of Solanum it should be watered abundantly throughout the spring-summer period so that the soil remains constantly humid, not soaked.
During the autumn-winter period the soil is always constantly moist as long as the berries are present. When watering falls, it will be reduced to the extent that the soil does not dry out.
TYPE OF SOIL - REPOT
There Solanum it is a plant that is repotted after it has fructified and only if the roots have occupied all the space available to them in the pot. Use a compost platform of fertile soil, peat and coarse sand to help drain the irrigation water.
The fertilization of the Solanum it should be done every two weeks throughout the year by diluting a good liquid fertilizer in the irrigation water.
Slightly reduce the doses compared to what is stated in the fertilizer package.
The flowering in the ornamental species occurs in the summer period and the flowers are quite insignificant as opposed to the fruiting which leads to the formation of very decorative berries during the winter period.
If you plan to breed the plant dthe Solanumfor two years in a row at the end of the first year it is drastically pruned reducing the height by 1/3.
If you want to have a bushy habit it is advisable to trim them, that is to cut the vegetative apexes of the new shoots when they have reached a height of about 8 cm.
The multiplication of the Solanum occurs by seed.
MULTIPLICATION BY SEEDS
The seeds of Solanum are sown in early spring (March) by distributing them in pots or in seedbeds in a compost made up of fertile soil and coarse sand in equal parts. The seeds are sprinkled on the ground and then covered with a thin layer of coarse sand.The tray that contains the seeds is placed in the light shade, at a temperature around 16-21 ° C and must always be kept moist (use a sprayer to moisten completely the soil) until the moment of germination. Cover the tray with a transparent plastic sheet (or a glass plate) which will allow to maintain a good temperature and will prevent the soil from drying too quickly.
When the seeds have germinated remove the plastic sheet and move the tray to a brighter location where they can receive direct sunlight for 2-3 hours a day. Solanum they will be at least 8 cm high, they can be gently removed with all the roots (use a fork for these operations that you will insert under the ground to take the whole seedling and put it in the new pot) and transplant them into the final pot using earth as indicated for the adult plants and should be treated as such.
PARASITES AND DISEASES
The leaves wither and the berries fall without apparent reason
This symptom is to be associated with poor watering or even an environment that is too hot and with stagnant air.
Remedies: check the humidity of the soil (it must be constantly humid, non-rotting) and keep a humid environment around the plant with frequent nebulizations.
The leaves of the plant turn yellow and fall off
This symptom, on the other hand, indicates excessive watering.
Remedies: let the soil dry and then proceed with the irrigations as indicated in the paragraph Watering.
The plant has a stunted appearance in general
This symptom is certainly due to too little light.
Remedies: move the plant to a brighter position so that it receives at least 2-3 hours of direct sun a day.
Aphids on the plant
Small whitish, mobile insects can be observed on the plant. Surely it will contain aphids, commonly known as lice.
Remedies: treat the plant with specific pesticides readily available from a good nurseryman.
Appearance of necrotic spots on the leaves accompanied by the appearance of a gray mold
These symptoms are usually associated with the presence of a very harmful and polyphagous fungus, the Botrytis spp.
Remedies: the affected parts of the plant must be eliminated immediately and treated with a specific fungicide. The remedies against this fungus are essentially preventive, as it is favored by humidity in the air and excessive watering.
The name of the genus is thought to derive from the Latin only "Consolation, pupil" for the calming and narcotic properties that some species of the genus have.