Have you ever heard of Solano? A plant also known as culamara, blue-flowered nightshade or its scientific name, Solanum rantonnetti.
Its flowers are the most characteristic, but what kind of plant is it? How is it taken care of? If it has caught your attention, keep reading and you will discover everything you need to know about it.
How is the Solano plant
The Solano plant is a climber. It is actually a shrub, but with a climbing habit. It is native to South America. Along with this species, there are many more Solanumbut when looking for solanos this is the most common and the best known.
It is evergreen, oval and very bright green. But the most characteristic of this plant are, without a doubt, its flowers. They have the shape of a bell, a rough appearance and are blue in color. Also, they last a long time because they can flower in summer and last until mid-fall.
After that, we would have the fruits, which will be red berries that will be arranged in clusters.
It is usual to have it as a small tree in which the trunk remains clean until it reaches its crown, quite leafy and flat with branches and leaves. In its flowering season it is filled with small flowerswhich causes it to have purple tones sprinkled with green.
Of course, you must be careful because, sometimes it can have some thorns. Its height will depend on whether you have it in a pot (with which it will not reach two meters), or on the ground, where it can easily reach 6-8 meters there.
Solano plant care
Now that you know this shrub a little better, would you like to take care of it? It goes without saying, but these cares can be worth it for any solano plant. Except for some minor quirks, you won’t have a problem with them.
Here we leave them:
location and temperature
The best location for the Solano plant will largely depend on the climate you have where you live. It is not the same to have it in a hot climate with very suffocating summers, than in one where the summer does not exceed 25ºC.
Therefore, based on where you live, bet on placing it in full sun or in semi-shade, but making sure that it receives as much natural light as possible (direct and indirect).
Make sure it is not in an area where it receives drafts, because they don’t like anything. In fact, this can cause its leaves and flowers to drop, leaving it bare.
Regarding the temperature, you will have gotten an idea that it will not have a problem with the heat. But, regarding the cold, it does not tolerate temperatures below 10ºC. In fact, Your ideal would be to be between 12 and 18ºC in winter, so, if it goes lower, it is possible that it will lose the leaves (but it will recover them in spring).
Regarding the soil to use, we recommend that you use one rich in organic matter, as well as very drained, so that it is well oxygenated. A good mix that you can try is to use compost with universal soil and perlite or similar.
You can also use a universal substrate with worm humus, sand and heather soil.
Both options will work quite well and provide you with the nutrients and foundation you need. In fact, you will have to transplant it as it grows and the roots come out of the pot (from below).
The Solano plant needs a good watering. In spring and summer, due to the high temperatures and being exposed to the sun, it will need you to water it enough to keep the soil moist. This can be between 2 and 4 times a week (it will depend on where you are, temperature, sun, etc.).
On the other hand, in autumn and winter it is watered minimally, especially if there is high humidity, to prevent it from being affected by fungi or other diseases. At first, with the youngest plants, you should be very careful because they are more demanding than those that are already adapted to the climate.
Being a flowering plant and also blooming a lot in the spring and summer seasons, you should have a fertilizer on hand to apply in those months. You can fertilize first with an organic fertilizer, such as manure or humus, and then continue, monthly, adding a liquid chemical (to dissolve it with the irrigation water) until the end of the summer.
As a climbing shrub that it is, the Solano plant will grow in the most active months (from spring to autumn) and this will cause it to lose its shape. Therefore, throughout the year yes it is convenient that you cut enough to maintain the shape you want.
But, in addition, at the end of winter it is a good idea to prune it to control the growth and flowering of that year. It is a way to cleanse the plant and at the same time stimulate it to grow.
Plagues and diseases
This plant is not too susceptible to pest attack, but aphids can take their toll on it and put it in trouble. The solution in these cases is to use specific products, as well as prevention so that they can attack it.
Regarding diseases, most will be caused by fungi, such as Botrytis. However, the greatest dangers have to do with excessive or insufficient watering and lighting that is too bright or too little.
Finally, regarding the propagation of the Solano plant, the best way to do it, and the most effective, may be through cuttings.
These should be harvested at the end of the summer, and if possible by air layering.
Another way of reproducing it is with the seeds that are inside the red fruits that it throws out. It is a slower process, because they have to be planted in spring and protected from inclement weather (in greenhouses) so that they germinate and begin to grow.
The Solano plant is one of the most beautiful you can have at home or in an apartment, and the most beautiful thing is when it blooms with those purple flowers. Do you dare to have one?