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Zones 12, 13, 15-28, H1, H2
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Moderate

Solanum rantonnetii

Solanaceae
Evergreen, Shrubs

SOLANUM

In addition to eggplant, potato, and tomato (described under those names), Solanum includes a number of ornamental plants. All have small, star-shaped, five-petaled blue or white flowers with reproductive parts that form a pointed yellow structure in the blossom’s center. A few of the species described here produce decorative fruit’edible in the case of S.muricatum, but usually poisonous; if fruit is not described as edible, you are better off not sampling it.

Solanum rantonnetii

As freestanding plant, it makes a shrub 8–12 ft. tall and 6–10 ft.wide, but it can be staked into tree form or,with support, grown as a vine to 12–15 ft. or more. Can also be allowed to sprawl and used as a ground cover. Bright green, oval leaves to 4 in. long; violet-blue,–– 1/2 -in. flowers throughout warm weather, often nearly year-round. Informal, fast growing, not easy to use in tailored landscape; prune hard to keep it neat. In severe cold, leaf drop is heavy and branch tips may die back.

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