These shrubs are dense and roundish in shape; they have semi-woody stems, very branched, and small lance-shaped leaves, bright green in color, with slightly wavy edge; from April until the first cold produce countless purple flowers, with yellow center, grouped in small bunches; the flowers are followed by the fruits that appear as round orange berries, inedible.
These plants are very decorative and their abundant and very prolonged flowering is very appreciated, also thanks to the delicate scent emanating from the flowers, which increases in intensity especially in the evening hours.
After flowering it is useful and necessary to shorten the branches too long or weak, to encourage a more compact development of the shrub, which over the years reaches 150-200 cm in height.
This shrub should be planted in a sunny place, or even in the shade; these plants don’t like cold weather and therefore, with temperatures below -3°C it is best to shelter them with tnt or in a cold greenhouse.
To avoid that the cold weather damages the plants it is advisable to grow them in pots, or to plant them in a protected place and during the period with the coldest temperatures it is useful to use protective cloths and mulching material, leaves or straw to cover the roots and the stem, so as to help the plant to overcome the cold climate.
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The Solanum rantonnetii can be satisfied with the water coming from the rains, but to obtain a greater development it is advisable to water regularly, always waiting for the soil to be dry between one watering and the other; during the hottest months of the year it is necessary to intensify the watering to help the plant to withstand the high temperatures and periods of drought.
From March to September provide fertilizer for flowering plants every 10-15 days, mixed with water of watering or every 2-3 months use slow release granular fertilizer.
The Solanum rantonnetii should be planted in a place with loose, well drained and fairly rich soil; if placed in a pot, this plant needs to be repotted every year, increasing the diameter of the container to help it to have the best possible growth.
For the multiplication of this variety, two ways are possible; in spring it is possible to sow the seeds of the previous year; while in summer for the propagation of the plant, semi-woody cuttings are made to be rooted in pots.
Solanum rantonnetii: Pests and diseases
This type of plant can be attacked by parasites and diseases which, if not treated promptly, can compromise its health.
Aphids often stick to flowers and leaves and spoil buds. Red spiders can also affect this type of plant.
To counteract their formation it is necessary to use specific insecticide products that can be used before the plant presents flowering to avoid ruining the subsequent development.
There are other purple-flowered solanum, similar in behavior to the previous, little cultivated in Italy, but still very decorative, almost all originating in South America.