Solanum rantonnetii

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Solanum rantonnetii

Post  reddogf5 on Mon Dec 01, 2014 11:44 am

Hi, does anyone know the proper care for a Solanum rantonnetii?
When I purchased it,it was doing very well. It then dropped all leaves, and stopped flowering. Since it has spouted new growth. From what little I have been able to find, it appears to need heavy pruning as it only flowers on new growth. I'm not sure about a dormant season, as it looks like it is hardy to zones 9-11, which is pretty warm. Currently it is inside.
Any input is appreciated.

reddogf5
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Re: Solanum rantonnetii

Post  Leo Schordje on Mon Dec 01, 2014 3:19 pm

The current name for the "blue potato bush" is Lycianthes rantonnetii. It was moved out of Solanum a few years ago. It is more closely related to the chili pepper than the potato. Like the chili pepper plant, it does not make 'true' wood, its stems may become woody, but it does not form true wood. It comes from some of the same countries that Bouganvillea is native to, including areas where there are dry seasons. It can go dormant or semi-dormant for a period of time, then return to growth the following season. But you can keep it growing with enough sun & heat.

Sun, it is a full sun plant, which is difficult to give in Michigan USA, in middle of winter. In Michigan winter days can be as short as 7 or 8 hours and pretty dull and gray, where it comes from winter day length is 10 hours or more. I would supplement natural light if you want to keep it growing. In an under lights set up day length over 12 hours, up to 18 hours will help keep it thinking it is spring.

For long term health it needs a potting media that breathes well, a deciduous bonsai mix would be fine. Potting soil as for house plants is likely to compact and not retain air voids over the long term.

Water when just about dry, if the leaves wilt, you should have watered it yesterday.

Some air movement in the growing area will help keep down pests and infections. Like most members of the group white fly is frequently an issue with this genus when grown indoors.

Keeping it warm, above 65 F, or above 18 C will help keep it actively growing through the winter.

That is about all I know. Hope it helps.

Leo Schordje
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Re: Solanum rantonnetii

Post  reddogf5 on Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:11 am

Thank you for the information. It is under supplemental light, and is putting out new growth. However, it has lost all of it's shape, there is not much sprouting from the old growth. I am guessing Iwill have to bite the bullet and prune it back heavily to retain any shape.

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Re: Solanum rantonnetii

Post  Leo Schordje on Wed Dec 03, 2014 4:16 pm

If it is actively growing under your lights, it is perfectly safe to do a hard pruning. Go for it.

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Re: Solanum rantonnetii

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