Herself's Houston Garden

Conservation through cultivation

Naranjilla Solanum quitoense Lam.




I first happened across plants with thorns on the leaves in a botanical garden in Hawaii. I never thought I’d be able to grow one here. But as luck would have it, I found this plant at a Jerry’s Jungle plant sale July 4th.

This can reach about 8′ in height but will likely top out at about 4′ here. Stems will become more woody with age. Right now the stems are soft and also covered in thorns. Leaves can reach 2′ in length and are somewhat fuzzy. Typically fuzzy leaved plants are things to avoid in Houston. The fuzz means they are meant for drier, less humid climates.

They love the sun, go ahead and plant them in full sun.

They are cold sensitive and will need protection over the colder winter nights. They should come back in warmer weather if they do get cold damage in the winter. Heat can also be a problem for them. They prefer a more moderate climate than we have here in Houston.

Water frequently, especially in our warmer months, not really drought tolerant.

The hairs and thorns are purple, the colors in the images are true.

This plant is a member of the nightshade family, just like tomatoes, potatoes etc. The fruit of this plant is orange and small. Fruit takes about 2 months to ripen. I haven’t had any yet.

These die back to the ground in the fall, but come back from the roots in the spring.

Native to northern south America.

Problems:
Nematodes, grow them in pots if nematodes are a problem in your garden.
White flies also like this plant.

Propagate by seeds.

More information:
Naranjilla