The fragrant potato vine, or jasmine nightshade (Solanum jasminoides), is a relative of the potato plant and very similar to several ornamental vining species in the genus Solanum. These include the giant potato creeper S. wendlandi and Brazilian nightshade S. seaforthiana. The potato vine should not be confused with the sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas), which is also grown as a vine. Potato vines are frost-tender, scrambling vines grown for their showy clusters of small, star-shaped flowers with white petals and yellow centres. They can be grown as annuals in colder zones or as perennials in frost-free areas.
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Things you need
- Balanced fertiliser
Plant your potato vine in well-drained soil and a sunny spot with some shade during the midday heat. Place next to a wall or pergola to provide some support once the plant starts to grow. Plant in a hole twice the diameter of the original pot and as deep as the plant's root-ball. Cover the soil around the newly planted vine with 2 or 3 inches of organic mulch such as pine needles or wood chips. Tie stems to the support as they grow.
Water your potato vine as soon as the surface of the soils starts to dry out. Water your newly planted vine every day for the first two weeks, and then reduce watering gradually. This allows the potato vine to generate new roots in the soil and establish itself quickly.
Apply granular, slow-release fertiliser to the ground around your potato vine every three months. Use a balanced fertiliser enriched with micronutrients. Once your potato vine has reached its full length (around 15 feet), reduce fertilisation to once a year.
Monitor your potato vine for signs of aphid or insect infestation and treat with an insecticidal soap or pyrethrin-based insecticide spray. Consider a preventive treatment at the end of winter if your garden is prone to insect infestation.
Tips and warnings
- Propagate your vine by semi-hardwood cuttings.
- Do not let your potato vine dry out to the point where its leaves start to wilt, especially if it is flowering.
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