Louise Sims

I love the potato family (Solanaceae), and while two of them are already great favourites, this one is relatively new to me and it’s very exciting to see it in flower in its first year.

If you search for it online you will immediately spot discrepancies in the name, (and why on earth would the pope need a crèche?!) but I’m going to stick with the most commonly used.

Solanum jasminoides ‘Album’

As a family they are a generous lot, their growth is exuberant and they don’t stint on flowers. S. crispum ‘Glasnevin’ AGM, known as the Chilean potato tree, is more of a wall shrub, and kicks off first in our garden. I love the deep purple blue flowers with contrasting yellow centres. Then comes S jasminoides ‘Album’, a twining climber, hardy in all but the coldest winter, with prolific clusters of pure white flowers.

Today’s choice, S laxum ‘Creche du Pape’, has just come into flower and I am reminded of why I fell for it at a plant fair last year. The flowers are most beautifully tinted with violet and are set off by rather more refined foliage whose stems are dark, almost black.

They all prefer a warm sunny wall and good drainage.

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