Solanum: The Potato Vine

I just love the the profusely flowering blooms of the wonderful, purple solanum. It really earns its place in the garden.

Being fairly vigorous, it can cover a garden feature very quickly if left to its own devises, and will clamber over walls and pergolas to give the most gorgeous display.

Grow it as a stand-alone feature plant, or combined with other wonderful climbers for a dramatic impact.

Unusual Climbers

Solanum, or the potato vine (as it's often called), is actually part of the potato family! It hasn't been seen too often, mainly due to the fact that it isn't fully hardy. However, with our milder winters in recent years, it is becoming much more popular and can be found in most garden centres nowadays.

And what a stunner it is, with its striking yellow stamens against purple flowers. It's a real joy to have in the garden!

Or there is a white variety which goes well with many other climbing plants.

Like the passion flower, to survive the winter, it needs to be grown over a sunny, south or west facing structure. A wall, pergola, trellis or fence is ideal because of the protection it affords against cold, damp, and frost.

Take a look at this wonderful climber: Solanum

Grouping with Other Climbers

Climbing plants really make an impression when grouped with other varieties. Planted together, they definitely have the 'Wow!' factor.

Take a look below to explore the range of varieties that you can choose from in order to make your garden structure a truly wonderful display.

You will find a white variety here, which is also a lovely specimen plant.

Climbing Plant Search

The most effective plants to grow in combination with your solanum are deep and pale pinks, with violet and dark purples.

Let's look at the range of varieties that you might include to make your display really stunning.

Firstly, we have the deep pink roses, such as this beautiful variety 'Parade'. Other climbing roses that would do nicely are the highly fragrant varieties 'Zephirine Drouhin' and 'Aloha'.

Copyright image: Pergola climbing plants: a beautiful pink climbing rose growing over a pergola trellis.

Then there are the pale pink climbing roses, which also work well. 'New Dawn' has gorgeous, large, pale pink blooms, and you could also team up with the pale pink ramblers.

Next, we have the clematis varieties, which come in very deep purple, such as the 'Jackmanii' varieties, 'Romantika' and 'Victor Hugo'. These really offset the lighter purple flowers.

Copyright image: Clematis jackmanii

The carmine pink flowers of 'Ville De Lyon' also looks good, too.

Add border planting in the form of tall and short perennials, as well as lower growing ground cover. Here are some ideas.

Deep pink valarian looks great with anything purple...

Copyright image:  Wonderful deep pink centranthus, also known as valerian. do the many beautiful varieties of penstemon that can be found.

Copyright image:  Beautiful plant combination of campanula 'Pritchard's Variety' and penstemon.

This cream astrantia (much admired in my garden) provides a lighter contrast to the purple flowers.

Copyright image:  Unusual and wonderful cream astrantia.

Or underplant with the delicate perfection of the pale pink osteospermum, which also goes with anything purple, deep pink or cream.

Copyright image:  The stunningly beautiful form of osteospurmum.

You could also try for zingy-green hostas and heuchera to make all the colours really stand out. The bright green, pink and purple flowers look great together!

Copyright image: Lime green hosta and beautiful pink diascia.

Or, if you're very brave, for maximum impact, plant your solanum with a yellow or orange rose to highlight the vibrantly-coloured stamens!

Pruning Your Solanum

All you need to do is cut out overcrowded growth in spring. On established plants cut back unwanted stems to 2-3 buds from base. If your plant becomes overgrown cut out 1 in 3 stems each year.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to have a go at growing this fabulous climbing plant yourself. Just remember to give it the protection it needs and I'm sure it will thrive happily in your garden and give a wonderful display.

Find more help with pruning:

Pruning and Training

Enjoy this page? Share it with others. Here's how...

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.

 Advertising Links

This page may contain advertising links earning a small commission, at no extra cost to you. It is my hope these links will help you to make informed and creative choices.   

Love Gardening! Ezine

Join the 'Love Gardening!' Ezine and receive garden and landscaping tips, exclusive voucher codes and updates to the website.  More...

E-mail Address
First Name

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Love Gardening.

Recently Released

Copyright image: the hexagonal pergola with a pitched roof and kingpin.

Pitched Roof Hexagonal Pergola 

Pergola Plans

Copyright image: how to build a DIY pergola from the simple pergola plans.  Design 2.

Free Simple Pergola Plans

Copyright image: Attached lean-to pergola plans.

Attached Lean-to Pergola

Copyright image: Raised bed plans that can be used as a pergola planter.

Free Raised Bed Plans

Copyright image: Corner pergola plans.

Corner Pergola

Copyright image: Hexagonal pergola plans.

Hexagonal Pergola

Copyright image: Asian pergola plans.

Asian Pergola

Copyright image: A beautiful arbour with seat, trellis and curved rafters.

Seated Arbour

"The plans were great, very concise, easy to follow and I couldn't have managed without them!" T.

“Well done for a really useful site!” Mike.

Love the templates for the Rafter Tails! Using Design #5. Thanks so much." Laura.

"I love your website! Your entire site is incredible. I was able to get ideas for my pergola, which looks fantastic." Wayne.

Great service. Now all I have to do is build it! Martin.

"Your plans look amazingly comprehensive. I see you are intending putting the plans for the corner pergola on this fabulous site. Could you please tell me when the corner pergola plans will be available to purchase...yours is the nicest design I have seen!" Michelle.

Plants and Seeds

Pergola Kits and Accessories

Stylish outdoor seating area.

Grow Your Own

Sales & Offers

Beautiful 'Gainsborough' gazebo

Save £204!

Rattan furniture sale 8 seater.

See the 'Fantastic Offers' page for more bargains on pergola kits, tools and all things gardening!