Among fruit-bearing indoor crops, such brightness as indoor nightshade plants can boast of. Large berries, balls, the color of which changes with maturation, seem to be artificial beads on the bushes. Miniature nightshade is one of the most interesting and neat indoor plants. Unfortunately, you can save the fruits for a long time only in cool conditions. This plant is very demanding on temperature conditions, but it responds to proper care by generous fruiting.Solanum - bright and unusual room nightshade
Description of indoor nightshade
Room nightshade better known by his folk names jerusalem cherry or "decorative tomato". This is a poisonous, but very popular plant in a room culture from the nightshade family.
Indoor nightshade - plants are compact, but only thanks to special pruning. On average, the height of home nightshade is about 30 cm. Gradually lignifying straight trunk, densely branched shoots create a crown-like crown.
Leaves of indoor nightshade are short-leaved, lanceolate, with slightly wavy solid edges. They are painted in a rich grayish-dark green color, they seem dense and neat. The matte surface of the leaves creates a strikingly beautiful background for glossy fruits.
Flowering nightshade is generally nondescript. Yellowish or white star-shaped flowers bloom in rare inflorescences or one at a time and are quickly replaced by fruits. The plant requires artificial pollination. Almost perfectly round berries are large enough (up to 1.5 cm) and change colors as they ripen from green to increasingly yellow, orange and red with a coral-salmon hue. The fruits of nightshade sparkle like Christmas tree decorations thanks to a special wax coating.
The fruiting period of nightshade lasts from the beginning of autumn until winter, the berries last for several months, not withering and not falling all winter. Most often, nightshade blooms in the summer, but today they are expelled in atypical times, and elegant bushes strewn with berries can be found on sale anytime.
Despite the visual appeal of the nightshade crop, it is strictly forbidden to try berries. These are poisonous fruits, which even in a minimal amount can lead to serious poisoning.
Types of indoor nightshade
In indoor conditions, various forms are most often grown false pepper nightshade (Solanum pseudocapsicum) This is a herbaceous perennial that, when properly formed, looks like a compact, densely leafy bush with a bright scattering of fruits.
Its two-tone decorative form (Solanum pseudocapsicum var. diflorum) used to be distributed under the name pepper nightshade (Solanum capsicastrum) On its basis, many variegated varieties were bred.False pepper nightshade (Solanum pseudocapsicum).
Growing conditions for solanum
Nightshades belong to rapidly degenerating plants that require regular replacement. To achieve repeated flowering and fruiting is possible only when the plant is kept cool, regular pruning and high-quality feeding. Lighting is critical for fruiting.
Lighting and placement
Indoor nightshade is so photophilic that it is better to place them exclusively on window sills. For enviably plentiful fruiting, nightshade will need a sunny place, but with protection from the aggressive midday sun. Ideal for this plant, the eastern and western window sills.
In winter, the lack of light needs to be compensated for by moving to the southern windows or backlighting.
Temperature and ventilation
It is impossible to grow nightshade without lowering the air temperature during fruiting (fruits last long only at temperatures below 18 degrees). From November to the end of February, it is better to keep bushes at a temperature of 6 to 10 degrees, with the maximum allowable values of indicators from 12 to 15 degrees.
Without a cold wintering, the nightshade does not bloom repeatedly, respectively, and does not bear fruit. The plant is transferred back to room temperatures in early spring or in February, immediately after transplantation. But even in summer, nightshade is better to protect from heat, limiting the maximum temperature of 23-25 degrees. The beauty of the bushes and the abundance of fruiting will only benefit from the differences between day and night temperatures.
Nightshade loves fresh air, for the summer it is better to move it to the garden or to balconies. While staying indoors, especially during the cool period in autumn and winter, the plant should be protected even from small drafts.Today, variegated varieties of indoor nightshade are also on sale.
Caring for nightshade at home
Nightshades do not like misses in irrigation and require generous top dressing for intensive growth, flowering and fruiting. The main secret of compactness is the combination of several types of trimming.
Watering and humidity
The solubility of nightshades often scares away even the lovers of bright exotic from them. Drying of the substrate for nightshade is unacceptable. Even during the cold period of rest, it is worth maintaining a minimum soil moisture. During the period of active growth, watering is carried out in spring and summer, allowing only a few upper centimeters of soil to dry. Reduction of watering in the fall is carried out so that the substrate dries twice as much.
Nightshade prefer high humidity. It is better to include foliage spraying in the regular care program, but if the indicators fall below 60%, it is necessary to install at least the simplest moisturizers - trays with wet moss or expanded clay.
Fertilizing and fertilizer composition
For abundant fruiting, nightshade need a highly nutritious soil. The plant quickly depletes resources from the substrate and needs frequent, regular feeding - 1 time in 7-10 days during active vegetation and flowering. After the formation of fruits, the frequency is reduced to 1 time in 3-4 weeks. For the rest period, top dressing is completely stopped, resuming after pruning and transplantation, with the onset of active growth.
For nightshade, you can use universal fertilizers, special fertilizers for tomatoes or fruit-bearing plants, and even fertilizers for flowering crops.
Pruning and Soldering
Without pruning, the plant will not only not form a beautiful squat form of a dense bush, but will quickly lose its decorativeness, will often require replacement with young seedlings. For nightshades, two types of pruning are needed:
- spring, which is carried out at the end of the dormant period, greatly shortening all shoots and stimulating rejuvenation (standard pruning - 1/3 of the length of the branches);
- regular, in the form of pinching the tips of the shoots to stimulate tillering.
Do not forget about sanitary cleaning. Fading leaves and shoots should be cut off from the bushes immediately.Indoor nightshade loves fresh air, for the summer it is better to move it to the garden or to the balconies.
Transplant, containers and substrate
Unlike most houseplants, nightshade prefers rather heavy, clay soils, to which inert additives such as vermiculite, perlite, fine expanded clay, and coarse sand were added for breathability. It is possible to grow indoor nightshade in any universal substrate with a neutral reaction. Nutrition should be high.
For this berry plant, small, not too deep containers with good drainage holes are used. Pottery is preferred.
False pepper nightshade is transplanted annually, after pruning, in early spring. The rhizome is carefully transferred, removing only free soil along the edge of the root coma and maintaining the level of penetration. At the bottom of the tanks lay a high layer of drainage (at least 1/3 of the height of the pot).
Problems in growing indoor nightshade
Nightshades rarely get sick, but with improper care and maintenance in the open air they can attract pests. False pepper nightshade are very fond of whiteflies, aphids and spider mites. It is better to deal with pests on the plant immediately with insecticides - procrastination quickly leads to a complete loss of decorativeness.
Nightshade leaves “signals” about lighting or irrigation. He twists the leaves in direct sunlight, discards - with a lack of lighting, turns yellow and dries out - with drought or overflow.
Propagation of solanum
Indoor nightshade is easy to grow from seeds that are sown together with summers, superficially, slightly covered with sand, under glass or film. Young plants are kept in the brightest light and dive after the appearance of a pair of real leaves with repeated change of pots to constant ones after growing to a height of about 15 cm. It is very important to begin pinching as early as possible.
Also read our material 13 indoor plants that are easy to grow from seeds at home.
You can propagate nightshade and cuttings, rooting the young shoots that did not bear fruit or the semi-lignified shoots that remained after pruning under the hood in light, slightly moistened soil.