Friday, January 30, 2015

My favorite plant this week: Solanum xanti 'Mountain Pride'

It's a gray day here in coastal Southern California.  On such days, spots of bright color are especially appreciated and, on rounds of the garden with my sister-in-law, here for a brief visit, I found my eye drawn to Solanum xanti 'Mountain Pride.'  I picked up 2 containers of this native California selection in October and popped them into a bed we carved out of lawn in the backyard this fall.  The low-growing sub-shrubs settled into the space without difficulty and have begun to spread out.

The 2 Solanum shrubs are surrounded by Leucadendron 'Pisa,' Salvia 'Amistad,' and Furcraea foetida, among other plants 


My plants are currently just over one foot tall and close to 2 feet wide.  If the predictions of the grower are correct, they should reach about 2 feet tall and 3 feet wide at maturity.

The plant's sprawling growth pattern is evident in this photo


A member of the nightshade family, all parts of the plant are reportedly poisonous.  The flowers have a pleasing but light fragrance and the plant is attractive to pollinators.  I tried - and failed - to catch a photo of a busy bumble bee flitting among the flowers this morning.

Close-up of flowers, which tend to face downward


The leaves and stems are fuzzy as shown in this poorly-focused photo:



The plant has low water needs but will tolerate some irrigation, which makes it a good choice for mixing within my borders.  It's said to be tolerant of most soils as long as the area in which it's planted is well-drained.  It's also reported to be hardy to 15-20F (-7C to -9C).

It grows in sun or shade, it's drought tolerant, and it's loaded with fragrant purple blooms so there's a lot to love about it.  It's semi-deciduous so it may look a bit shabby by late summer but hopefully a good pruning will keep it in shape.  Solanum xanti 'Mountain Pride' is my favorite plant of the week and my contribution to Loree's favorite plants monthly wrap-up at danger garden.


All material © 2012-2015 by Kris Peterson for Late to the Garden Party

17 comments:

  1. Yay! A California native! One of those really cool plants that loves clay. Thanks for posting this.

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  2. Sounds like a tough plant, but looks quite soft. I like the fuzzy foliage.

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  3. What a pretty, interesting tomato/potato relative!

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  4. Love that combination of purple and yellow!

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  5. I really like your color combination of purple nightshade and friendship sage. I think I will try it in my summer-dry garden. It looks like it might well be a year-round evergreen sort of ground cover, but not boring because of the different shapes of the plants, spires and cushions. Great idea of yours, here; I haven 't seen it before. Thanks (once again) for inspiration.

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    1. It's apparently semi-deciduous, Jane, so I expect it has an untidy appearance for at least a short period in summer but, based on its performance thus far, it earns its rest period.

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  6. I do like this Kris, especially as if it is true about its hardiness I could grow it here.

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  7. Nice choice Kris - loving the whole bed. Couldn't help but notice S. Amistad - mine's is presently blackened and dead looking by frost, but have plenty of cuttings on the kitchen windowsills should it not come back when it heats up a bit.

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    1. I remember seeing the Salvia in gardens in the PNW in spring but the plants didn't appear in nurseries here until fall. It may be that it needs the lower temperatures of our cool season to survive here.

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  8. California has a lot of nice natives. I love that shade of lavender. Salvia 'Amistad' is a beautiful plant.

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  9. That’s a lovely plant, new to me – I have too few blue and purple flowers in my garden, this one could probably do well at the bottom of my garden since it can tolerate some shade.

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  10. It's a great looking plant, also for Northern gardeners, being poisonous this plant is resistant to the various woodland critters (deer, rabbit, etc) that seem to pick only the showiest plants to munch on!

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  11. There is a Solanum relative native here in Texas (Silverleaf nightshade) that is generally considered a weed as it is so widespread. As if often the case, I like it anyway. The blooms seem sweetly shy, with their faces downturned, even if they will grow wild in ditches. It figures the California native version is an attractive shrub. : ) Bet your raccoons won't bother that one!

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    1. I meant "As is often the case"... sorry!

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    2. The raccoons haven't even ventured into that bed, Deb. Yay! Maybe I need to add it throughout the entire backyard.

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