SOLANUM

This genus includes the winter cherry, a favourite room plant for winter decoration, the egg plant or aubergine and the Chilean potato tree. The winter cherry (Solatium capsicastrum) bears small white flowers followed by round scarlet berries. Plants bought from the florist in autumn often fail because of wrong treatment in the home. They dislike draughts and gas fumes. Keep the compost moist, not sodden, otherwise the leaves will fall. Increase by 2 in. long cuttings in early March. The egg plant or aubergine (Solatium melongena) is treated in much the same way as the tomato, seed being sown in a heated greenhouse (temperature 55 degrees F) in February. Seedlings may eventually be planted outdoors in early June under a sunny wall. In a really hot summer, some fruits will probably ripen.

Solatium crispinum autumnale Glasnevin variety is the best form of the Chilean potato tree. This bears rich purplish-blue flowers with yellow-centres all summer and will reach at least 15 ft. if planted on a warm south or south-west wall. It can be grown as a climber or shrub. Any reasonably fertile soil will do. Cuttings may be taken in spring.

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