Solanum capsicastrum Winter Cherry; 10°C/50°F; Brazil

With their bright red or orange fruits these are very cheerful subjects at Christmas, but it is important that they should enjoy the maximum amount of light and fresh air if they are to retain the appearance. In poor light, they will shed their berries quickly, so the light and airy windowsill is absolutely essential. Raised from seed these plants should be grown on into small pots of loam-based mix before being transferred to sheltered outdoor conditions for the summer months. Bring them under cover, in the home or a greenhouse, when nights become colder. Keep plants moist at their roots throughout the growing season and spray the foliage over regularly once the flowers appear in summer, in order to improve pollination and help berries to set. Plants can be propagated from cuttings taken from plants kept from the previous year. However, it is usually better to treat them as annuals and dispose of them once their attraction has gone, and to raise new plants from seed annually in spring.

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