When you mention the nightshade family of plants, most gardeners think of potatoes, peppers, eggplants, or tomatoes. But there is another less well-known ornamental member of this family with beautiful flowers and variegated foliage: the Paraguay Nightshade.
Sunny Daze Paraguay Nightshade (Solanum rantonnetii 'MonRita') displays bright gold, white, and green foliage with violet-purple flowers with yellow centers that resemble the flowers of eggplants. It grows 3 to 4 feet tall and adds a tropical flare to containers and annual flowerbeds. Sunny Daze grows best in dappled sun or full shade, with regular feeding and watering. A more compact version of the species, which reaches 6 feet tall in its native Paraguay, this variety is hardy to USDA zone 9. In hot weather it grows quickly and flowers all summer long. The small fruit is not edible.
For more on this unusual tropical, go to: Monrovia Nursery.
Article published on June 23, 2008.