• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

FOLLOW @PITHANDVIGOR ON INSTAGRAM

Bed of Nails Plant

DSC_8105

It seems like almost everyone I have talked with recently laments, where has the summer gone? As a matter of fact, where did September go? It seems like yesterday that it was Memorial Day and all of the summer residents to Maine were just rolling into town and we were rolling out our summer annuals. When I look back at photographs taken early in the season, it is amazing to see just how small all of these plants were in May. June was cool along the Maine coast but once July came, things warmed up and carried us through September. As the temperatures warmed, our plants grew. Some plants grew more than others and these are the ones we are noting to use again in different ways for next year’s displays.

Solanum-quitoense

This week’s plant was one of the show-stoppers of our summer display. We had an exhibition of Lunaform pots at CMBG all summer long. In our Burpee Kitchen Garden, there were 4 matching pots that our kitchen gardener filled to the rim with plants. The centerpiece of this arrangement was Solanum quitoense or “bed of nails plant.” The common name for this tomato relative comes from the nearly inch long, purple spikes that emanate from the leaves, stems, and main stalk of the plant. Another common name is naranjilla, although this is primarily associated with the non-spiky plant grown more for its fruit, than its leaves. A plant native to Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela, it can grow up to 8 feet tall in cultivation, although in our short summer of Maine, we will be lucky if ours reaches 3-4 feet in height by the end of the summer. It is an annual so we can propagate ours through cuttings or by saving the seeds from the fleshy, bright orange fruit.

Solanum-with-fruit

An individual leaf on these plants can be over a foot in length and 10″ or more in width. They are fuzzy, light green with a purple tinge, and the afore to mentioned purple spikes. People who have never seen these plants before cannot believe that such a macabre plant really exists. I remember when I saw one for the first time 15 years ago at Swarthmore College. I did a double take and then of course, immediately wanted one.

I would suggest that you grow this annual out of the reach of children. The spikes not only look sharp, they are sharp! Grow these plants in a rich, well-drained soil in part-shade to full-sun. The warmer your climate, the more shade I would give this plant in the middle of the summer.

-Rodney

Images: Carrie Eason, The Garden Diaries , finegardening.com

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Share this!Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterShare on StumbleUponShare on LinkedInShare on TumblrShare on RedditShare on Google+Email this to someone
• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Plants, Summer 3 Comments

3 Responses to Bed of Nails Plant

  1. Thanks for the info! I saw this plant in Swarthmore, PA this summer in Andrew Bunting’s garden and had no idea what it was. I fell in love with it, even after I got stabbed. It’s a killer plant–in all ways.

Leave a reply

Daily Garden: A Lesson in Matching Metals

This New Jersey garden designed by Richard Hartlage and his team at AHBL Architects is stunningly beautiful but it illustrates an often overlooked design tip. What is that tip? For a clean contemporary subtly in your design, match your metals….. (or at least make sure they don’t clash)….. Just like in interior design, if you…

Victoria & Albert Museum World Beach Art, Stone Mosaic Garden Inspiration

Here is what is inspiring me today. The World Beach Project it is an online gallery of art made by all kinds of people. It features stones gathered on beaches from around the globe. The project was devised by artist-in-residence Sue Lawty in association with the always inspiring Victoria & Albert Museum. Building on the…

Fresh Again: A new feature? Re-styling Gladiolas

I happened across a discussion over at garden web recently  about what makes gardens look dated and it has really got me thinking about which comments I agree or disagree with.  I’m generally of the mind set that looking dated is more often the result of many factors rather than just one thing.  For example,…

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...