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SOLANUM pseudocapsicum

Image of Solanum pseudocapsicum

Jesse Saylor

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

SOLANUM pseudocapsicum

Plant Common Name

Christmas Cherry, Jerusalem Cherry

General Description

Some of the prettiest holiday plants are tropical, and Jerusalem cherry is one of them. This small evergreen shrub has simple leaves and showy scarlet fruits that lend a festive holiday look. Native to eastern South America, it naturally inhabits open forested areas. Its berries are pretty but inedible and quite toxic, so this is not a plant to keep around small children or mammalian pets that might want to nibble them.

Jerusalem cherry has elliptical leaves of deep emerald green and with smooth, wavy edges. In summer white, five-petaled blossoms occur along the stems. After pollinated by insects, round, long-lasting fruits that resemble tiny red or golden orange tomatoes are produced.

Grow Jerusalem cherry in full to partial sun in non-acid soil that is moist, well-drained and somewhat fertile. Even moisture is most needed from spring to fall, while drier soil is needed during cooler winter months. Soil enriched with potassium helps the fruits develop to perfection.

When grown outdoors in frost-free regions, Jerusalem cherry becomes a large shrub with colorful fruits from fall to early spring. It also adapts well to houseplant culture, if ample light is supplied. Numerous cultivars exist with fruits of various colors and sizes.

There are health risks associated with this plant. For more information see: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/depts/hort/consumer/poison/Solanps.htm. This species has become invasive in Australia and Africa.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2

  • Plant Type

    Broadleaf Evergreen

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    South America, Brazil

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral, Alkaline

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Tolerances

    Drought

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Oval/Rounded

  • Seasonal Interest

    Fall, Winter

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    White

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Orange, Gold, Crimson, Orange Red

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Dark Green

  • Bark Color

    Tan, Sandy Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Glossy

  • Evergreen

    Yes

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Container, Feature Plant, Houseplant, Mixed Border, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    No