Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tropical Soda Apple
Solanum viarum

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)
Species: viarum (vy-AR-um) (Info)

2 members have or want this plant for trade.


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)
4-6 ft. (1.2-1.8 m)

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)
24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Blooms repeatedly


Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater
Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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to view:

By Floridian
Thumbnail #1 of Solanum viarum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #2 of Solanum viarum by Floridian

By Floridian
Thumbnail #3 of Solanum viarum by Floridian

By Floridian
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By Floridian
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By Floridian
Thumbnail #7 of Solanum viarum by Floridian

There are a total of 9 photos.
Click here to view them all!


1 positive
1 neutral
5 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral CatskillKarma On Sep 12, 2012, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

My husband came home from a trip to New York City with a picture of this plant growing in Madison Square Park. It appeared to have been planted intentionally as part of an ornamental planting. The thorny leaves were very forbidding. Is it possible to grow this plant safely as an annual where it will be killed by winter?
It seems odd that the fruits do not produce plants true from seed. Does anyone here know why not?

Negative frostweed On Dec 27, 2006, frostweed from Josephine, Arlington, TX (Zone 8a) wrote:

Tropical Soda Apple Solanum viarum is naturalized in Texas and other States and is considered an invasive noxious plant in Texas.

Negative caron On Nov 25, 2004, caron from Woodland Park, CO (Zone 4b) wrote:

Not allowed for import to the US and not allowed in any interstate or intrastate transportation without a specific permit from USDA APHIS PPQ (Plant Protection and Quarantine).
No one should be selling/growing this plant in the U.S.

Positive piedmthq On Jul 26, 2004, piedmthq from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

I grow this as a houseplant/bonsai in my area. I purchased seeds from a seedsman company in LaHonda Cal. Lots of people find the plant exotic with the thorns & yellow fruit. Easy to care for plant..

I had a friend come up from FL & I was showing this person my bonsai collection. When she saw this plant she started laughing & said this bonsai is nothing but a common weed in FL. Looking at the feedback on this plant, I see its a terrible weed down south. I guess that would explain why this is such an EZ bonsai.

Negative ButterflyMom21 On Jul 22, 2004, ButterflyMom21 from San Antonio, TX (Zone 9a) wrote:

I wouldn't say it is a "success" in my garden, although it grows plenty well enough even with my constant cutting, pulling, trimming, dousing with chemicals... LOL. This is a major weed, and the only way to get rid of it is to keep constantly on top of any new growth.... and this may take several years. This plant "attacks" and causes an itchy skin irritation. My father grabbed a plant by mistake and his hand was completely covered with redness and swelling for the rest of the day and into the next! BE CAREFUL!!

Negative TamiMcNally On May 24, 2004, TamiMcNally from Lake Placid, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Very invasive

Negative ButterflyGardnr On Feb 5, 2003, ButterflyGardnr from Orlando, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is a major pest plant in the southern US. It has been found to form monocultures in areas where it is left unchecked. This plant bears small round fruits that turn yellow at maturity. Seeds germinate at a rate of about 95%.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Ellenton, Florida
Melbourne, Florida
Dunellen, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
San Antonio, Texas

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