Giant Star Potato Tree

Solanum macranthum

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)
Species: macranthum (ma-KRAN-thum) (Info)




Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun




Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


12-15 ft. (3.6-4.7 m)


10-12 ft. (3-3.6 m)


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)

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Medium Purple

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Blooms repeatedly

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:


Propagation Methods:

From seed; winter sow in vented containers, coldframe or unheated greenhouse

Seed Collecting:

Collect seedhead/pod when flowers fade; allow to dry


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Boca Raton, Florida

Brooksville, Florida

Cape Coral, Florida

Clearwater, Florida

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Fort Pierce, Florida

Melbourne, Florida

Miami, Florida

Palm City, Florida

Port Saint Lucie, Florida(2 reports)

Saint Petersburg, Florida(2 reports)

Sarasota, Florida

Tampa, Florida(2 reports)

Houston, Texas

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 11, 2016, lzfl from Vero Beach, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

Nyeri from kuching, Malaysia wrote: Are the fruits poisonous? Can the plant be used as a rootstock for edible solanum?

Yes and yes. The fruit is very toxic, but you can graft eggplant onto it. The advantage of that is the rootstock is nematode resistant.


On Mar 19, 2016, Lucylockett from London,
United Kingdom wrote:

I have just seen this plant in Taroudant, Morocco in a garden designed by Eric Ossart and Arnaud Maurieres. It is impressive and certainly worth a try although it is difficult to find out anything about its care preferences. Taroudant is near the Atlas Mountains and can get cold in the winter and up to 40 degrees plus in the is mostly dry. The tree I saw was about six years old grown from seed. It was about 5 m tall, and 3 m wide. I was given some fruits so will try the seeds in Grasse on the French Riviera.. I'll see how they go!


On Feb 7, 2016, knowlty from Plainfield, CT wrote:

I was recently at a friend's house and noticed one of her plants was on it's last leg. I asked her if I could help tend to it and she said she thought it was dead and going to throw it away, When I saw the plant tag inside of it I saw that it was a giant potato tree so I told her I would take it and try my best to get it to live and in shape, It looks like she had it in a sunny window but was not giving it enough water and no fertilizer though it is the winter in New England. Could anyone please give me advice on if the plant is worth saving or can be? All the leaves that are left on the plant are tiny and dried out. Is there any hope for this rare beauty? I have searched the net without success on this issue and would greatly appreciate any response! Thank you!


On Aug 30, 2015, gardenbysarasota from North Sarasota, FL wrote:

This is a great plant that grows fast. It does well in the Sarasota
area of Florida. Also, they are easy to propagate from cuttings.
In June I started from a 2" cutting, now the plant is over 1 1/2 feet


On Aug 4, 2015, teresalt01 from Tampa, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

Beautiful very fast growing tree - stunning specimen. Hard to find. Make sure you plant it in an area where it will never be waterlogged. We lost two of them due to unusually wet conditions.


On Aug 10, 2014, Nyeri from kuching,
Malaysia wrote:

Are the fruits poisonous? Can the plant be used as a rootstock for edible solanum?
Any one have some experience on this. thanks


On Jul 9, 2010, Daylily_Diva from Santee, CA wrote:

This small tree took a long time to get going from a 5 gallon pot - I almost pulled it out - but now is gorgeous and a real magnet for all the birds who sit in it as it overhangs my waterfall and wait to take a dip. Very entertaining to watch. I'm east of San Diego (hot summers, cold winters) and wonder when this tree should be shaped as it's getting pretty floppy and needs cutting back.


On Jan 21, 2009, repha from Port Saint Lucie, FL wrote:

Everyone who sees my tree asks what it is! It is a show stopper. It is shallow rooted and can topple in a hurricane, but easy to get uprighted. The only negative is the torns, both on leaves and trunk. That being said, I will not be without one.


On Sep 25, 2008, tennebrac from Tampa, FL wrote:

A wonderful tropical addition to a Florida garden. Likes full sun and grows quickly. Tends to branch from near the base-- leave "as is" for a full bushy shrub or trim to encourage growth into a tree. Blooms all year. I fertilize moderately once a season with 6-6-6. Likes frequent water, but does not need to be watered everyday in my experience, even in summer (I am aware of the note above which indicates that the soil should not be allowed to dry out but this has not been my experience--this plant tolerates dryness better than a lot of other plants I have in my yard). Pollinating insects (bees, wasps, butterflies) love this plant. The new blooms have a slight sweet smell which is apparent only if you are very near the plant.

The only negative is that this plant is... read more