Struggles growing Lulo/Naranjilla (solanum quitoense)
I first tried lulo in Cali, Colombia and fell in love! I saw it mentioned in restaurants in Ecuador but thought that 'naranjilla' was just a type of orange.
I have since tried growing it indoors in Wisconsin and a couple times since I've moved to southern Florida.
My first batch in Wisco germinated but died after about 6" of height. These were purchased online (California based store) listed as Naranjilla.
I tried them again once I moved to southern Florida in January (45degF nights, 75degF days) and they germinated in only a few days. They grew to about 3" and then seemed to stagnate and stop growing. Shortly after, it appeared that a lizard came by and uprooted them which eventually led to their demise.
In May of this year I planted another 20 seeds (from the same vendor in California) and so far 4 of them have sprouted. 2 are about 2" now, and the other two are smaller. I was surprised again yesterday that like last time a lizard must have come by and tried to uproot them. This time he wasn't as successful and I decided to move them inside for the meanwhile. I have them right by a window, but they probably aren't receiving as much sunlight as they need....which brings me to my next point/question -
-how much sunlight is needed? how much is too much?
-partial shade in the first few months and direct sun after 6 months, perhaps?
-with the summer months beginning, how hot is too hot for my lulitos? 95degF seems to be the norm about this time during the day, 75degF+ at night.
-any recommendations as to a buying/creating a transparent protective cover? I like to 3R (reduce, reuse and recycle) and am currently poking holes in a cut off 2 liter bottle of Coca Cola which I plan to place on top of the growing plants (to keep the curious lizards away). I am afraid that this will trap too much heat and humidity, however.
Thank you, sorry for the lengthy post but I would appreciate any tips!
PS - I just received about 300 seeds of the Colombian variety. I planted about 100 of them and expect them to germinate in the next couple of weeks. I want to get some growing, but may have more in a couple months that I'd be willing to exchange with mangosteen, mamoncillo chino, acai or any other interesting tropical fruit seeds!