Physalis – Plant of the week

21st July 2020


Physalis alkekengi is a distant relative of the new world P. peruviana. This species is native to Asia unlike the rest of Physalis that is native to the Americas. It is easily identifiable by the large, bright orange to red papery covering over its fruit, which resembles paper lanterns

Other common names – Chinese lantern

Genus Physalis can be annuals or rhizomatous perennials with simple or pinnately lobed leaves and small bell-shaped flowers in the leaf axils, followed by fleshy, sometimes edible, yellow, red or purple berries, enclosed in enlarged, often colourful, calyces

Details – Physalis  is a vigorous herbaceous perennial which can grow to 60cm tall, with ovate leaves and nodding creamy-yellow bell-shaped flowers 2cm wide, followed by inflated, lantern-like deep orange calyces 5cm long enclosing red berries

How to grow

Grow in any well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Best grown in containers as although suitable for the border it may become invasive

Propagate in containers in a cold frame in spring; propagate by division in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types Flower borders and beds Cottage & Informal Garden City & Courtyard Gardens Coastal

Pruning – Ideal for flower arranging; cut stems for drying as the calyces begin to colour

Pests – Caterpillars may be a problem

Generally, disease free

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