Also known as
Chinese lanterns, Bladder herb, Husk tomato, Cape gooseberry
More images of Ground Cherry
Ground Cherry Overview
Physalis - or Ground Cherry, as it's also known - is a genus of around 80 species. They are annual or perennial flowering plants, native to warm temperate and subtropical regions worldwide, with the largest centre of diversity in Mexico. Physalis are rhizomatous plants with simple or lobed (segmented) leaves and small, cream, bell-shaped, insignificant flowers that develop in the leaf axils. They grow in a bushy, upright form. The most striking feature of members of this genus, however, are the colourful, papery, orange or scarlet calyces that surround the berries. These berries can be bright yellow, red or purple, and some are edible. Some Ground Cherries are grown purely as ornamentals however, and the unusual lantern-shaped calyces become skeletonised and remain on the plants all winter. This makes them popular for dried flower arrangements - but be careful they don't become invasive in garden borders if you grow them yourself. To avoid this problem, grow Physalis in pots. Wherever they're grown however, they like well-drained soil in full sun or part shade.
Common problems with Ground Cherry
Generally pest and disease free.
How to propagate Ground Cherry
You can propagate by division or softwood cuttings in spring, annuals by seed in spring or autumn.
Special features of Ground Cherry
Other uses of Ground Cherry
Grown mainly for their decorative, lantern-like calyces and fruits, produced in autumn. Leaves are poisonous if eaten.