As a decoration for desserts or in supermarket displays – this is how most people know the exotic fruit with the dried petals known under the name physalis. From a botanical point of view, however, this is the generic term. The correct name is actually Cape gooseberry or Andean berry.
Physalis originally comes from Peru and Chile. Today it is also cultivated in America, India, southern France and New Zealand. The plant can Spring grown with seeds or purchased commercially.
Physalis needs a sunny location
Since physalis is very sensitive to frost, it is not recommended to plant it in the bed in this country. If you still decide to do so, you have to dig them up again before the first frosts and try to overwinter them in a bucket. For this reason, the Andean berry should be cultivated in a bucket all year round. A wind-protected location facing south to southwest is ideal, because the plant needs a lot of sun. A covered place that protects against heavy rain is well suited.
Drainage protects against waterlogging
The plant grows about one to two meters high and needs a trellis. The Planters should have a capacity of at least ten liters and a drainage hole for excess watering. Expanded clay, for example, should be used as a drainage layer to prevent waterlogging. as a substrate peat-free organic soil recommended. When planting for fertilizing, it is best to add some horn shavings. Keep the soil evenly moist.
Only harvest fruit with dried lantern shells
Physalis flowers are yellow with black spots. From them, the initially green lanterns form about eight to nine weeks after flowering, which turn orange to light brown at harvest time. If the sun shines sufficiently, the harvest can take place at the end of August or beginning of September. Important: The fruits are only ripe when the lantern cover (leaf cover) has dried up and looks parchment-like. Unripe green fruits are poisonous and should not be eaten. The ripe fruits are very healthy, they contain vitamin C, vitamin B1 and B6 and iron.
Overwinter the Andean berry
To prepare for the winter quarters, water the Andean berry less and do not fertilize from the beginning of October. Cut the plant back by half at most and place it in a bright place at 10 to 15 degrees before the first night frosts. The root ball must not dry out during this time, but the soil should not be too moist either. In the spring, water the plant more heavily again and gradually get used to the outdoors and the sun. Make sure that the physalis does not get frost until the ice saints in May.
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