Last Updated on May 20, 2022 by Real Men Sow
Chinese Lantern plant (Physalis Alkekengi) is a perennial hardy in the southwest, bears white summer flowers. However, it is most famous for the papery orange ‘lanterns (calyces), that enclose round berries in the autumn.
They will eventually form a papery structure around the red berry inside if left on the plant. However, if cut at their peak they can be dried. Once the lanterns turn orange, cut the stems and then remove the leaves. Hang upside down in a dark ventilated place for a few weeks to dry.
Chinese lanterns spread through underground stems in a manner similar to mint and can become invasive in the garden. It’s similar to mint and is often grown in pots to control its spread. You could either bury the container in the soil of your garden or create a barrier to prevent them from spreading.
Physalis Alkekengi belongs to the nightshade family. The leaves and unripe fruit are poisonous. Handling is best done with gloves
How To Grow Chinese Lantern Plant
Chinese lanterns can be grown in moist, well-drained soil in the sun or in partial shade. You can keep the roots from spreading by planting in a container. To dry flowers, remove the stems once the lanterns turn orange. Dry them in a cool, dark place for several weeks.
Where To Grow Chinese Lantern Plant
You can grow your plants in moist, well-drained soil in full sun or partial shade. You can also fill a container with multi-purpose, peat-free compost.
How To Plant Chinese Lantern Plant
In a pot, or in the ground, plant to the same depth of that of a root ball. The pot can be buried in the soil to prevent the roots from spreading and becoming invasive.
Caring For Chinese Lantern Plant
In spring, feed Chinese lantern plants an all-purpose feed and in autumn, mulch. Keep the soil and compost moist.
How To Propagate Chinese Lantern Plant
In spring, sow the seed under cover. To germinate the seeds, they need sunlight so keep them uncovered. It can take them several weeks before they germinate after which they grow constantly. When the seedlings are large enough to handle, place them in a tray about 5cm apart. Then you can continue growing. For flowers next year, plant seedlings at a distance of 30 cm in the autumn. Alternatively, you can also divide plants or take root cuttings in spring.
Growing Chinese Lantern Plant: Problem Solving
Before the plant begins to grow rapidly, slugs can cause problems. Protect the plant the earliest possible.