How to Care for Physalis Alkekengi Plant
Physalis alkekengi, more commonly known as a Chinese Lantern Plant, is a popular garden perennial. The plant produces unique papery bright-orange lantern pods that develop around the fruit. Popular as a cut dried flower, Physalis alkekengi has an extremely aggressive nature and easily overtakes any flower bed with its vigorous growth. The hardy plant grows to heights of 23 to 35 inches.
1.Choose a well-lit spot to plant the Physalis alkekengi. The plant prefers full sun but will do well in partial shade.
2.Dig the soil up to work organic matter in before planting. Mix the garden soil with 50 percent peat moss to add nutrients. An ideal pH balance is 6.1 to 6.5 for the Physalis alkekengi.
3.Plant the Physalis alkekengi at least 3 feet away from other plants to give the Physalis plant room to spread and grow. Remember that the Physalis alkekengi can be quite invasive so it needs room of its own.
4.Keep soil moist by watering but do not over-water. Physalis alkekengi plants prefer moist soil but they do not like wet feet from standing water.
5.Fertilize the plant once in the spring and once in the summer using an all-purpose water-soluble fertilizer. Follow the directions on the manufacturer's label.
6.Pull the plant up if it begins to invade areas where you do not want it to go. Transplant the pulled-up plants to another area of the garden or simply discard.
7.Trim the plant down to ground level in the late fall after the first frost has hit. Discard the plant heads and foliage to prevent the spread of disease.
Tips & Warnings
Clip the flower heads when they first start to turn orange-red for bouquets or drying.
Green flower heads can also be picked and dried to maintain the green coloration.
Physalis alkekengi can be successfully grown in containers which help prevent aggressive spread.
Seeds can be started indoors early when the danger of frost still exists. Germination takes four weeks.
Physalis alkekengi fruits are toxic when unripe. The unripe berries contain solanine.
Ripe fruit is said to not be toxic and contain high levels of vitamin C.