HARDY PERENNIALS: PHYSALIS

P. franchettii, whilst in summer growth makes little display. Leafy, bushy growth and rather nondescript white flowers. But once the leaves begin to fade in autumn, then is revealed the extraordinary bags enclosing a small orange fruit, to give it the name ‘Chinese Lantern’. Stems can be cut and used for winter decoration. Plants are very easy growing in any soil, but they wander below ground rather agressively. Because of this they are best rounded up every year or two and placed back into position, if grown in a mixed bed or border, but better still, grown in some spot on their own, purely for cutting. Though invasive by nature, this plant responds to good treatment and a light annual mulch after forking out any over congestion of the matted roots which run just below the surface, will quickly restore full vitality and produce much longer, stronger stems. Where a small patch or row is down for cutting, this would need doing every 2-3 years. The time to cut Physalis is when the leaves begin to fade, for it is then that the ‘lanterns’ begin to take their colourful tint. Stems should be cut close to the ground and by tying up a few in a bunch and hanging them upside down in a dry airy place, the colouring and drying process will complete itself. After a few weeks they can then be brought indoors to stand in a vase without water, or used in a variety of ways for winter decoration, one of which is to open the lanterns.

PHYSALIS franchettii

PHYSALIS franchettii

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.