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Herbaceous Perennial

Physalis alkekengi
  • RHS AGM

Chinese lantern

P. alkekengi is a vigorous herbaceous perennial to 60cm tall, with ovate leaves and nodding creamy-yellow bell-shaped flowers 2cm wide, followed by inflated, lantern-like deep orange calyces 5cm long enclosing red berries

Other common names
alkegengi
bladder cherry
see morebladder herb
Chinese lantern plant
devil's berry
devil's bladder
Japanese lantern
red nightshade
red winter cherry
strawberry tomato
strawberry-and-tomato
winter cherry
Synonyms
Alkekengi officinarum

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Size
Ultimate height
0.5–1 metres
Time to ultimate height
2–5 years
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Chalk
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Well–drained
pH
Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Green
Summer Yellow Green
Autumn Green Orange
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
  • Partial shade
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing or East–facing

Exposure
Exposed or Sheltered
Hardiness
H7
Botanical details
Family
Solanaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Deciduous
Habit
Bushy
Potentially harmful
May cause digestive upset if ingested. Wear gloves and wash hands after handling
Genus

Physalis can be annuals or rhizomatous perennials with simple or pinnately lobed leaves and small bell-shaped flowers in the leaf axils, followed by fleshy, sometimes edible, yellow, red or purple berries, enclosed in enlarged, often colourful, calyces

Name status

Correct

Plant range
Europe, Asia

How to grow

Cultivation

Grow in any well-drained soil in full sun or part shade. Best grown in containers as although suitable for the border it may become invasive

Propagation

Propagate in containers in a cold frame in spring; propagate by division in spring

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Cottage and informal garden
  • City and courtyard gardens
  • Coastal
  • Flower borders and beds
Pruning

Ideal for flower arranging; cut stems for drying as the calyces begin to colour

Pests

Caterpillars may be a problem

Diseases

Generally disease free

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