How to Care for and Grow Chinese Lantern Flowers (Physalis alkekengi)

The Chinese lantern is a beautiful and conspicuous garden ornamental that bears an edible fruit whose taste resembles like a sweet potato. It’s generally known for its bright reddish-orange “lanterns” which adorn the plant in season.

Chinese Lanterns (Physalis alkekengi) is a member of the nightshade family like husk tomatoes or tomatillos. Chinese Lantern Flowers are large, reddish-orange papery pods and enriched with seeds that grow almost 2 inches in size.

When its plant gets mature, they require a lot of care from insects and other pests.

Sowing of Chinese Lantern Seeds

For seedlings in the ground, you have to select an area that is in full sun with moist, organic, and well-drained soil. Sow seeds finely in a sunny cold frame. Remove all the weeds and add some organic matter into the top 6 to 8 inches of soil; then level it smoothly. Sow seeds delicately ¼ inch deep and keeps it damp. Seedlings will rise in 15-21 days relying upon soil and climate conditions.

Monitor weeds during the growing season of Chinese Lantern. Weeds contend with your plants for water, space, and supplements, so control them by either plucking often or utilize a mulch to avert the germination of their seeds

How much Light it likes

Chinese Lanterns likes full sun in cold weather, while in summers the plant could be grown in semi-shade.

What type of Soil should be used

It’s better to grow them in soft and well-drained soil afterward when the plants get mature it gets trained of rough or poor soil

How much Water it likes

Plants need to be watered whenever the soil looks dry, the soil should be moist always but never do overwatering because it destroy plants. Careful watering is really essential for any plant.

The plant becomes healthier and its pod production would be better with regular watering. To refrain from overwatering & simultaneously don’t want the soil to be dry then do mulching around the whole plant to maintain a proper balance of soil moisture.

When to give fertilizer

Add fertilizer in every alternate month especially the budding season in the spring. Compost really works well in giving them a healthy life.

Temperature & other factors

This plant can stand winters but its exposure below the freezing temperature can take its life. It’s not dependent on humidity.

The temperature for the germination of seeds ranges between 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.

The plant needs extra care until it becomes established like it requires protection from extreme windy & hot sunny weather. Proper air movement is also very important for better growth.

Drying the pods

Drying the pods of the Chinese lantern is also very artistic as dried Chinese lantern pods can provide elegant materials for fall floral arrangements and decorations. You need to wait till the seed pods turn a bright orange shade and ready to harvest for dried arrangements.

Just cut its stem and remove the leaves finely. Keep the stem stand in an upright position and in a dry, airy location. Chinese Lantern pods have the quality of retaining the color & shape for years once they dry completely.

Common Problems & Diseases faced by Chinese Lanterns

Black Rot is a bacterial ailment that booms in warm and moist conditions and assaults the leaves. Yellow-orange V-shaped cuts & scratches occur on the edges of the leaves and suck all the energy of leaves and made them dry and eventually, the leaves fall.

Tip to take measures: Bottom water and try to provide adequate air circulation.

Damping off is caused by a fungus that is active when there is too much moisture and temperature of soils and air are more than 68 degrees F. Usually, this shows that the soil is too wet or contains high amounts of nitrogen fertilizer

Itis one of the most common problems when starting plants from seed. The seedling emerges and seems sound & healthy; then it suddenly withers and dies for no obvious reason. 

Tip to take measures: Keep seedlings moist but do not overwater; don’t give too many fertilizers to young plants.

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