It is also relatively easy to collect the dried seeds from the plants and store them for planting in the spring.
Feed in the spring after new growth appears with a light application of balanced fertilizer—unless the plants have proved too aggressive, in which case you can withhold feeding. If using granular fertilizer, make sure to keep it away from the plant’s crown and foliage. Too much fertilizer can stimulate fast growth rates, which may encourage root rot as well as uncontrolled spreading.
Chinese lanterns prefer average, well-draining soil that is consistently moist. Rich soils may cause the plant to spread faster than you want, so there are some advantages to growing it in more meager soil.
Propagating Chinese Lantern
When young, Chinese lanterns require regular watering to keep the soil evenly moist but not soggy. Once mature, they are somewhat tolerant of drought, though flower and pod production are better with a consistent level of soil moisture.
Chinese lantern is a hardy perennial that provides colorful fall interest and can be grown in the ground or in containers. It is a clump-forming plant with 3-inch long medium green leaves. Small white bell-shaped flowers appear in summer, but they are insignificant. The real appeal lies in the signature lanterns, which are seed pods that start out green and mature to a bright pumpkin-orange at the end of the growing season in early fall. The 2-inch-wide papery pod, called a calyx, serves as a protective cover over the flower and fruit.
There are no cultivars of P. alkekengi; only the species plant is commonly grown in gardens. However, another closely related member of the Physalis genus sometimes grown ornamentally or as a perennial edible vegetable is the tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa) also called Mexican husk tomato.
Starting Chinese lantern plants from seeds is a good way to grow them as annuals each year, especially in containers. You can simply remove and dispose of the container plant at the end of the growing season and start with fresh seeds the following year. This way, you don’t have to worry about the plant aggressively spreading in your garden.
This is a weed, no idea what it’s called. The lantern-like pods are interesting.
Either I blinded him with the flash or he is confident in himself to pose for pictures.
I’m certainly no expert but the green plant looks like a Chinese Lantern plant. If it is it should turn orange I think and have edible berries inside. I tried to find one I saw in a flower meme this week but I don’t know who had it.
Hope someone will know for sure.
Jimson weed has spiky seed pods that burst open like a cotton pod. I have the weed with the little green “lantern” pods in my garden…..definitely not Jimson weed. These pods don’t turn orange like the Chinese Lantern plant when they dry, though…..they turn a papery white.
UPDATE! We now know what these are.