Physalis – plant and enjoy the Andean berry

Physalis, also known as Andean berry or Cape gooseberry, are known as a decoration of dishes or in desserts. The exotic fruits are easy to cultivate in the garden or on the balcony and with sufficient warmth and sun many fruits can be harvested from late summer to autumn. Native to Peru and Chile, the species is not hardy. It is therefore advisable to plant physalis in pots and overwinter frost-free, or to plant them out like tomatoes, peppers or aubergines from mid-May. When cultivated in pots, the Cape gooseberry can be overwintered indoors and so for several yearsdelight as a container plant with tasty fruits. The genus of bladder cherries (Physalis) includes not only the Cape gooseberry, but also the lantern flower, which is only known for decorative purposes, and a further 70 species.

Things worth knowing Location Cultivation Planting Care Watering Fertilizing Potted Harvest Pests & Diseases FAQ

Matching Products – Buy Physalis

Worth knowing about Physalis

Botanical name: Physalis peruviana
Other names: Andean berry, Cape gooseberry, Inca berry, bladder cherry, pineapple cherry (Physalis pruinosa)
Use: fruit salad, muesli, edible decoration, jam, chutneys, liqueur, for drying
Origin: Peru, Chile
Culture period: May to October, outdoor culture recommended for climatically favorable locations such as in front of a south wall, well suited for raised beds and large pots on balconies and terraces
Flower colour: light yellow with black spots
Harvest: August to October
Special features:The cherry-sized fruit has a firm consistency and is initially in a green shell. When ripe, the husk is brown and the fruit is dark yellow in color. Andean berries, unlike Chinese lanterns, are not hardy.

In which location does the Cape gooseberry feel most comfortable?

Cape gooseberries need a sunny, warm and sheltered spot. A location from mid-May in front of a south-facing wall that reflects the heat is ideal. The special feature also feels at home on the balcony in large containers or in raised beds, because the climate is ideal in the protection of walls and walls and the plants are protected from rain. It is important that Physalis peruviana are only planted out after the last late frosts in May and that they are protected with fleece in autumn if there is a risk of frost. Cape gooseberries do not tolerate frost. Loose, nutrient-rich soil that warms up well is ideal. Locations in the shade or with cool clay and waterlogging are unsuitable.
Our gardening tip: When planting the Physalis, make sure that the soil is never waterlogged. A drainage layer with gravel or sand is recommended for heavy soil.

How is the cultivation of Physalis?

Andean berries can be propagated well by sowing or by cuttings. Start sowing from February. Temperatures of 20 to 22 °C and a bright spot on the windowsill or in the greenhouse are ideal. With the so-called preculture, you can grow strong plants from seeds within 8 to 10 weeks. After germination, you should place the young plants in individual pots and keep them a little cooler from the beginning of May to gradually harden them off. This process is important so that the young plants do not become too soft and vigorous and can cope well with the outdoor conditions. Propagation by cuttings is possible. Cut for thisIn late summer, take approx. 5 cm long head cuttings, which you either place in water for rooting or put directly in potting soil.
Our gardening tip: You get bushy and strong young plants by the so-called trimming. To do this, remove the shoot tip on the plants and thus achieve well-branched physalis.

How do I plant my Andean berry in the garden?

As soon as the danger of night frosts has passed, you can buy physalis plants or plant your own seedlings. Earlier planting is possible, but should be done in a greenhouse or with a polytunnel. Physalis prefer a humus-rich, permeable and nutrient-rich soil. Tomato and vegetable soil is well suited for planting Physalis. The purely natural product offers the special features optimal conditions for rapid growth.

How to plant physalis in the garden:

  • Dig a planting hole 20 cm deep and first add some special soil.
  • Place the well-watered Physalis plant in the planting hole.
  • Place a mixture of potting soil and soil around the plant.
  • Finally, apply Kölle organic garden fertilizer to the new planting and pour 2 to 3 liters of water per plant. The purely organic fertilizer provides the Cape gooseberries with all the necessary nutrients and promotes soil life.

A thin layer of mulch reduces evaporation. If available, you can distribute well-rotted compost around the Physalis plant. Our gardening tip: 40 to 50 cm have proven to be a good plant spacing, allowing the special features to develop well .

How do I properly care for my Andean berries?

Immediately after planting, it is important that the soil is evenly moist. Avoid waterlogging and extreme dryness. Both lead to reduced growth and fruit set. Physalis do not need to be cut. Similar to tomatoes, you can use the so-called ‘squeeze out’ to remove the excess side shoots. The main shoots are strengthened and fruiting is promoted. This maintenance measure is possible, but not absolutely necessary.
Our gardener’s tip: It is possible to use spiral rods as in tomato cultivation. Depending on the growth strength, it may be necessary to tie it to a stick to prevent it from breaking in the wind.

How do I water my Cape gooseberry correctly?

Physalis need a steady water supply for growth and fruiting. But it is important that there is no waterlogging. As a rule of thumb, the soil should be dry in the upper 2 to 3 cm before each watering. The amount of water and the watering interval depend essentially on the temperature, the radiation and the soil conditions. Cape gooseberries in pots require more attention when caring for them.

How do I fertilize my physalis correctly?

Andean berries need humus-rich soil and an adequate supply of nutrients for growth and fruit set. After the initial fertilization when planting, it is recommended to top up with Kölle organic natural fertilizer in July. Make sure that the soil does not dry out after fertilization so that the nutrients of the Physalis are available. You can fertilize specimens in pots with Kölle’s Beste long-term fertilizer sticks for tomato and vegetable plants.

Our gardening tip: You can also use manure manure made from stinging donkeys, comfrey, horse or cow manure when cultivating physalis. They encourage soil life, release nutrients slowly and are completely organic.

How do I plant my Physalis in a pot?

Even without a garden, you can grow Cape gooseberries. In addition to planting in raised beds, culture in tubs is also possible. Use only 1 plant per container. Make sure that the bucket has a volume of at least 10 liters and a water drainage hole. To avoid waterlogging, a drainage layer should be placed at the bottom of the container when planting. When planting the physalis, use Kölle organic tomato and vegetable soil if possible. This high-quality special soil is peat-free and offers the Cape gooseberries the best conditions.
Our gardening tip: if the planters are too flat or too small in volume, care is very time-consuming on hot days. A soil volume of 20 to 30 liters is ideal.

How do I harvest and utilize my physalis?

Cape gooseberry fruits are ready for harvest once the pods surrounding the fruit turn golden brown and dry out. If the shells are still green, the fruit is not yet fully ripe. The taste is bland, unpleasant, and the pulp is sour. The harvest lasts for several weeks. The fruits ripen from the bottom up. Start with the lanterns that have grown far down on the ground.

Harvest the ripe fruit regularly. Physalis can be stored well. To do this, place the Andean berries in a basket or in a shallow dish. It is important that the storage takes place in a cool and dry place. Avoid storage in closed containers, at high temperatures or in damp places.

If the harvest is plentiful, you can either dry physalis or make it into jam . Both are ways to preserve the special fruit for the winter. A dehydrator or the oven is suitable for drying the physalis. There are also a variety of recipes that contain Physalis. There are no limits to the imagination, Cape gooseberries are versatile and enrich many dishes.

Recipes with physalis

Here you can find the delicious recipes and learn how to use Physalis. Our recipes are ideal for imitation. Enjoy your meal!

To the recipes

unripe fruits ripe fruits Rich harvest of Physalis

What pests and diseases can the Physalis get?

If the Physalis feels comfortable in one location, it is robust and not very susceptible to diseases and pests. Yellow leaves are often the result of a lack of water or insufficient nutrients. A pest infestation is often the result of stressful situations or too close a stand.


First of all, aphids are found on the tips of the shoots. If detected early enough, hosing down with water can help. In addition, spraying with organic plant treatment prevents further spread. The plant’s own immune system is strengthened in a natural way and the spread of pests is minimized. Aphids are usually only an optical problem and do not affect fruit formation.

FAQ – Frequently asked questions about Physalis

Can Physalis be cultivated perennial?

Cape gooseberries are sensitive to frost and cannot overwinter outdoors. If you want to overwinter the plant, pruning before the first frost is recommended. Dig the plants out of the ground and pot the physalis in containers. Bright and frost-free wintering at 10 °C is ideal.

Trivia fact: In South America, Physalis peruviana is a perennial shrub.

How long will it take before I can harvest the first physalis?

Cape gooseberries take a relatively long time to harvest. If the conditions are good, you can enjoy the first berries after 12 to 14 weeks. Sufficient sun and warmth are prerequisites. In rainy years and in climatically unfavorable regions, the harvest is sometimes only possible at the end of August.

Can physalis be propagated by cuttings?

Cape gooseberries can be propagated by cuttings. The best time for this is early autumn. Cut approx. 5 cm long head cuttings from strong shoots and place them in water. Another possibility is to put them in cultivation substrate. After just a few weeks, the cuttings have formed roots.

When are Physalis sown?

Sowing Physalis from the beginning of February is optimal. Germination takes 16 to 25 days at temperatures around 20 °C.

What is the difference between Andean berry and Chinese lantern?

Andean berry (Physalis peruviana)

Lantern Flower (Physalis alkekengi)

not hardy; herbaceous annual plants

perennial, perennial, ornamental plant

Hull turns light brown

Case turns orange

edible fruits, for jam making, for drying

for decorative purposes, as a dried flower, the fruit is not edible

Dies off in winter. Must be replanted annually.

Danger! Widespread in the garden.

What are pineapple cherries?

Pineapple cherries (Physalis pruinosa) are also known as earth cherries. The rarity is related to the Andean berries. The pineapple cherry does not grow as tall (maximum 70 cm), it grows bushier and the fruits are smaller. The demands on the soil and care are identical for the pineapple cherry. Harvesting of the pineapple cherry begins in July and lasts until autumn. The fruity aroma, which is reminiscent of pineapple, gives it its name.

What goes well with Physalis?

Plant the Cape gooseberry in a mixed culture with zucchini, carrots, broccoli, beetroot, pumpkin or white cabbage. It is important that you do not plant physalis in the same place every year, and other nightshade plants should not have been in the same place either.

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