What is Chinese Lantern Plant?
The name “Chinese lantern” was commonly given because the orange pods that look like paper boxes with small candles inside look like Chinese blades. Physalis alkekengi (Chinese Lantern plant) is native to southern Europe, southern Asia, and Japan.
The season of interest occurs for the first time when the plant produces cases of light green fruit in August. These turn into a beautiful orange land in September. The fruit cases remain attractive if left on the plant for 3-4 weeks and they can be dried and retain their color and shape there for several months.
The ripe fruits of Chinese lanterns look like a red-orange version of tomatillo, but be careful, despite their close affinity with tomatillo and groundcherries, like many members of the same family, some Chinese lantern plants are poisonous.
The scientific name of Chinese Lantern Plant
Species: P. alkekengi
Varieties of Chinese Lantern Plant
Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica)
The tomatillo is known as the Mexican husk tomato; it is a plant of the nightshade family that has small spherical and green or green-violet fruits of the same name. The tomatillo arrived in Mexico and was grown in the pre-Columbian era. A staple food of Mexican cuisine, they are eaten raw or cooked in various dishes, especially the green sauce.
Horse Nettle (Solanum carolinense)
The Horse Nettle is a nightshade family, its perennial roots and stems and thorny leaves. Another distinctive feature is the yellow fruit, which changes from fleshy and smooth skin to wrinkles as it matures. New plants are born from seeds and from the spread of underground roots, which generally produce many shoots in dense areas.
Cape Gooseberry (P. peruviana)
Cape gooseberry is a soft, perennial woodland plant, slightly similar to the vine that usually reaches 2 or 3 feet in height. In good condition, it can reach 6 feet but will need support. The branches are purple, capillary, and covered with fine hair. It is locally found in western South America. It has been widely in cultivation in tropical, subtropical, and other temperate areas.
Bittersweet Nightshade (Solanum dulcamara)
Sweet and sour belladonna is a vine-like plant found throughout the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe and Asia. It belongs to the same family with tomatoes and eggplants. The STEM as medicine. LEAVES and BERRIES are poisonous.
How to Grow?
Chinese lantern plants are like other members of the nightshade family, such as tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants. It can quickly grow from seeds, bring seeds from the near nursery. Chinese lantern seeds can be a little fuzzy to sprout.
- Start them indoors for head starts in late winter or early spring.
- Sow the seeds in plastic or small containers.
- It requires light to germinate, so place them on the ground and keep the pot in a place with bright but indirect sunlight and temperatures between 70 and 75 F.
- Water twice a week but do not let the seeds rot with overwatering.
- Be patient with this plant, as it takes up to a month for the seedlings to emerge.
How to Care Chinese Lantern Plant?
Once it brought outside in the garden, it requires care. The plants need well-drained soil and full sunlight.
Grow them in well-drained soil. Once it matures, plants can relatively tolerate poor soils.
Chinese lanterns grow in full sun in cold climates. In a warm climate, plants can grow in partial shade.
Young plants must keep underwater, the soil should be moist, but not wet. The flower and pod production will improve with regular watering and feeding.
Temperature and humidity
This plant can grow in cold temperatures by avoiding exposure to frost. It has no humidity necessities. The seeds will grow when temperatures are between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
After new growth appears, a mild fertilizer can be applied. Keep granular fertilizers away from the crown and foliage of plants to avoid burns. Use low percentages of slow-release manure, as higher rates can favor the roots. Slugs can often be a problem because they can hide under the dense foliage.
Medicinal Uses of Physalis alkekengi
Chinese Lantern Plant has many medicinal applications. It can cure and prevent cough suppressants, fevers, treating malaria, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, bedwetting, and even to promote early labor pain for pregnant women.
Are Chinese Lantern Plant poisonous?
The immature berries and the leaves of Chinese Lantern plants are poisonous, so keep away from children and pets.