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'Goldvital' is a particularly vigorous Andean berry variety
The Andean berry (Physalis peruviana) is a nightshade family, belonging to the genus Bladder Family. Although the Andean berry is perennial, but it is not hardy. The strongly growing plant reaches stature heights of about half to two meters. Their ovate-pointed leaves and their stems are soft hairy. The original home of the Andean berries are the Andes of Peru and Chile. From there, the plant was brought to South Africa at the beginning of the 19th century and later to Australia. Today, the delicious berries are not only grown there, but also in the US, New Zealand, India and southern France.
Soil and location
Andean berries are warm plants. Give them a sheltered and sunny spot with loose soil that heats up quickly. In areas with early autumn frosts, the cultivation is not recommended, here, the fruits hardly come to maturity. Andean berries thrive best in the wine-growing climate. A variety of growing trials has also revealed that the Andean berries are not good for the culture in the greenhouse. Although it can be harvested earlier here, the plants produce more leaves and fewer fruits than outdoors. In addition, the fruits taste less sweet and aromatic.
Cultivation of Andean berries
Immature fruit and blossom of a maple
Andean berries can be sowed from mid-February to early April. The cultivation takes place in pots on the windowsill or in the warm greenhouse. The optimum germination temperature is 25 degrees Celsius. After two to three weeks, the seedlings are then piked in seven to nine centimeters large pots. If you later repot the plants into larger pots (ten to twelve centimeters), you will accelerate the growth. Mid-May, after the last frosts, is planted out. The planting distance should be at least sixty centimeters, in particularly warm locations about one meter. Andean berries are very vigorous in sunny locations, so here they need a trellis of tension wires as a support. In cooler locations, the plants are not so big, here it is sufficient if you bind the main shoots on bamboo sticks.
The nutritional needs of Andean berries is rather low. A light fertilizer with compost is sufficient. Andean berries also get along well with drought. If they are well watered in the hot summer, but produce much more fruit.
A wooden scaffolding with garden fleece secures the Andean berry harvest
Ripe Andean berries can be recognized by their parchment-dried lantern shells. Unfortunately, even in mild climates, the fruits can not be harvested until the middle or end of September. If there is light night frost, it is already over with the harvest time. You can remedy this with a frame made of roof battens (see illustration), over which you spread a double layer of garden fleece. If the weather forecast announces night frost, you can also dig up the plants, repot them into large containers and let the fruits mature in the cellar or conservatory.