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The physalis, also known as Cape Gooseberry or Andean berry, originally comes from South America.
Probably the plants came to Europe in the 18th century with the Portuguese sailors.
Meanwhile, it thrives all over Europe and in favorable conditions even in our home gardens or as container plants on the terrace.
The Cape Gooseberry is almost undemanding and can be cultivated similar to tomato plants.
After the last frosts, she needs a warm and sunny place in the garden or in the bucket with 6 to 10 liter capacity. The warmer and more protected the plants are, the better they develop. Normal humus and loose garden soil is sufficient and the location should be full sun and wind protected.
- Summer - The Physalis prefers a warm, sheltered place on the terrace or in the garden. A windbreak or supportive support is recommended, as the herbaceous branches are delicate and bend easily.
- Winter - If the physalis is to be cultivated perennial, it needs a cool and bright place at 5 to 8 degrees Celsius before the first autumn frosts. The plant should be able to hibernate and not grow anymore. It would develop only thin shoots that would have to be cut in the spring.
The annual to perennial shrub can grow up to 1.5 meters high, similar to the European gooseberry. He has no spines. The leaves are slightly hairy and heart-shaped. The flowers develop in the leaf axils and the shoot tips. They are yellow with black spots on the flower base. From the calyx later develops a paper-thin, initially green shell in which the fruits grow.
A cut is only necessary if it is a multi-year culture. In this case, the physalis is strongly cut back in the spring to 1/3 to 1/2. For a good yield in the autumn months, a frequent watering and every week a fertilizer is required. In a multi-year culture, the plants should be placed in a pot of 6 to 10 liters capacity.
The cultivation and the propagation
The physalis can easily be pulled by yourself. The seeds are offered in garden shops or hardware stores or simply spread the pulp of the berry on paper towels and let dry. Ideally, from the beginning of February, sow the small seeds in potting soil. If the crop is started too late, the fruit will not mature before winter.
Cover the seeds with little soil and make sure that the soil is kept evenly moist. Grow the young plant on the windowsill or in a miniature greenhouse with good ventilation and 20 degrees Celsius room temperature. The germination period is about 16 to 24 days. The location should be as bright as possible. However, direct sunlight is to be avoided.
The seedlings can be brought into the open air after the ice saints, in mid-May, at least 60 cm apart.
From March, after the last night frosts, can also be sown directly in the field and after the release of the fourth sheet should be pikiert once.
A further propagation of the Cape Gooseberry is possible via Kopfstecklinge. For this purpose side shoots are cut from 10 to 12 cm in length. The lower leaves are removed and the cuttings with the lower third planted in soil. After some time he drives out again.
Simple, normal potting soil is sufficient as a substrate. Who wants, can use sprouting soil.
Over the large, herbaceous leaves a lot of water is released, which must be constantly replaced. In the summer months the plant needs a lot of water. When the root ball of the Cape Gooseberry dries up, it is very sensitive. Even in winter, a slight bale moisture must prevail.
During the growing season one fertilizer per week is recommended. From the end of August the fertilization will be stopped.
The plants need not be fertilized if they thrive in a normal garden soil. It is best to mulch them. Too much nutrient again leads to increased shoot growth. The result is fewer flowers and fruits.
From August or September, the tasty, yellow fruits are ready for harvest. The maturity is reflected in a yellow-orange shiny fruit and paper-thin brown, dry lanterns.
The fruits are 1.5 to 2cm tall. If the fruits are picked too early, they will ripen within a few days. However, they must not be green anymore because unripe fruits are poisonous. Harvested on the shoot, hung dry and airy, the fruits last up to 14 days.
The small fruits are freshly nibbled or used as an additive in fruit salads and cocktails.Jams, sauces taste exquisite and ice cream is decorated with the pretty fruit. The fruit is rich in vitamin A, phosphorus, iron and pectin. The paper-like casing is not eaten or processed.
No specific diseases or pests are important to the Cape Gooseberry.
Occasionally it can come to an infestation by the Trauermücke.
The hazard statement
The genus of Physalis includes over 100 species and only a few can be used as a crop.
The Cape Gooseberry is easily confused with the poisonous ornamental lantern flower. It is best to buy the seeds in specialized shops or fruits in the supermarket.
The orange-golden, juicy berries are pleasantly sweet and sour with an intense aroma. They are reminiscent of gooseberries and pineapple, healthy and rich in vitamins. The Cape Gooseberry grows in the garden or on the terrace in tubs and is ideal for the beautiful ornament of fences or walls. As a colorful visual treat, the Physalis in the flowerbed is very well suited among asters, bluebells and tall grasses.
Worth knowing and care tips
It is similar to the tomato, but you do not see the fruits at first glance. These are stuck in a parchment-colored lantern cover and are orange yellow. The aroma of Physalis is reminiscent of a gooseberry, which is why it is also called Cape Gooseberry. The Physalis can be cultivated quite easily, with little effort outdoors, bearing in mind that it is not frost hardy.
An extension in your own garden is definitely worth it, because in the supermarket these fruits are not exactly cheap. One must not confuse the Physalis peruviane with the winter-hard ornamental perennials, which are called Physalis alkekengi. They are inedible and serve only for decoration purposes.
Like tomatoes, the physalis can be grown from seed on the windowsill in mid-March. However, such a plant usually does not start producing fruit until September. If you have old plants, a cuttings propagation is possible. For this purpose, cut off cuttings in the autumn and sauté them. Starting in February, new offshoots will emerge from the newly formed side shoots. These can be put up to a third in potting soil and must be moderately cast.
After the icy saints can vigorous plants are already planted outdoors. In general, the plants then also plant the fruits in September, which are ripe if they are easy to pick. If you would rather enjoy the fruits, you should cut back the plants vigorously before the first frost, pots in large pots and overwinter.
From mid-May, the wintered plant will return to the garden. If you have a frost-free greenhouse or a winter garden that is not too warm, you can harvest the physalis, which are rooted in the soil or planted in a bucket in the summer, even in winter. However, the development of the plants is slow due to the darkness in winter.
In summer, the plant in the greenhouse must be vigorously lighted, otherwise hardly form fruits. Outdoors, the place should be sunny, warm and sheltered. Adult plants are over a meter high and need support.
Problems are hardly known in the Physalis, but the white fly can be quite annoying. Once the fruits have been harvested, they can be kept in their natural packaging for several weeks. Larger quantities can also be processed excellent to jam.