Hero Image

Edibles Grow Sheets


  • Scientific Name
    Physalis peruviana
  • General Information

    Photo: Michaela Wenzler, Pixabay
    Photo: Michaela Wenzler, Pixabay
    An easy care and prolific plant in the nightshade family. Produces small, round edible fruit in little paper lanterns similar to a tomatillo. Requires some space. Growing requirements are similar to tomatoes.

  • When to Plant

    Plant in spring and into early summer (April-June). Bears into fall. May take three months for the fruit to begin ripening.


  • Planting

    Easy to start from seed indoors in March, and just as easy to sow directly into the garden in April or May. Thin or transplant two to three feet apart. May grow in containers. Prefers full sun but will produce fruit with a bit of shade. Stake taller varieties.


  • Soil Requirements

    Not fussy about soil but well-draining soil amended with compost is ideal.


  • Water Requirements

    Moderate water. If dry, the plant may drop its blossoms. Mulch is helpful in retaining moisture.

  • Fertilizing

    Not suggested.

  • Pollination

    Insect and wind pollinated.

  • Harvesting

    Harvest when the papery husk turns from green to brown. Ripe fruit is a golden color and often falls to ground; thus the name. Fruit ripens over a long period.


  • Storage

    Collect when ripe and spread husked fruit in a single layer in a cool, dry place. May be stored for several weeks. If husked, the fruit should be frozen then best used cooked. Can also be dried like raisins.


  • Good Varieties for Marin

    Physalis peruviana is a perennial three to four feet tall and Physalis pruinosa is an annual to about one and a half feet. Both thrive in all Marin microclimates.


  • Helpful Tips

    Eat fresh out of hand or in salads. Can be used in jams, pies or salsa.

  • Common Problems

    Can sprawl or become rangy. Tall varieties should be staked and corralled with twine or caged like a tomato. May self-seed; considered a weed by some

  • Pests- Diseases & More

    Pest-free, although should be rotated to keep diseases from building up in soil.  Like other nightshade plants, leaves and unripe fruit are toxic.