Physalis peruviana (115 days) Open-pollinated. The grower calls this his heart-plant and we can see why, if only because we fell instantly in love from first bite, with taste notes ranging from an exuberant YES! to full on rhapsodizing about the extraordinary flavor (hints of coconut milk and pineapple, bright and citrusy). A vigorous annual in the Northeast bearing yellow fruits the size of cherry tomatoes on bushes 3–4' tall and wide. A tender perennial in warmer climes, more tropical in nature than some others but selected for 5 years in our more temperate zone. Start seeds in early spring around the same time as tomatoes, transplanting out after all danger of frost has passed. Begin picking fruit in the fall as the husks around the fruit dry completely. The fruit lasts unrefrigerated for weeks in the husk. Great for jams, salsas, and fresh eating. ①
4009 Ambrosia - Sustainably Grown
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Husk or Ground Cherries
About 900-1400 seeds/g.
A treat inside every paper wrapper! Same genus as Chinese Lantern and tomatillo, fruits ripen inside their protective husks. As clusters of berries sweeten, they turn from green to golden yellow, drop off the decorative branching plants, and reach perfection as their husks thin to a near-gossamer papery texture. The sweet berries have an indescribable flavor, great for raw snacks. Don’t eat them unripe—they can be a powerful emetic.
Culture: Need filtered light and temperatures at least 75°, preferably closer to 90°, to germinate. Cover seeds with just a light sprinkling of soil and place the flats in the hottest part of the greenhouse, transplanting after last spring frost. Husk cherries tolerate a touch of frost but give up when temperatures dip below 30°. In a good year, about half will ripen in time. Will readily self sow, although volunteers may not mature as quickly as those started indoors.
Pests: To protect plants against potato beetles, use floating row cover. Adults overwinter and lay eggs on solanaceous crops, especially tomatillos and husk cherries. If beetles get in, hand-picking adults and squishing eggs helps in small plots.
For the latest results of our germination tests, please see the germination page.