Chinese lantern, Physalis franchetii, grows from seed and is a very short lived herbaceous perennial. It will grow two feet tall and bear small, white flowers followed by large, balloon-like papery husks in July and August.
Growing Chinese Lanterns
- The Chinese lantern plant is valued for its inflated orange-red seed coverings or calyx which resemble miniature Chinese lanterns.
- Inside each 2-inch long husk is a small edible but often tasteless red fruit. The lanterns are not edible
- The leaves are long pointed and heartshaped.
- The plant can tolerate very cold conditions, flower quickly from seed and like full sun.
- For winter bouquets, cut the stems in Autumn just as the lanterns turn color, remove the leaves and hang them, right side up, to dry in a shady, airy place.
- They are related to the Cape Gooseberry Physalis peruviana and other species to try include P. Alkekengi