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What to do with physalis in July to get more flowers

Yulia PoteriankoNews
Physalis is famous not so much for its flowers as for the bright boxes in which the fruits ripen. Source: Laidback Gardener

If there is a plant that can simultaneously be a wonderful garden decoration and produce delicious fruits that can be eaten, it is physalis. You've seen its weightless openwork boxes, and you've probably tasted its fresh-tasting berries.

Experts from the "Do It Yourself Agronomist" publication say that it is not difficult to grow this plant on your site. But you need to be careful when choosing a species and familiarize yourself with the nuances of care.

What is physalis

Fruit and ornamental physalis are separate species. The varieties grown for aesthetic purposes do not have very remarkable flowers, but their fruits ripen in very beautiful bright orange boxes. Their shape and texture resemble Chinese paper lanterns. Even if they are dried, their shape and color are well preserved. In the fall, these boxes dry up and turn into openwork structures with a beautiful berry inside. This also looks great in the garden.

Edible physalis is somewhat less decorative in appearance. But the berries that ripen in its boxes can be eaten fresh, pickled, salted, made into jams and preserves, candied fruits, etc.

Botanically speaking, physalis belongs to the nightshade family, just like potatoes, tomatoes, or eggplants. It originates from South America – from the regions of Peru and Bolivia. Other names for the plant are Mexican tomato, golden berry, Peruvian cherry, uvilla, and pineapple cherry.

How to choose physalis for your site

According to scientists, there are 124 species of physalis. Of these, the following species are of the greatest interest to gardeners and vegetable growers:

  • garden physalis – a plant that has the highest decorative properties and is grown as a flower crop;
  • common physalis is another ornamental species whose fruits should not be eaten;
  • strawberry physalis is an annual whose fruits have a sour-sweet taste and are used to make jams and compotes;
  • Vegetable or Mexican physalis is a plant whose fruit is as close as possible to a tomato in its qualities and is used for pickling and marinating.

How to grow physalis

Plants of this species are not too picky about the conditions of keeping and overwinter well in the Ukrainian climate. They prefer open sunny areas, but they also grow well in partial shade. The soil for physalis should be loose and well-drained, not too acidic, and not too moist.

Water the plant as needed. In hot and dry periods, it is better to add water every two days. You should also weed the plant from time to time to make the soil looser. To get more flowers and, accordingly, fruits, pinch the tops of the stems in July.

Physalis responds well to fertilizing with organic fertilizers. You can also apply ash under the plants - two glasses per square meter. To prepare a mineral fertilizer, take 10-20 grams of potassium salt, 10-20 grams of superphosphate, and 10 grams of ammonium nitrate. Dissolve these substances in 10 liters of water. This should be enough for 1 square meter of the garden. This feeding can be carried out three times in the summer: at the beginning, middle, and end of the growing season.

Once every 5-7 years, it makes sense to rejuvenate the plant. Physalis is propagated by division, cuttings, and seeds. It is better to divide perennials because they have a developed root system that tolerates this procedure well. For cuttings, cut off the tops of stems with two or three healthy buds.

To grow physalis from seeds, you can sow them for seedlings in the second half of April. Peat pots with a nutritious soil mixture are suitable for this purpose. The seedlings are transplanted into the open ground after the end of the frost and watered regularly until rooting. You can also sow the plant directly into the open ground – this can be done both in spring and autumn.

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