Chinese lantern, also known as winter cherry, is a very popular plant for dried arrangements, and for good reasons—brilliant color, unique shape, easy to grow, and long-lasting. A striking backdrop to fall/winter decorations, as well as late summer color for borders, beds, and containers. Though perennial in USDA zones 3–9, it is often grown as an annual because it heartily spreads by self-sowing or by underground roots. Caution: Most parts of this plant are toxic if ingested.
• Botanical Name: Physalis alkekengi
• Family: Solanaceae
• Native: Asia and Europe
• Hardiness: Perennial in USDA zones 3-9
• Plant Dimensions: 12"–24" tall
• Variety Information: Flowers are small, white and star-shaped, with calyces that enlarge and change from green to red-orange in late summer/fall
• Exposure: Full sun
• Bloom Period: Summer
• Attributes: Cut Flower
• When to Sow Outside: 1 to 2 weeks before your average last frost date, or in summer up to 2 months before your average first fall frost date.
• When to Start Inside: RECOMMENDED. 4 to 6 weeks before your average last frost date.
• Days to Emerge: 20–25 days
• Seed Depth: ⅛"
• Seed Spacing: A group of 3 seeds every 12"–18"
• Thinning: When 4" tall, thin to 12"–18" apart