Chinese Lanterns - Physalis Gigantea
This variety produces huge, scarlet lanterns which are magnificently attractive in the garden and then can be cut and dried to be used all through the winter to decorate your house. It is easy to grow, thriving in almost any soil, sun or shade.
Sow in spring at 20C in a good seed compost. Sow seed on surface of compost and gently firm down compost. Keep soil damp but not wet. Sealing in a polythene bag after sowing is helpful. Do not exclude light which is beneficial to germination. Germination usually takes 21-30 days. When seedlings are large enough to handle, transplant and grow on in cooler conditions. Plant out in a reserve border and move to their final positions in autumn planting 6cm apart in ordinary well drained soil and sun. To dry, cut the stems when the lanterns start to show colour and hang upside down in a light airy shed.