Ground cherries, also known as Physalis pruinosa, are a garden gem that you’ll love.
These tiny, yellow-orange fruits have an undertone that tastes like tomatoes and have a sweet, tangy flavor akin to pineapple.
They are simple to grow in the garden and have few pest or disease problems.
|Common Name||Ground cherry, husk tomato, strawberry tomato|
|Botanical Name||Physalis pruinosa|
|Plant Type||Annual, fruit, shrub|
|Mature Size||1-3 ft. tall and wide|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Loamy, sandy, well-drained|
|Soil pH||Acidic (6.0 to 6.5)|
|Hardiness Zones||4-8 (USDA)|
|Native Area||Central America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to people, toxic to pets (except the fruit)1|
Tips for Keeping Your Plants Healthy
- Water regularly. Ground cherries need about an inch of water a week, so be sure to keep an eye on the soil moisture and water accordingly.
- If the plants are stressed from lack of water, they will produce fewer fruits.
- Mulch around the plants to help retain moisture in the soil and control weeds. An organic mulch like straw or shredded leaves works well.
- Fertilize every couple of weeks with a balanced liquid fertilizer during the growing season. You can back off on the fertilizer once fruit begins to set.
- Stake or cage ground cherry plants if you live in an area with heavy rains or high winds. The fruits are quite fragile and can be easily knocked off the plant by bad weather.
Lighting and Temperature
Ground cherries prefer full sun but can tolerate partial shade, especially in hot summer areas.
They are heat-tolerant and do best in average to rich, well-drained soils with a pH of around neutral. If you’re growing ground cherries in containers, make sure they have good drainage.
Soil should be well-drained and amended with compost before planting. Space plants 18 to 24 inches apart in full sun. Once established, ground cherries are drought tolerant.
Fertilizer isn’t necessary for ground cherries, as they are light feeders. Too much nitrogen will result in lots of foliage and few fruits.
Ground cherries are also drought tolerant, so don’t worry if you forget to water them occasionally. Just make sure to give them a good drink when the fruits start to swell in size.
Pruning the plants back to about 18 inches (46 cm.) will produce the most fruit.
You can start eating the ground cherries when they turn color and fall from the plant easily, but leave some on for later harvest.
Watering the ground cherry deeply but less frequently encourages the development of a deep root system, making the plant more drought-tolerant and less susceptible to wind damage.
Size wise, ground cherries are between a quarter and a half-inch in diameter.
The fruits ripen after they fall off the plant and can be harvested from the ground. Once picked, they will last for about two weeks in a cool place.
Flowering begins in mid-summer, with small, yellow blooms that turn into the tiny fruits. The fruits are ripe when they fall from the plant and the husks turn brown.
Ground cherries can be eaten fresh, or made into jams and pies.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
Ground cherries (Physalis pruinosa) are a member of the Solanaceae family, which includes tomatillos and tomatoes.
They are native to North America, where they have been cultivated by indigenous peoples for centuries.
Ground cherries are small fruits that resemble cherry tomatoes in size and shape. They are encased in a papery husk, which turns brown when the fruit is ripe.
Ground cherries are usually yellow, orange, or red in color, and they have a sweet-tart flavor that is reminiscent of pineapple. Ground cherries can be eaten fresh or cooked, and they are often made into jams, pies, and other desserts.
Ground cherries are relatively easy to grow, and they are often grown in home gardens. Compared to tomatillos and tomatoes, ground cherries often exhibit higher levels of disease and pest resistance.
However, they can have many of the same issues as their counterparts. Whiteflies, hornworms, flea beetles, and cutworms in particular can attack plants, especially when they are vulnerable during dry spells.
Without sufficient airflow throughout the plant, fungus issues can also develop.
A suitable growing environment can stop a number of issues. Ground cherries need full sun to produce fruits.
Propagating Ground Cherries
Seeds are typically used to spread ground cherries, but the plant can also be expanded using cuttings. Cuttings can be taken from the plant in mid- to late-summer, and rooting hormone should be applied to the cut edge of the stem.
The cutting should be placed in a drainage-holed container filled with potting soil-free mix, and it should be kept in a location with clear, bright lighting.
In the following weeks, roots should start to form if the growing medium is kept moist but not waterlogged. Once new growth appears on the stem, the plant can be transplanted.
This is a quick and economical way to begin the planting process for a new ground cherry plant.
Types of Ground Cherries
Ground cherries are typically distributed using seeds. However, another way to grow them is by taking cuttings from existing plants.
This is an efficient and rapid way to start the planting process for a new plant. The best period to take cuttings is in the middle to end of summer.
To do this, first cut the stem into 4- to 6-inch pieces. Then remove all growth from the lower part of the stem. Next, cover the sliced edge with rooting hormone.
After that, the cutting needs to be placed in a drainage-holed container with potting soil-free mix inside of it. Select a cozy area for the cutting that has bright, clear lighting.
If you maintain the growing medium moist but not waterlogged, roots should begin to form over the course of the following few weeks.
When you notice new growth on the stem, it’s time to transfer the plant. Cuttings are a great way to quickly and easily grow new ground cherry plants.
Do ground cherry plants come back every year?
Ground cherries are a unique type of fruit that belongs to the Solanaceae family, which includes other well-known fruits such as tomatoes and potatoes.
The plant grows to be about two feet tall and produces small, cherry-like fruits that are encased in a papery husk. Unlike other members of the Solanaceae family, ground cherries are not hybrids and are actually quite easy to grow.
One of the most notable features of ground cherries is their self-seeding ability, which means that once you have planted them, you will never have to plant them again!
The fruits will mature and fall to the ground, where they will release their seeds and start the cycle anew.
So if you’re looking for a fruit that is low-maintenance and will provide you with an ongoing crop, then ground cherries are definitely worth considering.
Do ground cherries need a trellis?
Ground cherries are a type of small fruit that is often used in jams and pies. The plants are relatively easy to grow, but they do require some special care.
One important consideration is whether or not to use a trellis. Ground cherries typically produce long, slender branches that can be easily damaged by wind and rain.
If left unrelished, the branches will often trail along the ground, making them susceptible to rot. For this reason, it is generally advisable to provide some kind of support for the plant.
Stakes, tomato cages, and other types of trellises can all be used to keep the branches off the ground and encourage vertical growth.
In addition, using a trellis will help to increase air circulation around the plant, which can help to prevent fungal diseases.
What do ground cherries need to grow?
Ground cherries are best when they are grown in full sun. They need at least six hours of direct sunlight each day in order to produce the best fruit.
They are tolerant of a little shade, but they will produce fewer berries if they don’t have enough sun. Be sure to plant them in an area where they will get plenty of light throughout the day.
With proper care, your ground cherry plants will thrive and provide you with a bountiful harvest.
How do you start ground cherries?
Ground cherries are a type of small fruit that is often used in jams and pies. Though they are related to tomatoes, ground cherries have a sweeter flavor and a softer texture.
Unlike many other fruits, ground cherries grow roots on their stems. As a result, it is important to plant seedlings in a deep manner, with the three leaves above the soil line.
Ground cherries should be planted three feet apart, in rows that are three to four feet apart. Each plant can produce up to 300 fruits, and they will continue bearing fruit until the first frost.
For those who enjoy home-grown fruits and sweets, planting ground cherries can be a tasty and rewarding experience.
How long do ground cherries last?
Ground cherries are a type of small, sweet fruit that is encased in a papery husk. They are typically yellow or red in color, and they have a slightly tangy flavor.
Ground cherries are often used in pies and jams, but they can also be eaten fresh. One of the most notable things about ground cherries is their long shelf life.
Once they are picked, they can last for up to three months. This is due to the fact that they continue to ripen after they are picked.
As a result, ground cherries are a great fruit to have on hand if you want something that will last awhile.
How do you sprout ground cherries?
Ground cherries are a type of small fruit that is closely related to tomatoes. Like tomatoes, they can form roots on their stems, which makes them ideal for deep planting.
When growing ground cherries, it is best to plant the seeds with three sets of leaves above the ground. The plants should be spaced at least three feet apart, and the rows should be between three and four feet apart.
Ground cherries are very productive, and each plant can yield up to 300 fruits per season. They will continue to bear fruit indefinitely until the first frost of the year.
How do you grow ground cherries?
Ground cherries are a type of fruit that is closely related to tomatoes and tomatillos. Unlike most other fruits, ground cherries grow roots along their stems.
This means that they need to be planted deeply, with three sets of leaves over the line of soil.
Ground cherries also need to be spaced out well, with plants placed at least three feet apart in rows that are between three and four feet wide.
When given the right conditions, ground cherries can produce an astounding 300 fruits per plant. They will continue to bear fruit indefinitely until the first frost of the season.
As a result, growers who are looking for a high-yielding crop may want to consider planting ground cherries.
How long does it take to grow ground cherries?
Ground cherries are a type of fruit that is related to tomatoes and potatoes. They are usually yellow or red in color, and they have a sweet flavor.
Ground cherries generally produce fruit in the 70th day from the time of transplant, which is typically late July to early August.
These fruits will last until the frost has set. It is important to note that ground cherries possess the distinct characteristic of dropping to the ground before they become mature.
This means that they should be harvested on a regular basis in order to ensure that they are eaten before they rot.
Ground cherries can be eaten fresh, cooked, or dried. They can also be used to make jams and pies.
Will ground cherries come back every year?
Ground cherries are a popular fruit that is known for its sweetness. The plant produces around one pint of fruit during the growing season, which typically lasts from late summer to early autumn.
Ground cherries are typically found on the ground, rather than on the plant itself, which is how they got their name.
While ground cherries are a perennial plant, meaning they will come back every year, they may not produce fruit every year.
Factors such as weather and soil conditions can impact the plant’s ability to produce fruit, so even though the plant may come back, there is no guarantee that fruit will be produced.
However, with proper care and attention, ground cherries can be a delicious and rewarding addition to any garden.