Organic Peruvian Ground Cherry Seeds

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We discovered this tasty little treat in Peru while teaching about seed saving in the Sacred Valley. We fell in love with the unique flavor that makes it irresistible! It is an easy plant to grow—growing over 5 feet tall on our farm! It can be quite ornamental and can be used in a food forest, permaculture design, ornamental gardens, and more.


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Product Details

Weight

.25G

Planting Season

Warm

Soil Temp

75°F+

Planting Depth

1/4"

Area to Sow

100' row

Days to Germ.

10-15+

Days to Maturity

65+

Best Planting Method

Direct or transplant

Thin to

≥2" apart

Final Spacing

≥24" apart

Succession

NA

Approx. Seed Count

100

Product Information

Peruvian Ground Cherry is an incredible plant with so many uses! The Peruvian Ground Cherry produces loads of delicious, tart, and super flavorful ground fruits that can be dehydrated, made into jelly (our favorite), or just eaten raw. We discovered this tasty little treat in Peru while teaching about seed saving in the Sacred Valley. We fell in love with the unique flavor that makes it irresistible! It is an easy plant to grow—growing over 5 feet tall on our farm! It can be quite ornamental and can be used in a food forest, permaculture design, ornamental gardens, and more.

The Peruvian Ground Cherry has its origins in Peru. Sometimes they are called cape gooseberry, goldenberry, and physalis, among lots of other names. This crop is traced to the Incas and has been cultivated in many parts of the world since the 18th century.

Ground cherries are less fussy than tomatoes but are in the same Solanaceae family of nightshades and can be grown similarly.

Planting by Zones

Zones 9-10

  • Ground cherries grow well in the extended warm season of Zones 9 and 10. Often times you can grow ground cherry plants year-round. This process is called perennialization. It happens when a typically annual plant grows year-round in mild weather. In Zones 9 and 10, you can grow ground cherries year-round, but their productivity will greatly dimension once temperatures cool and the days are shorter. As a grower, you should decide to pull your plants if they stop producing at a healthy rate, are diseased, or if you need space for more seasonal vegetables.
  • In Zones 9 and 10, you can start ground cherries from seed as early as February as long as they are protected from the cold. Do not let your seedlings get root bound in their containers. All seeds of the Solanaceae family enjoy warm temperatures to germinate. Using a heating pad can greatly increase the germination rate and speed.

Zones 2-8

  • Sow seeds in starter pots with a heating pad 6 weeks before the last frost. Transplant out after the danger of frost is gone.

Planting Peruvian Ground Cherry Seeds

  • Ground cherry seeds are easy to start with a few key things. Ground cherries germinate very slowly in cold soil. If you start your seeds early in the season, you may want to use a heating mat to ensure the soil is warm enough for quick germination. Soil temperature should be 75-90°F.
  • If you are planting seeds in starter pots, plant seeds into thoroughly moist high-quality seed starting soil. Place seeds on top of the soil and cover with 1/4” of finely sifted soil.
  • If you plan to direct sow, follow the same instructions for starter pots or plug trays. Ground soil should be above 60 degrees. Soil should be moist at the time of planting.
  • Once the seedlings have germinated and have the first set of true leaves, fertilize regularly with an organic liquid fertilizer.
  • Seedlings can be planted into the garden when they are 7-8 weeks old or 5-6” tall and stocky. Like tomatoes, ground cherries can be planted deep into the ground. This is recommended because the tiny white hairs on the plant become roots. Plant your starts down into the soil until only 3-4” of the top leaves show. Ground cherries thrive in full sun.
  • Ground cherries love fertile soil rich in organic compost. Tomatoes love fertile soil rich in organic matter. Add plenty of compost before planting. A granular organic fertilizer added to the planting area is a good idea if your garden has poor nutrient content or if you are growing in a new raised bed.

Growing Peruvian Ground Cherry

  • Watering should be done at weekly intervals and overwatering avoided.
  • Do NOT overhead water, as this promotes foliar disease. Water at the soil level.
  • Prune excess foliage and suckers for maximum production. Pruning also helps to increase airflow and can help prevent diseases. Keep a lookout for pests like whiteflies which can decrease production.

Growing Peruvian Ground Cherry in Containers

  • The ground cherry is an indeterminate grower and less suitable for management in a container. You can see in the video below how large these plants can grow.
  • If you are planting tomatoes in containers, make sure your container is at least 20” deep. Keep in mind containers will dry out faster because they have more surface area and less soil to hold onto moisture. Mulch heavily on the top layer of soil in the pot to keep the soil from drying out or heating up too much.

Harvesting Peruvian Ground Cherry 

  • Harvest fruits when the outside paper husk turns light brown, and the ground cherry has fully turned yellow. Similar to tomatillos, you’ll know they are at peak ripeness when they are fallen on the ground and have burst out of their husks.

Southern California Pro-tips

  • In areas of Zones 9 and 10, ground cherries can be grown year-round but may decrease drastically in production.
  • Mulch heavily around your tomato plants to ensure the soil does not dry out or heat up too much.
  • During our hottest months of August, September, and October, plants can suffer from the heat. Using shade cloth can help protect the plants from extreme heat.

Companion Flowers/Crops

  • Ground cherry plants can get very large. For this reason, we recommend planting low-lying plants around them. Flowers like alyssum and nasturtium look beautiful in a tomato bed!

Additional Learning Resources

Physalis peruviana

 

Product Details

Weight

.25G

Planting Season

Warm

Soil Temp

75°F+

Planting Depth

1/4"

Area to Sow

100' row

Days to Germ.

10-15+

Days to Maturity

65+

Best Planting Method

Direct or transplant

Thin to

≥2" apart

Final Spacing

≥24" apart

Succession

NA

Approx. Seed Count

100

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