Closely relative with well-known plants such as tomato, Chinese Lantern enraptures a lot of gardeners and people interested in growing such fascinating plants indoors alike. This flowering plant has a few familiar names changing from location to location. For example, they are winter cherry, Japanese lantern, strawberry groundcherry, and bladder cherry. Also, this houseplant is native to Northeast and South Asia alongside Southern Europe.
This plant generally has herbaceous stems bearing leaves and the brownish-orange wrinkled papery outer covering all around fruits. That’s why it’s called Chinese Lantern. This flowering plant could reach up to 2 ft (61 cm). Its flowers bloom white in summer. Also, it has an invasive root system. Therefore, it should be controlled regularly because unwanted small plants may emerge from its rhizomes. In addition to this, it is a perennial like Chinese Evergreen. More importantly, this plant is poisonous. In case of ingesting, it could badly affect your health.
How to Care for Physalis alkekengi
Chinese Lantern can tolerate direct sunlight in winter. Generally, the sun doesn’t show itself frequently in such times. But in summer, this houseplant should stay in semi-shade locations.
There isn’t a certain period for watering this flowering plant. But keeping the soil moist is crucial. In the winter months, it can get less water.
Average and slightly high humidity is okay for it. For that reason, you may use water spray to keep humidity levels three times a week.
65°F – 72°F (18°C – 22°C) is an optimal temperature range for this plant. Differently, this houseplant has more tolerance against harsh conditions. According to the USDA plant hardiness map, this flowering plant grows in zones 3 and 9.
Soils that have abundant minerals are a good base for such plants. Rich soil is necessary for better development. For that reason, proportionately mixed potting soils and well-drained soils are totally for this houseplant growing.
For such plants, indoors aren’t an ideal spot in general. Instead, outdoors such as garden, patio, terrace, and balconies are nice growth spots. Notably, garden beds and medium containers are great hosts for this houseplant. For example, balcony containers are a considerable choice for vegetable gardening.
There are four well-known fertilizers: slow-releasing, quick-releasing, granular and liquid fertilizers. For these plants, slow-releasing fertilizers are proper for indoor growing. In its growing seasons, such fertilizers should be applied monthly. In case of too much fertilizing, roots develop irregularly. Also, the plant becomes too leafy.
Sowing seeds and division are the best options for propagating.
In case of outgrown plants and too crowd tangled roots, transplanting is necessary. The next pot should be 3 inches (7 cm) larger than the existing pot.
Brown blotches on leaves: Overwatering, underwatering, and lack of humidity usually lead to this problem.
Discoloration of leaves: Lack of light, insufficient minerals in the soil, nutrient deficiency, or overload cause this problem.
Pest infestation: Dry conditions and improper watering draw pests such as mites, aphids, whiteflies, thrips, red spiders, and mealybugs.
Suggestions for problems
Firstly, the watering routine should be consistent. Also, the indoor humidity level should be optimal. To ensure it, you may use, for example, automated humidifiers, wet pebble trays, and sphagnum moss poles. To turn the pale color back to normal, you should check the position of the plant and the mineral level of the soil. When it comes to pest infestation, you may use neem oils, pesticide soaps, and bug repellants.
Suggestions for beginners
Never put the seedling outdoor. The cold weather conditions are already deadly for mature plants.