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Cape gooseberry   

Physalis peruviana

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Cape gooseberry is a member of the Physalis family. Its botanical name is Physalis peruviana.

More Online Info

The cape gooseberry is an annual in at temperate regions and a perennial in the tropics. In the Andean regions of South America it grows wild between 2,500 and 10,000 ft. The wild range in Hawaii is 1,000 to 8,000 ft. The plants are frost tender and are killed at temperatures of about 30° F. In much of California the cape gooseberry is best grown as an annual, but will persist for several years in frost-free areas of southern California. Some California growers have grown seedling materials under glass during the fall and winter and set out in early spring to gain the advantage of the longest possible growing season.The plants are easily grown in pots and adapt well to greenhouse culture.

Blooms normally display as a colour very similar to   Titanium yellow. The mature flowers take a single form. Its fruits normally ripen as a colour very similar to   Yellow Orange.

Cape gooseberry grows as an annual/perennial and is a flowering edible fruit / ornamental. Being an annual / perennial plant, it tends to grow either as a single season plant, or a plant that can stay in your garden for many years.

Normally growing to a mature height of 91.0 cm (2.96 feet), Cape gooseberry grows with a spreading habit.

Some varieties of Cape gooseberry you may like to consider growing are: Pineapple Ground Cherry, Giant, Aunt Molly, Schönbrunner gold and Golden Berry Pinapple.

Brazil is believed to be where Cape gooseberry originates from.

Cape gooseberry is normally fairly low maintenance and quite easy to grow, as long as a level of basic care is provided throughout the year. Being aware of the basic soil, sun and water preferences will result in a happier and healthier plant.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Cape gooseberry have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Cape gooseberry

  • Full Sun

  • Partial Sun

  • Low

Location: The plant likes a sunny, frost-free location, sheltered from strong winds. It does well planted next to a south-facing wall (in the Northern hemisphere) or in a patio.

Soil: The cape gooseberry will grow in any well drained soil but does best on sandy to gravelly loam. Very good crops are obtained on rather poor sandy ground.

Irrigation: The plant needs consistent watering to set a good fruit crop, but can’t take “wet feet”. Where drainage is a problem, the plantings should be on a gentle slope or the rows should be mounded. Irrigation can be cut back when the fruits are maturing. The plants become dormant during drought.

Fertilization: The cape gooseberry seems to thrive on neglect. Even moderate fertilizer tends to encourage excessive vegetative growth and to depress flowering. High yields are attained with little or no fertilizer.

Pruning: Very little pruning is needed unless the plant is being trained to a trellis. Pinching back of the growing shoots will induce more compact and shorter plants.

Frost Protection: In areas where frost may be a problem, providing the plant with some overhead protection or planting them next to a wall or a building may be sufficient protection. Individual plants are small enough to be fairly easily covered during cold snaps by placing plastic sheeting, etc. over a frame around them. Plastic row covers will also provide some frost protection for larger plantings. Potted specimens can be moved to a frost-secure area. Young growth at the ends of the branches is particularly susceptible to frost damage.

Plant in a location that enjoys full sun / partial sun and remember to apply water fairly sparingly. Cape gooseberry is generally regarded as a tender plant, so remember to ensure that temperatures are mild before moving outdoors.

See our list of companion Plants for Cape gooseberry to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Cape gooseberry from seed

There are 5,000 to 8,000 seeds per ounce, which are sometimes mixed with pulverized soil or ashes for uniform sowing. High humidity is required for good germination.
The plants can also be propagated from 1 year old stem cuttings treated with a rooting hormone. Plants grown this way flower early and yield well but are less vigorous than seedlings.

Transplanting Cape gooseberry

In India, plants 6 to 8 in (15-20 cm) high are set out 18 in (45 cm) apart in rows 3 ft (0.9 m) apart. Farmers in South Africa space the plants 2 to 3 ft (0.6-0.9 m) apart in rows 4 to 6 ft (1.2-1.8 m) or even 8 ft (2.4 m) apart in very rich soil. They apply 200 to 400 lbs (90-180 kg) of complete fertilizer per acre (approx. = kg/ha) on sandy loam. Foliar spraying of 1% potassium chloride solution before and just after blooming enhances fruit quality.1

Cape gooseberry is tender, so ensure you wait until all danger of frost has passed in your area before considering planting outside - as a guideline, the minimum temperature outside should be approximately 3°C / 37°F.

Harvesting Cape gooseberry

In rainy or dewy weather, the fruit is not picked until the plants are dry. Berries that are already wet need to be lightly dried in the sun. The fruits are usually picked from the plants by hand every 2 to 3 weeks, although some growers prefer to shake the plants and gather the fallen fruits from the ground in order to obtain those of more uniform maturity. At the peak of the season, a worker can pick 2 1/2 bushels (90 liters) a day, but at the beginning and end of the season, when the crop is light, only 1/2 bushel (18 liters).

A single plant may yield 300 fruits. Seedlings set 1,800 to 2,150 to the acre (228-900/ha) yield approximately 3,000 lbs of fruit per acre (approx. = kg/ha). The fruits are usually dehusked before delivery to markets or processors. Manual workers can produce only 10 to 12 lbs. (4.5-5.5 kg) of husked fruits per hour. Therefore, a mechanical husker, 4 to 5 times more efficient, has been designed at the University of Hawaii.1

How long does Cape gooseberry take to grow?

These estimates for how long Cape gooseberry takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Cape gooseberry to germinate?
11 days

Average 11 days | Min 5 days | Max 27 days (22)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Cape gooseberry?
+ 16 days

Average 16 days | Min 5 days | Max 80 days (6)

Days to Maturity How long until Cape gooseberry is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 120 days

Average 120 days | Min 46 days | Max 261 days (32)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Cape gooseberry?
= 147 days

Cape gooseberry Etymology

Various species of Physalis have been subject to much confusion in literature and in the trade. A species which bears a superior fruit and has become widely known is the cape gooseberry, P. Peruviana L. (P. edulis Sims). It has many colloquial names in Latin America: capuli, aguaymanto, tomate sylvestre, or uchuba, in Peru; capuli or motojobobo embolsado in Bolivia; uvilla in Ecuador; uvilla, uchuva, vejigón or guchavo in Colombia; topotopo, or chuchuva in Venezuela; capuli, amor en bolsa, or bolsa de amor, in Chile; cereza del Peru in Mexico. It is called cape gooseberry, golden berry, pompelmoes or apelliefie in South Africa; alkekengi or coqueret in Gabon; lobolobohan in the Philippines; teparee, tiparee, makowi, etc., in India; cape gooseberry or poha in Hawaii.1

Other names for Cape gooseberry

Physalis, Ground-cherry, Golden berry, Uchuva, Inca berry, Uvilla, Peruvian goldenberry, Husk cherry, Peruvian ground cherry, Poha, Poha berry, Aztec berry, Horse tomato, Physalis peruviana

Physalis edulis Sims, Physalis esculenta Salisbury

Misspellings: Cape Goose Berry

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