How to plant and cultivate physalis, or love in a cage?

How to plant and cultivate physalis, or love in a cage?

The characteristics of love in a cage, or physalis

  • Type: fruit shrub
  • Height: up to 1m
  • Flower color: Orange-red
  • Desired exposure: sunny, shaded
  • Type of soil: humiferous, sandy, clayey
  • Foliage: obsolete
  • Interview : easy
  • Sanitizing: no
  • Diseases and pests: defoliating caterpillars, snails and slugs

Origins and characteristics of the physalis

Physalis is a fruit shrub of the nightshade family also called Amour-en-cage. This name is perfect since an orange or even red membrane in the shape of a paper lantern gives way, in the fall, to a cage containing an orange berry.

If this fruit is edible and it seems close to the Peruvian cockerel, it does not have the taste qualities. Native to both Europe and Japan, this hardy plant is appreciated, both for its originality and for the simplicity of its culture.

Up to a meter high, it can both be grown in pots and in the ground to enhance your terraces and beds. Many people wonder whether its fruit, also called ground cherry, is edible or toxic. Know that it is indeed toxic until it has reached maturity. Then, in the case of some varieties, it becomes quite edible and has a slight taste of tomato.

There are several species of physalis like the physalis alkekengi, of physalis pubescens, of physalis peruviana or even physalis ixocarpa or Tomatillo from Mexico whose cooked fruit is eaten. These different varieties produce more or less large fruits and the plants can reach from 25 cm to 1 m.

Sowing and planting physalis

This fruit shrub will evolve favorably in a drained or clay soil. Love in a cage is not particularly demanding. If he likes the sun, it is best to install it in a partial shade location in the south of France.

In pots, it will bring a little color to your terrace. The ideal is to sow under a frame in early spring, in March, and bring a temperature of 20 ° to your sowing. Place your seeds in a mixture of potting soil and sand at the rate of three seeds per scoop. When the plants are emerging, keep only the most vigorous and then plant in the ground in May at a distance of one meter.

Cultivation and maintenance of physalis

You should water your shrub fairly regularly and add fertilizer to your potted crops. Physalis tolerates temporary drought.

A special tomato fertilizer will be perfectly suited to fertilize the plant. Be sure to use it about every 15 days.

To maintain somewhat fragile stems that tend to bend, place pieces of crossed bamboo, or hazel branches.

Harvest and conservation of physalis

It is at the end of summer that we harvest the Love in a cage. When the lantern is colored, pick it up to dry it upside down in a dry place away from light. Your bouquet of physalis can be kept for several years

Multiplication of the physalis

It is possible to opt for division, in the spring, by cutting roots that you will replant not far. This process is simple and effective, the physalis tending to spread a lot and produce many roots.

Physalis diseases and pests

Love-en-cage is a fairly robust plant that undergoes few attacks. Despite everything, some caterpillars can come to damage its foliage, it is also the case of snails and slugs.

Against the moths, spray in the spring but also during the summer season a mixture of absinthe and tansy infusion. This will keep female butterflies away from attacking the plants.