Chinese Lanterns

There is great allure to the vivid orange globes of Chinese lanterns.  It is a somewhat bushy perennial with simple but lush green leaves, and small white flowers in mid-summer.  Those flowers grow into green vessels, that ripen to the orange ‘lanterns’ which house a bright orange, cherry tomato-like fruit inside.  Once the lanterns have ripened to orange, you can cut the stems to dry, and they will hold their orange colour for 2+ years.  This perennial is super easy to grow - too easy, as it is often considered invasive, though less so in part shade and average to poor soil.  Consider a small patch separate from your mixed perennials - with a mix of spring bulbs and phlox or yellow loosestrife, you would have interest through the season.  They would also work in a half barrel or large planter.

Technical stuff – Chinese lanterns, or physalis alkekengi, an easy, hardy perennial for sun to part shade, aggressive spreading habit, small white blooms in mid-summer with orange ‘lanterns’ developing for September, grows 24-35” tall.

Posted on December 4, 2013 and filed under Perennials.