Ground Cherry - Aunt Molly's Groundcherry (Physalis pruinosa) Heirloom Cape Gooseberry Husk Tomato Ground Cherry Fruit

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Ground Cherry - Aunt Molly's Groundcherry (Physalis pruinosa) Heirloom Cape Gooseberry Husk Tomato Ground Cherries Fruit


Height 24 in

The ground cherry, also called physalis, husk tomato or cape gooseberry, is a unique fruit that resembles a small orange tomatillo. Physalis is a genus of approximately 75 to 90 flowering plants in the nightshade family Solanaceae, and are native to the Americas and Australasia. At least 46 species are endemic to Mexico. 

This variety, Aunt Molly's, is a Polish heirloom variety. Plants bear small (1/2 to 3/4 in) round fruits that are wrapped in a papery husk, and become a deep golden yellow colour when ripened; they have a tangy pineapple citrus meets vanilla flavour. Ground cherries are the sweeter, smaller golden cousin to a tomatillo. When the fruits are ripe, they drop to the ground - hence the name. Fruits can stored for up to one month in the husk; is typically used for pies, preserves or fruit salads. 

  • full sun
  • prefers loamy, sandy well draining soil
  • Start indoors in early spring with bottom heat - transplant out in warm weather, once night time temps are consistently above 10°C (50°F).
  • Sow seeds 5mm to 1cm (¼ to ½ in) deep in individual pots or trays.
  • OR direct sow: this method is much easier and less time-consuming, but you don’t get yields until 6 to 8 weeks later in the season due to a later start.
  • Spacing: 45-60cm (18 to 24 in) apart in rows 90 to 120cm (36 to 48 in) apart.
  • Harvest: the husk turns from green to papery brown as the fruit matures; when it's ripe, the fruit drops off the plant. Gather fallen fruits. Remove husk. Enjoy.
  • Seed Count: 25