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Growing Cape Gooseberry, also Golden Berry, Inca Berry

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S   P              

(Best months for growing Cape Gooseberry in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 20 inches apart
  • Harvest in 14-16 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border
  • Cape Gooseberry plant
    Cape Gooseberry plant
  • Flowers
    Flowers
  • unripe fruit
    unripe fruit

A straggling bush up to one metre tall that bears yellow fruits inside a brown papery envelope. It is perennial. The cape gooseberry is related to tomatillo, ground cherry and husk tomato, all in the genus Physalis.

The Cape Gooseberry is very easy to grow and as the fruit are popular with birds and plants can be easily spread around the garden.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cape Gooseberry

The berry is the size of a cherry tomato, is very aromatic and full of tiny seeds. They are delicious eaten fresh or can be made into jam. They can be added to salads, desserts and cooked dishes, they are delicious stewed with other fruit, especially apples. They also go well in savoury dishes with meat or seafood. Can be preserved dried.

Your comments and tips

03 Mar 16, richard loader (United Kingdom - warm/temperate climate)
can I direct sow cape gooseberry seeds in pots outside, when and how big does pot need to be please
03 Sep 11, paula (United Kingdom - cool/temperate climate)
I have chinese lantern growing my garden but they are bright red can these be eaten? are they the same as cape gooseberries. they look similar but are bright orange case

Hello George Cape Gooseberries planted in the ground need little or no extra Nitrogen fertiliser otherwise they will grow too much vegetation with very little fruit. Just before or at flowering time you should add Phosphorus - I add half of the recommended amount every 2 weeks. Phosphorus increases the number of flowers. After the fruit starts to form I start adding small amounts of Potassium to the soil or watering with a liquid Potassium - the liquid Potassium is absorbed quicker. Potassium is responsible for making the fruit sweeter or with flowering plants ( roses etc.) the flowers bigger and more colourful. It is a very common mistake that Potassium makes more fruit and flowers - it's Phosphorus that does that. I have been growing Cape Gooseberries for at least 35 years this way so I know by experience and I have experimented with these fertilisers. I also grow not only the usual citrus (10 dwarf trees in pots and some in the ground), bananas, figs, but other fruit like Star Fruit, Dragon Fruit , Black Sapote and I always use the same fertilising procedure with very good results. I grow my Cape Gooseberries in the vegetable garden - 3 plants in a row with 4 x 1.8 metre stakes and thin rope wound aroud the 4 stakes to keep the plants from spreading out over the garden.

- John W

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