Growing Cape Gooseberry, also Golden Berry, Inca Berry

Physalis peruviana : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

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

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

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • 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 10°C and 25°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 100 - 150 cm apart
  • Harvest in 14-16 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border but tends to sprawl over other plants.
  • Cape Gooseberry plant
  • Flowers
  • 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.

Cape Gooseberry is very easy to grow and as the fruit are popular with birds the plants can be easily spread around the garden. If you have plenty of room then plants grow better with 1.5m of space. Spacing closer works but you may get less fruit.

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 as 'Inca Berries'

Your comments and tips

15 Aug 22, Anna (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
In Sydney my cape gooseberries got black when they were grumpy about inconsistent watering, esp if the weather was very hot.
14 Aug 22, Anna (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
Last season our gooseberries suffered a lot from the potato beetle. What biological / organic solutions are there for the effective control or even prevention thereof? If no effective biological solution exists, are there any chemical pesticides that have been tested with cape gooseberries and are recommended with pre-harvest intervals defined? Kindly let me know.
12 Aug 22, (Canada - Zone 7a Mild Temperate climate)
I don’t have a papery husk but green and brown serrated ‘things’ after flowering. When I open the brown ones they look like seed pods. What to do?
05 Aug 22, Marijke Warners (Canada - Zone 6b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
Some of the flowers have turned into green spiky husks, then turned a dark brown/black. Is this normal?
23 Jul 22, Merina Bjordin (Canada - Zone 3b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
I planted them last year in a pot - did not know for sure what they were, but brought them in and kept them alive (barely) all winter. This spring, thinking the plant was mostly dead, I put it out in late May. Now in mid July and after a very rainy June, it is thriving- the plant is quite ugly so it’s been at the back of the house, but now that I know what it is, I’ll put it in a sunny spot out front. I’m hoping for berries.
16 Jul 22, Dave (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi Carol. Sorry to say in my experience possums can do that and if they don't rats will. Where we live I have mine planted in a hut made of chicken wire and stops all those problems. I think you'll have to protect yours better as well
07 Aug 22, Adrie (Australia - temperate climate)
We’re in regional Victoria and I have a cape gooseberry between a couple of roses. Nothing eats it. Not possums, rats, snails… It’s still flowering & fruiting prolifically in midwinter which I think is very odd. We had lots self down in a flower garden as a child and they fruited mid to late summer.
02 Jul 22, Carol (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
We had a lovely Cape gooseberry plant growing in a pot and doing really well. Something over a week at nights has proceeded to demolish it first just the leaves then the unripe fruit then last night it has broken the whole plant and destroyed it...can you tell me if it would be possums or a rabbit maybe?
05 May 22, Mati (Australia - temperate climate)
Hello. I need a few information regarding something I have no knowledge. I've been asked to write a report on Cape Gooseberries (golden berries) and regular Gooseberry plant, how they differ from each other, and whether or not they're compatible with each other; as in if these two plants can be grown side by side. Now as I have zero idea on gardening, I'm having to fully rely on the internet. I've found most of what I need to know. Except for if these two plants can be grown in close proximity in a garden. Can someone kindly provide me with a detailed answer to this?
06 May 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Both gooseberries and ground cherries are very unique and distinctive fruits. Due to their different needs, they usually won’t be found together on the same plantation or state.(I don't know what the differences are but could be climate, temperatures etc). Taken from -
Showing 1 - 10 of 534 comments

I'd suggest you go to the climate zone (blue tab near top of the page) and work out your Canadian climate zone or the equivalent in USA. Then look up the info you want. Can't find it then google it.

- Anon

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