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 50°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 39 - 59 inches 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 1.5 m 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

02 Sep 23, William (USA - Zone 6b climate)
Can you grow cape gooseberries in hardiness zone 6b? Me and my mom want to grow it in our garden next year but i need to do research on them to know.
15 Apr 23, Annabelle (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have grown tomatillos for several years -they usually grow from self seeding. This season, very strangely a whole lot of seedlings self grew but they have turned into what looks like Cape gooseberries - which I have never grown in my garden at all.. they have the cases and are yellow and small. I am very confused.( I also am harvesting tomatillos at the moment from self seeded plants. Definitely different plants.) Is there some sort of regressive hybrid or genetic weirdness going on here?
14 Jan 23, Sherin Reilly (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My cape gooseberries are growing either outside the pod or the pod isn't fully formed. Is this a problem and can it be fixed. Thanknyou
28 Feb 23, Stacey (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi just wondering if you found the cause of this as I am having the same issue Thanks
03 Dec 22, Tammy r (USA - Zone 7b climate)
Can these be perennial in zone 7? If I keep them out all winter and will they grow back next spring? I hear they are perenial but not sure about growing them in my zone.
31 Oct 22, Jo-Anne Rossouw (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
Planted seeds from Cape gooseberries which grew immediately. Now it looks like long spear zigzac on sides leaves and have clusters of red dots all over. What is that? Leaves are also turning redish on the ends. Is something wrong? Is it even gooseberries or am i pampering weeds?? Not sure about the red cluster of dots.
09 Nov 22, Aleta Baron (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
This year I sowed mine in pots. Last summer was too cold. My thinking is it is too cold yet with the red on leaves. Sow in pots and you will know exactly.
27 Oct 22, Fawn E Rosenberg (USA - Zone 6b climate)
I have 6-8 inch cape gooseberry plants in a pot, which were started from seed during the summer. I brought them inside since we are expecting our first frost tomorrow. What can I do to keep them thriving through our upcoming harsh winter? And how long until they will bear fruit? Thank you!
30 Oct 22, Anonymous (USA - Zone 6b climate)
They are a spring summer crop - not something you grow through winter.
01 Oct 22, Sue (Australia - temperate climate)
My gooseberries have been growing in a pot since autumn and have fruited now. Can I transplant them now in spring or should I wait for cooler weather?
Showing 1 - 10 of 547 comments

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 -

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