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Cape gooseberries

Cape gooseberry Physalis LuberaFor many, it is the exotic fruit par excellence - the cape gooseberry or physalis. Its rich aroma, which provides a variety of flavours, and its pretty appearance makes it a secret star in the berry family.

   
 
Cape gooseberry '(Big) Little Buddha'

Large-fruited Physalis

From £4.90 *

Cape gooseberry 'Biscuit'

Compact cape gooseberry

From £4.90 *

Cape gooseberry 'Fruttosa'

The very special, fruity cape gooseberry

From £4.90 *

Cape gooseberry 'Peters Best'

Rich-bearing Physalis

From £4.90 *

Large-fruited Physalis Pa 1517-33

The cape gooseberry with large and exotic fruits

From £4.90 *

   
 

More information about cape gooseberries

Here at Lubera, the berry experts from the Swiss Rhine Valley, you will find attractive varieties of the cape gooseberry that have something for every taste.

Cape gooseberry plants in the Lubera® Garden Shop

Physalis are annual or perennial herbaceous plants that do not get woody. Their geographical origin or distribution is revealed by the names Peruvian groundcherry and cape gooseberry. It is also known as the golden berry. The relationship of the physalis is not surprising. It belongs to the nightshade family and is therefore related to both the tomato and the potato. However, the flower of the cape gooseberry is quite different from the potato or tomato flower. The flower of the physalis has a yellow umbrella with a prominent brown inner centre. The fruit, which appears after fertilisation, grows in a pretty lampion whose yellow colouring indicates the ripeness of the actual berry. But the lampion is more than a decorative element - it protects the berry from pests. They also know how juicy-sweet and above all aromatic the physalis is. The aromas create a world of flavours from vanilla, coconut and biscuit. And we send this world of taste to your home quickly when you buy plants from Lubera® cape gooseberries.

Our physalis varieties

The popular cape gooseberry can be enjoyed at Lubera in four different varieties. They all have their advantages, so it's best to try out all our varieties.

Biscuit - the compact type

The variety 'Biscuit' grows very compact, so it is also suitable for the balcony or a small garden. The fruit is slightly smaller but very numerous. When the fruit ripens in mid-June, it falls off the plant in its lantern and can then be eaten or used directly.  As the name of our variety 'Biscuit' already indicates, the aroma is refined with a clear vanilla note in the finish. This is the 'Bonsai' among the Physalis plants with its 30 to 50 cm height it is particularly interesting for those who prefer a mild exotic taste.

(Big) Little Buddha - the biggest fruits

From the smallest to the largest variety - the variety designation '(Big) Little Buddha' makes it clear that there is a giant among the cape gooseberry plants available. In fact, (Big) Little Buddha grows up to 200 cm tall and produces a correspondingly large amount of fruit. The growth is somewhat sparse so that the plant needs a little more space. It thanks us for this with very large fruits, which have a beautiful surface and a round-flat shape. In colour, they have the golden shine of the physalis. Even more important is the aroma, which is more fruity, i.e. slightly more acidic, than, for example, the Biscuit variety.

Fruttosa - the fruitiest

Those who like it fruity will be very satisfied with 'Fruttosa'. This variety grows upright and vigorous, so it is a fast-growing fruit bush overall. At the beginning of August, a little later than other varieties, the fruits are ready for harvest. However, they fall off less quickly than other varieties, so that the fruits can be pressed out of the casing. The result is a medium-sized cape gooseberry with a beautiful yellow-orange colour. The taste of 'Fruttosa' is particularly refined, as it combines exotic fruitiness with sweet vanilla and an exotic coconut aroma. A dream that can become an addictive factor with the pronounced fruit acidity!

Peters Best - the best flavour

The 'Peters Best' variety is the leader in terms of yield and sweetness of the fruit. In mid-July, you can enjoy a yield of 200 to 450 fruits with 'Peters Best'. These are medium-sized, round and discreetly orange. The fruits are even sweeter than '(Big) Little Buddha' and have no bitter aftertaste. So you can enjoy the wonderful aroma mix of coconut and vanilla wonderfully. Also, the growth is pleasant, because '(Peters Best)' grows rather wider, bushier and more compact than the big '(Big) Little Buddha'.

Planting and care

Location

Cape gooseberry plants are not hardy, so like tomatoes, they are planted as young plants in the bed in April or May after the frost. The location should be full sun, the soil only moderately nutritious, but loose and permeable. Slightly sandy soil is therefore very suitable. The location may be quite airy, the difference between day and night also plays a greater role. Therefore, yields are higher in the open field than in the greenhouse.

Fertilising

When fertilising, one should not do too much of a good thing because otherwise the physalis puts its growth power into the growth of the shoots but not into the fruit formation. Fertilise the bed only moderately and if you think the growth is too weak, spread humusy garden soil or compost on the bed.

Care

All in all, this exotic plant from the Andes is surprisingly robust. Last but not least, the delicious fruits are protected by the lantern cover from pests such as the spotted wing drosophila. To promote the health of the plant and improve growth, it is advisable to encourage branching at a height of up to 50 cm by leaving all new shoots on the plant. Once the plant has grown taller than 50 cm, it is time to start sprouting. This is done by removing the shoots that have formed in the axillary buds. Many people know that sprouting is an important maintenance measure for tomatoes.

In the annual cycle, physalis are rewarding plants, because they grow, flower and bear fruit in the same year. In principle they are perennial, but in most cases, as with tomatoes, new young plants are planted every year. This ensures a rich harvest yield. If there is no more space in the bed, cape gooseberry plants can also be planted in containers or boxes. As a rule, a volume of 15 to 20 litres is sufficient, in the case of the Biscuit berry even only 5 to 10 litres.

Overwintering

Cape gooseberry plants must be wintered frost-free at 10°C. The winter quarters should be cool and bright at the same time. Before overwintering, the plants are cut back considerably in October and November so that only the main shoots remain. Even if the overwintering is somewhat more elaborate, the harvest yield in the second year can be higher if conditions are good. However, overwintering in a heated living room is not successful. During the mild to cool hibernation, the physalis plant only needs some water occasionally.

Harvesting

The harvest time for the cape gooseberry is around mid-July to August. But berry lovers are enthusiastic about also harvesting in September or even in October. When the physalis fruit is ripe, the protective lanterns turn yellow-brown, so that the wilted colouring gives a clear sign for harvesting. The stalk also turns brown and eventually causes the physical lampion to fall off. Since this is the case, you need not be afraid of falling fruit. After opening the lantern, the physalis berries are usually wonderfully round and undamaged.

Use

The aroma of these fruits is so delicious that one prefers to usually snack directly from the plant. Last but not least it is a great pleasure to unpack the fruit from the lampion. However, as the opened lantern with the fruit in the centre is extremely decorative, the physalis can and should also be used to decorate delicious desserts. By the way, it is a pleasure that does not require any remorse. The vitamin A, B and C content is exceptionally high, and the berry also helps with bladder and kidney problems.

So the conclusion is clear – cape gooseberries are a particularly pretty and healthy, sweet fruit with exotic aromas.

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