Ground Cherry Growing Guide

Various Physalis species

Ground Cherry

Crop Rotation Group

Solanaceae (Potato and tomato family) 


Well-drained soil enriched with plenty of compost.


Full sun.

Frost tolerant



Drench with a liquid organic fertiliser when plants begin to bloom heavily.


Single Plants: 60cm (1' 11") each way (minimum)
Rows: 50cm (1' 7") with 90cm (2' 11") row gap (minimum)

Sow and Plant

Start seeds indoors, 4-8 weeks before your last frost, and expect seeds to germinate after 5 to 7 days. Set plants out after the soil warms when they are at least 5 to 6 weeks old. Ground cherries are semi-tropical plants that grow best under warm conditions, so don’t rush to get an early start. Use horticultural fleece to protect young plants from periods of chilly weather, and grow in a greenhouse or polytunnel in cooler areas.
Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area.


Well-grown ground cherries can produce more than 100 fruits per plant. Provide tomato cages or other supports to help provide stability for the big, bushy plants.


Ground cherries grow to the size of marbles, and develop their fruity, pineapple-like flavors when the fruits ripen to yellow. Gather ripe fruits in dry weather, remove the papery husks, and wash with cool water to remove the sticky coating on the fruits. Pat dry and store in the refrigerator for up to a week.


Ground cherries have few pest problems, but can be bothered by the same insects that injure potatoes and tomatoes. Ground cherries often delay bearing until the days become short in late summer. In Australia fruit fly are a pest of ground cherries, make sure to take appropriate control measures in areas where they are present. It is important to dispose of any infected fruit and fruit has fallen to the ground by placing them in a sealed plastic bag in the sun for at least 7 days to kill the eggs and larvae. Do not compost fruit as this will lead to the fruit fly completing their life cycle and lead to the problem recurring.

Planting and Harvesting Calendar

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Pests which Affect Ground Cherry