Physalis, Peruvian Cockroach or Caged Love - Sow, Plant

Physalis, Peruvian Cockroach or Caged Love - Sow, Plant

Physalis or “Love in a cage”… Beautiful colored lanterns!

Physalis, Physalis alkekengi, a fruit shrub known more for its aesthetic paper lanterns, for its ornamental quality than for its fruits. Love in a cage is its common name. The beautiful orange "lanterns", sometimes red as in our photo, give a superb colorful effect to the shrub and light to the garden ... It almost seems that the paper lanterns were "made" from sheer, almost translucent paper. Inside, small orange berries the "loves". The fruits are very acidic, they can be cooked in jams if necessary.

In the physalis family, we find Physalis peruviana, it is this variety that is cultivated for fruit. The shrub is atussi called peruvian cockroach, or Cape gooseberry, it is this variety that develops small orange fruits, sweet, delicious, that can be eaten raw as a fruit or used in baking or cooking, see an example of a beautiful recipe below page !

Botanical name

• Physalis alkekengi
Physalis peruviana is the variety that produces sweet fruits

Type of plant

• Cycle: Perennial
• Foliage: Persistent
• Type of plant: rustic
• Family: Solanaceae, Solenaceae
• Harbor : Shrub
• Exhibition: Sun to partial shade
• Plantation: Spring

Peculiarities and health benefits of love-in-a-cage

• Physalis produces small orange fruits: berries that appear when the "lanterns" dry. But in reality, the fruits, although edible, are very acidic and the rest even when they are very ripe, they can be advantageously used in dried fruits.

Gardener's info:

Physalis peruviana, is an annual phisalis (or perennial in very mild regions). It is this physalis that produces delicious fruit, slightly sweet, quite similar to that of currants. He is also and above all very rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C: 100 g of physalis consumed provide 35% of daily intake.

• Physalis is also rich in minerals and trace elements.

Advantage in the garden

• Very rustic
• Very easy to grow
• Beauties of the shrub, berries (cupcakes).


Love-in-a-cage is a shrub that will reach a maximum of 1 meter. Its flowering is little spectacular, small white flowers, which will give the lanterns then the edible berries a few months later: in October, (small orange fruits).

What soil to plant Love-in-a-cage:

• Light soil, very drained, dry and limestone.

Flowering period of physalis

• In May

When to plant physalis?

• Plant the Amours-en-cage in the spring in March and April.

How to plant physalis:

• In a mixture of potting soil, garden soil and sand (30%) to accentuate the draining power.
• The mound of physalis usually delivered in a bucket.
• Scrape around the root ball to free the roots
• Place the sun or partial shade exposure.
• Recap and tamp without damaging the roots
• Water.

What exhibition?

• Sunny or partial shade.

The harvest:

• During the fall, usually the harvest takes place in October and November.


• Low maintenance, possibly a fit size.

What other plant does it match?

• Plant the shrub with blue asters or other small fruit trees

Use in the garden:

• Use it in "wild" beds, why not with other small fruit shrubs
• Use alone, in a large pot.


Physalis peruviana, : Annual variety, hot sown and put in the garden from May when the low temperatures go away. It is Physalis Peruviana - or Peruvian Coqueret - which produces small tangy berries that are very pleasant to taste or to bake. This annual can be grown as a perennial, in which case it is cut back in autumn, its roots are protected with mulch. The plant seems to be more fragile, more susceptible to disease when grown as a perennial.

Love-in-a-cage diseases?

• No known disease

And on the recipe side?

A ricotta tart with spring vegetables and a sweet touch: physalis (Physalis peruviana)
You tell me the news. A recipe

Photo of physalis:
Creative Commons under license CC BY-SA 3.0 - On
Photo modified for Our website

Caged Love (Physalis alkekengi)

Love in a cage, Japanese or Chinese lantern (Physalis alkekengi) are the other names used in everyday language to talk about this plant: we understand why in view of the plant. It is a fairly vigorous and rustic perennial with a scent rhizome that grows relatively quickly and gains ground: it can be nearly 1 m wide by 70 cm high.

Its leaves are in the shape of a triangle or even a slightly elongated diamond, about 6 to 10 cm long. Small cream flowers form in the leaf axils in July. They turn into bright orange fruit berries enclosed in a red calyx that looks like a swollen membrane 3 to 5 cm in diameter. This membrane will gradually become finely serrated to show the fruit.

As the plant contains a little alkaloids, it can cause digestive problems: it is better to avoid ingesting it or crumpling its leaves. We therefore only use its original berries for dry bouquets.

  • Family: Solanaceae
  • Type: perennial
  • Origin: Europe and West Asia
  • Color: white flowers, bright scarlet orange berries and calyces
  • Sowing: yes
  • Cutting: yes
  • Planting: spring
  • Flowering: flowers in July, fruit in September
  • Height: 70 cm

1) Where and when to plant physalis?

Physalis can be planted either in the fall or in the spring, as desired. Of course, it is a good idea to choose spring for cold regions and autumn for warmer regions.

Physalis is a plant that likes calcareous soils with some stones. It also appreciates the sun and light, but fears direct sunlight. Partial shade suits it very well, but heat is essential.

It is possible to sow under cover in buckets from March. Then, they will have to be transplanted in May.

Credit: papaya45 / Pixabay

What about the Peruvian cockroach harvest?

The fruits of the Peruvian cockroach can be harvested when they are yellow-orange in color. However, do not forget to check if the calyx is really dry. You can turn these fruits into jam, dried fruit or to garnish a nice pie. But many people also prefer to consume them in berries plain.

It should be noted that the Peruvian cockroach is a plant that has a tendency to invade the garden. To avoid inconvenience, you can divide the tufts with a spade

Here is a little advice, if you want to have more crops, put a space of about 1m between your cockerel plants. Also, don't forget to place supports on each foot.

What are the benefits of physalis?

It would strengthen the immune system thanks to a good source of flavonoids, phosphorus, pectin and vitamin A, C, B1, B2. B6 and B12.

How to eat the Peruvian Coqueret?

The tangy flavor of physalis, between tomato and gooseberry, can be eaten plain and can also be eaten in pies, fruit salads, flans or even jams and jellies.

How do you keep love in a cage?

From August until September, when the lanterns start to color, cut the stems and hang them upside down in a cool, ventilated place to dry. The fruit ripens in the fall, it tastes delicious raw, and if you have plenty of it, try it in jelly!

How to ripen physalis?

As they ripen, these fruits release ethylene which speeds up the ripening process. Ethylene is a volatile gas. It acts as a phytohormone which triggers or accelerates the ripening process of the fruits.

Physalis Peruviana - love in cage - ornamental plant

In France, we mainly cultivate inedible and decorative species. Its culture is acclimating in Paris. Thus, from the 16th century, the florists of the capital made bouquets with the ornamental physalis.

The ornamental poisonous plant has a fairly pale orange-green calyx. Its growth is annual, sometimes perennial in the South or in a greenhouse. It reproduces by seed and is sensitive to frost.


The physalis Peruvian cockroach is an original fruit, rich in vitamin C and fiber. In pastry making of Grands Pâtissiers put it forward and make sublime pastries.

This is a fruit that can be found at his Primeur in the exotic fruits department.

The ornamental plant is very beautiful but poisonous so they must be distinguished.

Fruit or ornamental plant, physalis pose few problems. Like many aphids like it. Under shelter, they can fall victim to whiteflies and powdery mildew.

Source: All the Marabout vegetable garden

Buy your physalis seeds:

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