The Chinese Lantern plant is most commonly known for its use as a dried flower in fall arrangements. They last for a long time once dried and look great in bouquets and on wreaths. One use that many people do not know of is that the orange berry inside the orange lantern shaped flower makes a great jelly.
These plants can be started from seed but it’s easier to but plants and divide the plants every few years. The easiest way to divide the plants is to lift the plants and separate them into rooted pieces in the spring, then replant them. These plants spread by runners underground.
If you start them from seed, sow in flats of sandy soil or directly outside. Those sown directly outside should be thinned to 6 inches apart before they become too crowded.
These plants will spread if they are grown in a sandy area that drains well and that has six hours of sunlight. I keep my area that I grow them in somewhat contained to help keep the plants under control. They do like to spread if grown in the right conditions.
I use Chinese lanterns for many crafts and dried arrangements so like to grow a large area of the plants. I am moving some from a house that was decently torn down and hope to add an additional two rows of the flowers to my garden area plus share some with friends.
To dry the flower for use in arrangements, pick them at their height of color and hang upside down in a dark room for a few weeks.
The Chinese Lantern is part of the potato family. The Chinese lantern is most commonly known by this name but is also called the Winter Cherry. Its Latin botanical name is Physalis Alkekengi.
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