Ground Cherry, Aunt Molly's
- Fruits grow to ½ to ¾ inch
- Fruits have a papery husk
- Sweet variety that stores well
- 70 days from transplant
(Physalis grisea) Longtime SSE member Suzanne Ashworth got this ground cherry seed from a young woman who lived in an apartment and was unable to grow the seeds which she had gotten from her deceased grandmother. Most of the seeds were long past germination, but Suzanne was able to grow 3 plants, and from that near extinction, this variety is now widely available. Easy to grow, prolific, and super sweet. Can be used for preserves, pies, over ice cream, or in fresh fruit salads. The ½-¾" fruits are encased in a papery husk that turns brown when the fruits ripen. Stores 3-4 weeks in the husk. Productive plants have a sprawling habit. 70 days from transplant.
Learn to Grow it
You should start plants indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date for transplanting them into the garden. Plant them outdoors 2-4 weeks after your last expected frost.
Plant your seeds 1/4-1/2 in. deep in soil trays or pots. Transfer them to 3-4 in. pots when their true leaves appear. When transplanting, bury seedlings up the stems up to their leaves.
Make sure that your soil is well fertilized as this crop is a heavy feeder and takes a lot of nutrients from the soil. Consider adding compost to the soil the year before you plant.
These plants prefer warm weather and soil so they should be grown when temperatures are over 68 degrees F. You should avoid watering them from above as damp leaves may be susceptible to disease.