Growing Cape Gooseberry, also Golden Berry, Inca Berry

Physalis peruviana : Solanaceae / the nightshade family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

(Best months for growing Cape Gooseberry in USA - Zone 5a regions)

  • S = Plant undercover in seed trays
  • T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings
  • P = Sow seed
  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 39 - 59 inches apart
  • Harvest in 14-16 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border but tends to sprawl over other plants.
  • Cape Gooseberry plant
  • Flowers
  • unripe fruit

A straggling bush up to one metre tall that bears yellow fruits inside a brown papery envelope. It is perennial. The cape gooseberry is related to tomatillo, ground cherry and husk tomato, all in the genus Physalis.

Cape Gooseberry is very easy to grow and as the fruit are popular with birds the plants can be easily spread around the garden. If you have plenty of room then plants grow better with 1.5 m of space. Spacing closer works but you may get less fruit.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cape Gooseberry

The berry is the size of a cherry tomato, is very aromatic and full of tiny seeds. They are delicious eaten fresh or can be made into jam. They can be added to salads, desserts and cooked dishes, they are delicious stewed with other fruit, especially apples. They also go well in savoury dishes with meat or seafood. Can be preserved dried as 'Inca Berries'

Your comments and tips

27 Sep 10, Don (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Can anyone offer advice on growing cape gooseberries on the Gulf Coast? I have seeds and I'm curious about when to plant them.
19 Nov 10, Liz (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Don, you should be able to grow cape gooseberries most of the year on the Gulf Coast. Frost or drought will affect them but otherwise they like warm, humid weather.
05 Dec 12, Deb Reid (Australia - temperate climate)
How you do eradicate the 3-lined Lema beetle which attacks the leaves and stresses the plant at all 3 stages of its life please?
10 Apr 13, Joanne (USA - Zone 8a climate)
Will gooseberries grow for me in the Sacramento valley of California? Would they prefer sun or shade? Thank you!
10 Nov 14, Anson (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Joanne, Cape gooseberries will thrive in the Sacramento Valley. They prefer full sun. -Anson
12 Apr 13, ROY BRYANT (USA - Zone 7a climate)
I am planting Cape Gooseberry plants in Central new Jersey, My question is: After growing all summer will they survive the winter?
10 Nov 14, Anson (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Roy, They will not survive the winter. Physalsis peruviana will die if the temperature falls below 30 degrees F. It roots easily from cuttings, though, which allows you to bring plants indoors for winter, and is easy to grow from seed. -Anson
24 Apr 13, Jennifer Sandler (USA - Zone 5a climate)
Can anyone tell me how and where I can get the Cape berries in the United states? Is it possible to buy the plant? Thanks, Jennifer
29 Jan 14, Christie (USA - Zone 6b climate)
You can get the package of dried ones at health food stores like natural grocers, whole foods, trader joes, etc and pick out the seeds (very easy to do as they are loaded with them) and plant them.
01 Jun 17, Mike (USA - Zone 9b climate)
I bought mine off of eBay. Just make sure you are buying from a seller with good reviews.
Showing 1 - 10 of 48 comments

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