Days to Germination: 20-25 days
Physalis alkekengi var. franchetti. Direct-sow outside after the last spring frost date. Prepare a bed in full to partial sunlight with well-draining soil. Sow seeds on top of soil, leaving the seeds uncovered but pressed firmly onto the soil surface, as light aids germination. Chinese Lanterns may also be started indoors 8 to 10 weeks before transplanting out after the threat of frost has passed. Provide even moisture, strong light and air circulation. Harden off the seedlings by gradually acclimating them outside for a week to 10 days before transplanting out. Hardy to zone 3, this perennial can be invasive: plant it in a dedicated spot or grow it in containers. This Tomatillo relative is prized for its bright orange pods that are wonderful in fall bouquets, fresh or dried. Late summer to fall flowering. Height: 12" to 18".