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
                  P P P

(Best months for growing Cape Gooseberry in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

  • 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

01 Nov 23, Annie (Australia - temperate climate)
I'd like to buy inca berry/ cape gooseberry plants or seeds. Does anyone have some for sale? In Gippsland. TIA
22 Nov 23, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Try the internet seed selling sites.
09 Oct 23, Rowan (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I have a problem with my Cape gooseberries that I have been growing from self seeded plants for several years. The fruit is developing in the shell and can be felt with light pressure to be about pea size. But suddenly the fruit disappears. The shells are still there, green and appear undisturbed i.e no grub or bird holes , but the fruit has gone. It does not appear to be birds as i have netted the plants. I have sprayed the plants with eco oil and there is no obvious sign of insect activity. there has been some nibling of the plants not covered by the nets, probably possums, but no sign of their activity under the nets. Any suggestions?
02 Sep 23, William (USA - Zone 6b climate)
Can you grow cape gooseberries in hardiness zone 6b? Me and my mom want to grow it in our garden next year but i need to do research on them to know.
15 Apr 23, Annabelle (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have grown tomatillos for several years -they usually grow from self seeding. This season, very strangely a whole lot of seedlings self grew but they have turned into what looks like Cape gooseberries - which I have never grown in my garden at all.. they have the cases and are yellow and small. I am very confused.( I also am harvesting tomatillos at the moment from self seeded plants. Definitely different plants.) Is there some sort of regressive hybrid or genetic weirdness going on here?
14 Jan 23, Sherin Reilly (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My cape gooseberries are growing either outside the pod or the pod isn't fully formed. Is this a problem and can it be fixed. Thanknyou
28 Feb 23, Stacey (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi just wondering if you found the cause of this as I am having the same issue Thanks
03 Dec 22, Tammy r (USA - Zone 7b climate)
Can these be perennial in zone 7? If I keep them out all winter and will they grow back next spring? I hear they are perenial but not sure about growing them in my zone.
31 Oct 22, Jo-Anne Rossouw (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
Planted seeds from Cape gooseberries which grew immediately. Now it looks like long spear zigzac on sides leaves and have clusters of red dots all over. What is that? Leaves are also turning redish on the ends. Is something wrong? Is it even gooseberries or am i pampering weeds?? Not sure about the red cluster of dots.
09 Nov 22, Aleta Baron (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
This year I sowed mine in pots. Last summer was too cold. My thinking is it is too cold yet with the red on leaves. Sow in pots and you will know exactly.
Showing 1 - 10 of 551 comments

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