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Growing Cape Gooseberry, also Golden Berry, Inca Berry

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: 20 inches apart
  • Harvest in 14-16 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border
  • Cape Gooseberry plant
    Cape Gooseberry plant
  • Flowers
    Flowers
  • unripe fruit
    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.

The Cape Gooseberry is very easy to grow and as the fruit are popular with birds and plants can be easily spread around the garden.

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.

Your comments and tips

16 Jul 17, Elisha (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
I have recently acquired several very healthy cape gooseberry plants that were grown about 40mins drive away. However our weather is much harsher (cold and snow several times a year). Do they stand a chance out in the weather or should I find a home for them in the greenhouse?
17 Jul 17, Chris (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
They're frost sensitive and will die over winter unless you keep them in a greenhouse.
06 Jul 17, GARY THOMPSON (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
are gooseberry seeds for sale available, or can one simply re-plant a ripe fruit to restart new seedlings? I just happen to have discovered a few plants on the property I'm currently renting.
04 Jul 17, Bea (Canada - Zone 6b Temperate Warm Summer climate)
I've been growing ground cherries for a few years in Halifax. I bought the seed from Annapolis Seed. It is a milder, paler version of cape goose berries. They are good but not as tasty as CGBs. It grows in a husk exacty as CGB but the fruit is very pale, not at all orange like CGB. This past winter I bought some CGB fruit from Pete's fruitique and kept the seed from one berry. It germinated and grew VERY well. Today, July 3, I have a ground cherry and cape gooseberry growing in pots side by side. The CGB has darker green leaves and is a larger plant. The ground cherry has lots of flowers and a few emerging husks. Haven't noticed flowers on the CGB yet. Keeping my fingers crossed they will appear soon and bear lots of fruit. As far as I'm aware, both of these plants are annuals, not perrenial. As is the Sunberry (called Wonderberry in UK). I got this seed from Annapolis Seed too. My first time growing it, but supposed to be similar to blueberries. The plant is only about a foot tall but bushy with lots and lots of flowers.
28 Jun 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
Growing up during the Forties gooseberries along with tomatoes grew wild in scrub country just off the road near our town. Did not seem to have pests in those days. My mother used to make jam and gooseberry pie. The pie was my favourite, absolutely delicious. I am having another go at growing again with one plant in the ground and another in a pot. Will have to protect from frosts and insects.
17 Jun 17, Colleen (South Africa - Semi-arid climate)
We have a healthy plant with loads of fruit which never ripen. In a planter that gets afternoon Sun. Why do you think the fruit doesn't get ripe ?
10 Jun 17, James (Canada - Zone 5a Temperate Warm Summer climate)
Very curious about these. I had an apartment in New Brunswick and I am absolutely sure that these were growing behind the building in an unkept grassy area. I did not know what they were at the time. A large patch of them appeared every spring and they grew very short, only about a foot or two high. They bore a lot of fruit. In the winter they were covered with snow and ice. They still came back every year. I think this is evidence that gooseberries will grow in Canada as a perennial without any special tending. I purchased some gooseberries at a grocery store awhile back. In late March, I took some of the seeds and planted them in pots. I now have a 2 foot high plant that will be planted in my garden in a few days (June). Of course, these fruit were imported from Peru and might not like the climate. Maybe this fall I will go pick some of the variety growing behind my old apartment!
10 Jun 17, James (Canada - Zone 5a Temperate Warm Summer climate)
After further research I have found that the husked plants I saw were "ground cherries" a close relative of the cape gooseberry that grows natively in Canada! The cultivated variety is "Aunt Mollys" and you can buy seeds from Veseys. Wild ones are considered a weed/pest by farmers. I have also read that if you eat them before ripe, they are poisonous.
03 Jun 17, dogs1 (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My gooseberry bushes are growing thick and with vigour The green envelopes some with no fruit or with small specks or green undeveloped fruit inside.What am i doing wrong.Ample water. could there be too much Raised garden bed.disapointment !
09 Jun 17, Ken (Australia - temperate climate)
Undeveloped fruit is normally an indication of lack of pollination which is an increasing problem. Perhaps include as many flowering 'daisy' type plants to encourage bees and other pollinating insects.
Showing 1 - 10 of 321 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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