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

09 Mar 24, Diane (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have been given some Cape Gooseberry seeds from and existing bush. I see that it is too late to sow these in March. Can these seeds be kept until August, or am I better to discard them and start again at sowing time.
02 Apr 24, Caity (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Diane they will be fine. Just store them dry cool and dark
15 Mar 24, Dave in California Zone 10A (USA - Zone 10a climate)
Diane, I keep seeds from a lot of the common vegetables I grow like spinach, peas, carrots, beans, tomatoes, corn, and such, but I have never grown Cape Gooseberry and do not know what the days for germination are supposed to be, but as general rule I would keep the seeds and maybe start them in trays or pots a few weeks before it's time to transplant them outside. That way you will see how many sprout and then decide if you need to get other seeds. All the seeds I save usually have very good germination rates for a minimum of a couple of years, and I have been getting good results from a lot of the seeds I saved from three and four years ago.
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
10 Feb 22, B Welch (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I plant the public road fences of my farm with various edibles. Our Cape Gooseberrys are dropping fruit on the ground, some of which I assume will grow. I intend to drill holes about 3m apart, 150mm deep, just to loosen the clay, then push a whole fruit in, and cover with 10mm of clay, hide it from birds etc. I know that sounds rough, but it's a lot of planting, so I'd like to keep it simple. what are my chances? What extra must I do? Slow release fert? Thanks B.
06 Mar 23, Kiwi Permaculture Beginner (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Just wondering if you tried your drill method for planting up your fences with cape gooseberry (or anything else for that matter) & what your results have been like?
17 Feb 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
Clay soil is a massive topic, I suggest you read a few articles - here is a very positive one: -- like the article states your soil is probably loaded with nutrition, water is the real issue; the way clay soil gets water logged and heavy. The standard rule of thumb with clay soil is: load it up with organic matter (manure, leaves, kitchen compost, etc.). You can just LAYER these on the soil. Additionally, choosing plants that tolerate/like clay soil -- I think the hardy kiwi can tolerate this soil as well as American Persimmon, osage oranges and lots of other plants. They have online plant finders that can help you isolate which plants have the highest probability of success. One thing I did notice when working with heavy clay soils was that plants take a lot longer to establish and grow. I suspect I wouldn't make the effort to plant anything other than plants that are specifically listed as clay tolerant -- you have to go right down to the type of plant: for example: OSAGE oranges not just any oranges .... but maybe all oranges can tolerate clay... you need to check by the type.
11 Feb 22, Anonymous of Bundaberg (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
You need better soil than clay. It is like anything, the better the preparation the better the result. A shovel load of good soil will have better results.
19 Dec 21, Brigitte (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a Cape Goose Berry in a very large pot. Plant growing well but some leaves have white spots on them, it is not powdery mildew. Randomly spaced over leaf, underside of spot under leaf is yellow, it looks slightly like it has been eaten but no holes and for life of me cannot find an insect/bug.
Showing 1 - 10 of 31 comments

Ask a question or post a comment or advice about Cape Gooseberry

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put GardenGrow in your pocket. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 60,000+ gardeners who already use GardenGrow and subscribe to the free GardenGrow planting reminders email newsletter.

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About GardenGrow | Contact us | Privacy Policy

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.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.