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Best of the Bunch.

PHYSALIS (CHINESE LANTERN) THESE unusual perennials, with their golden papery lantern-like seedheads around the edible fruits, come into their own in the autumn.

The eye-catching lanterns are also great for cutting and using as dried-plant material for winter flower arrangements, by cutting the fruiting stems as the lanterns turn in colour and hanging them upside down in an airing cupboard to dry.

They do flower in summer, although the white blooms, which look a bit like potato flowers, are insignificant. It's best to grow physalis away from other plants as their underground stems are pretty invasive.

They will grow in virtually any soil in sun or shade, but put them in shade, dry areas under trees and shrubs where little else will grow, rather than in borders with other plants.

If you do plant them with other plants, cut around the crown with a spade each autumn, to stop them taking over.

The most popular variety is P. alkekengi Franchetii, while named varieties such as Gigantea are harder to find.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Sep 8, 2012
Previous Article:TODAY'S " QUOTES".
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