Has anyone grown chinese lantern? I am in zone 8/9 borderline (coastal GA). I have a packet of seeds, but can't figure out if I should plant in spring for summer blooming (it gets up to low 100's here and very humid). or in fall for winter blooming or what?
Do you know which Chinese lantern you have? There are a few completely unrelated plants that go by that name, so without knowing which one you have it's hard to provide advice. Here are the plants I know of that go by that name, but there may be others:
Abutilon megapotamicum: http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/59666/
Hibiscus schizopetalus http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/790/
Physalis alkekengi http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/1894/
I've found Physalis alkekengi to be not so much invasive, as INSISTENT. It will grow without any special care, but you'd need to weed out any "usurpers" who clamber over the garden barrier or bed. Only as invasive as, say, peppermint. And in their way, just as useful for their hardiness. Since they spread by root in the same way as mints tend to, it's easy to stop their progress with a flagstone. I like them for the fact that they add color to the garden when everything else has bloomed out. And the orange pods dry down nicely, keep their color over winter if you bring them inside. Don't know if that's your aim, but I've had mine for nearly a decade. And I've only had to push them back twice.
Physalis will take a lot of heat and moisture, but perhaps you're wise to be prudent about them. Your zone, and conditions, could make maintenance more intensive than mine has been.
But whatever you choose, may the coming year bring you greening promise, and joy.
Here in UK these are very invasive, I grew mine from seed, very easy and planted out several small seedlings, the first year was wonderful and in winter the flowers turned papery looking like lovely little lanterns, but within 2 years, this plant had spread over half the bed they were in and their spreading roots were entwined under / over my Peonies, Lu pins, Delphiniums etc that had to be lifted put the ground to get rid of those Chinese Lanterns, so like the spreading mint plant, IF you really like those plants, grow them in a large pot and sink the pot into the soil so the roots are contained within the pot, after several years you can lift the pot, reduce the plants by splitting up and replant the pot again, much safer, much less trouble and you can still enjoy the lovely orange lanterns in summer before they fade in winter.
Good Luck, WeeNel.
...a great solution, planting out the Physalis in a container. I've done that with my Comfrey, and thus far it's worked...I just have to pull out a few strays from time to time as they seed themselves out. And that's when I make my medicine from them, or add them to the compost for their contribution.
It's good to have the measured advice of experience.
Thanks Beverly for your input, there are a few lovely plants that I love but because they are invasive, spreading by those underground root runners, I still grow them encased in containers and enjoy there beauty etc but manage to keep the plants from taking over. Ofcource, it takes a kind of idiot moment of seed planting before you realise the mistake and it takes ages to rectify the mistake made, but that's gardening and how you learn eh !!!
We have to learn from the good things but most important how not to repeat the easy mistakes as we start on the gardening journey.
Have a great gardening year and just enjoy. WeeNel.