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PlantFiles: Jerusalem Cherry, Winter Cherry, Madeira Winter Cherry
Solanum pseudocapsicum

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Solanum (so-LAN-num) (Info)
Species: pseudocapsicum (soo-doh-KAP-sih-kum) (Info)

2 vendors have this plant for sale.

13 members have or want this plant for trade.

Tropicals and Tender Perennials

18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 °C (25 °F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 °C (30 °F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 °C (35 °F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 °C (40 °F)

Sun Exposure:
Sun to Partial Shade
Light Shade

Seed is poisonous if ingested
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:
White/Near White

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Soil pH requirements:
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
From seed; sow indoors before last frost
From seed; direct sow after last frost
From seed; germinate in a damp paper towel

Seed Collecting:
Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds
Remove fleshy coating on seeds before storing
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

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By piedmthq
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By piedmthq
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There are a total of 16 photos.
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10 positives
2 neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral AmandaEsq On May 14, 2013, AmandaEsq from Greensboro, NC (Zone 7b) wrote:

A neighbor has this in her front yard. Although it is not supposed to be hardy in our zone, hers comes back. Perhaps the large quartz stones around the bed help to retain heat.

Neutral stephenp On Jul 12, 2012, stephenp from Wirral, UK, Zone 9a
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

Hard to say anything much about this plant yet, although I've had this in the ground since last summer, it's started to flower again so it must be liking the position.

It is an evergreen shrub with small leaves, and white flowers, followed by small tomato like fruits.. although they are poisonous so best not to let children get hold of them. The flowers are unusual for the Solanum plant, as they look more like miniature citrus flowers rather than the typical Solanum flower look.

Positive Buzzdog On Oct 9, 2008, Buzzdog from Sevierville, TN (Zone 6b) wrote:

Growing up in Georgia, my mother had a Jerusalem Cherry in our backyard. I now have that plant here in eastern Tennessee and it is doing well. Mine is a small plant and doesn't poke up out of the ground until late May. I leave it in the ground through the winter with mulch over it. I have never tried to propagate it with its seeds, but that might be fun to try. I saw a potted Jerusalem cherry at a local nursery for $14.95. That's the first time I have seen it in a nursery. I thought it only came from Mamas' yards!


Positive Sansevieria On Feb 29, 2008, Sansevieria from Orangeburg, NY (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have a Jerusalem Cherry for many years. Its easy to grow outdoors, but will need a bright cool room during winter time (NorthEast, USA).

This plant is an old time favorite and has been in cultivation for 100's of years... Solanum Pseudocapsicum..

Positive dave3877 On Jul 13, 2007, dave3877 from Crockett, TX wrote:

i dont know how many varieties there are but i have one plant whose fruits are smaller(1/2 average-9/16 max) and one larger that makes 3/4 fruit. i have had them planted in the soil (south side of the house) and the stay green year round.

Positive daisy510 On Apr 29, 2005, daisy510 from Vidalia, GA wrote:

My Mother(now in a nursing facility) had this plant which was in a pot on her porch. It received morning sun and was shaded during the heat of the day. It is left outside during our winters(Georgia) but covered when temperatures drop.I moved back to my home town in '94 and into my Mothers house. I have taken care of this plant since that time. I find that some of the instructions on the care of this plant are not anything as I have done. It is not an annual as this plant I have is 11 years of age and perhaps older. I cut it back this year '05 after I failed to cover it when we had 20 degree temperature.It has come back full and already blossoming. I think-not sure- that this one is maybe the Jubilee Cherry. I had no idea it was poisonus.I gave one to my son who is an avid gardner and has a dog and young child.A friend of mine is how I gained the knowledge of the name of the plant. I have cats and all this time I have not lost a cat due to the plant-as I know-I separated the plant and repotted it atleast twice. It is growing well. I do not fertilize it often.If any one has any more information I would like to hear from them.

Positive JerusalemCherry On Dec 10, 2004, JerusalemCherry from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

This Striking plant was often used to brighten up your home during the holiday season. This plant is a perennial shrub from South America. The Jerusalem Cherry comes decorated with large, bright orange/red balls that resemble shiny Christmas ornaments. The fruits are mildly poisonous & should be kept out of reach from small children.

When the Jerusalem Cherry is full of fruit, it really stands out. I get many complements on mine when in fruit. Many people assume that the Jerusalem Cherry, is a “Cherry Tomato” bush as the fruits look similar. Normally, the Jerusalem Cherry fruits are more orange in color than a tomato plant’s red fruits. Plus a Jerusalem Cherry is a bush/shrub, as cherry tomatoes are more of a vine plant. A very ornamental type of Jerusalem Cherry is called “Cherry Jubilee”. This plant has deep green leaves & becomes densely covered with fruit. This variety of Jerusalem Cherry is truly decorative. Last I checked, a company called is the only place I have ever seen these type of seeds sold at.

The Jerusalem Cherry has been grown for many many years. I read a book that had diary entries from the 1800’s. The book mentions that someone acquired several Jerusalem Cherry seeds & was told they were very beautiful. The entree was from April 21st, 1808. With that being said, the Jerusalem Cherry has been a favorite for a long time.

Lastly, after the Jerusalem Cherry plants fruits have fallen, let this plant rest near a bright window for the winter months. Once spring arrives, cut plant back (approx half way). Place outdoors & you will have a healthy bushy plant with new cherries by midsummer to late summer. The Jerusalem Cherry can be kept year after year if treated in this manner.

Positive Abrigman On Nov 1, 2004, Abrigman from Huntsville, AL wrote:

I have had this plant for years. It has grown under some trees and reseeds it self. I am constantly taking up the new plants and setting them out in another location that is in partial shade. I have had very good luck with this plant and share it with all that would like to have it. I also have a large pot that is in a sunny location, but try to bring the pot in for the winter. If I just leave it in a detached garage it sometimes freezed, but there are always enough seed that have fallen and it will grow new plants for the next season.

Positive CatskillKarma On Sep 17, 2004, CatskillKarma from West Kill, NY wrote:

I don't recall seeing them in the 70s, but did know them earlier. When I was a child in the late 50s and early 60s, we always made a special pilgrimage to a nursery in West Redding, CT to get these to serve as our Christmas plant. My mother thought they were much nicer than poinsettias. They were not uncommon then. Jewish friends in NY referred to them as Hanukah bushes, and they were presumably available from florists in the city. Ours were kept as seasonal houseplants, and always came loaded with decorative fruit around the first week of December, but were abandonned in January..

Positive piedmthq On Sep 16, 2004, piedmthq from Dunellen, NJ (Zone 6b) wrote:

The Jerusalem Cherry has a few different names, (i.e. Winter Cherry, Christmas Cherry, Madeira Cherry, Cleveland Cherry, and Coral Bush. In French its called, Cerisier de Jerusalem, which means Cherry Tree of Jerusalem. I read on a Japanese website, that this plant came over to that country during the Meiji era (1867/68) & it is sometimes called (The ball of the dragon). I have seen these names listed for this plant, in old houseplant books and on the internet.

There are two different types (species) of the Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum Pseudocapsicum) and (Solanum Capsicastrum). Very often, they are confused for each other because they basically look the same, especially in cultivation with the many varieties available today. Most flower shops etc, do not label the particular species/variety when you purchase it. The Pseudo-capsicum is normally a larger plant, while the capsicastrum is more compact. But I have seen dwarf varieties of the Pseudo-capsicum. Also there is a Variegated Jerusalem Cherry (Solanum Capsicastrum Variegatum).

This plant dates back to the 1600's & is native to Brazil, & Uruguay area (I did read on a russian website, that this plant was in cultivation back in 1596). A very early account of this plant, is in a book called, Stirpium Historiae Pemptades, revised edition of the year 1616, by Dutch botanist Rembert Dodoens. Quoted by Linnaeus at a later date, Dodoens describes the plant, speaks of its cultivation, explains its cultivation, explains its name etc. He also mentions that Pseudocapsicum gets its name from its likeness to Capsicum. Books I have read, say the JC plant was a very popular Christmas plant during the Victorian era. You also see this plant in many old house plant books from the 50's 60's & 70's. Today (as of 09-28-04) , the plant is still sold in large numbers, but many places (i.e. Home Depot etc) carry pepper plants instead. Ornamental peppers are easier to grow then the JC plant & ornamental peppers are not poisonous. As a side note, I have seen a P.A. Home Depot carry this plant at XMAS time. The Jerusalem Cherry's berries are mildly poisonous, it would be best to keep them away from small children & pets. This South American plant's name derives from its colorful berries. The names Jerusalem Cherry, Christmas Cherry, Winter Cherry, Coral Bush, etc are all associated with this plant, because the plant is usually offered during the Christmas/Holiday season. Many tropical plants have Christmas in their common names. Either because they bloom at the right time to be associated with the holiday, or they carry the Christmas colors as we see in the Jerusalem Cherry. The name "Jerusalem" in general has been given to many plants, i.e Jerusalem sage,artichoke,oak etc. Another source that I have read, an expert on plant names, said the word Jerusalem, as in other plant names, is to stand for as a vague name for a distant foreign country.

The care for this plant is pretty straight forward (this is based on living in the north east of the USA). The JC plant needs bright light & a cool room (around 60f) during the fall/winter months. From Nov-May while plant is indoors do not fertilize. In the spring, before I put this plant outdoors, I cut it back almost halfway & then bring it out for the spring/summer. The JC Plant needs to be outside in order for the flowers to be pollinated. Give your JC plant Tomato Fertilizer or any 20-20-20 Fertilizer from late Apr-Oct. Water the plant well, when the soil starts to slightly dry water well again. The JC plant likes full sun. Some books claim this plant is an annual & to discard after fruiting, but this is wrong. The JC plant is a perennial & can be kept for many years, I have one since 1992. Just watch for whiteflies, they sometimes attack this plant.

The Jerusalem Cherry is deservedly a popular Holiday Plant. There are several named varieties of the Jerusalem Cherry. The varieties/hybrids differ in plant size, berry size, berry color, and variegated forms..... NEW PATTERSON.. standered JC plant sold, green leaves, berries are green & turn orange/redish... CHERRY RIPE..This JC plant has bright red berries... JOKER..This dwarf early selection with yellow 1/2" berries which turn orange & red, held above the glossy dark green foliage. White 1/2" flowers. ..... FANCY..This is a small variety.. SNOWFIRE...This has white berries, that turn red.. CHERRY JUBILEE...This has white berries, yellow, then red berries... a small form with pale green fruit that ripens to deep orange... RED GIANT...This has large berries (looks allot like cherry tomatoes) SNOWSTORM...This is the variegated Jerusalem Cherry.. BALLAD..This is a small variety with whitish green berries, that turn red... CAPITAL...This has green berries that turn red. Finally, HOLIDAY CHEER... This has Green berries that turn creamy yellow then orange/scarlet. Its a great plant to own, and from my experience, most people love it.

Positive Hagarohio On Jun 20, 2004, Hagarohio from Ironton, OH wrote:

I have had Jerusalem Cherrys for years. Beautiful plant with bright red fruit. My first one was at least ten years old and doing very well. One day it looks bad the next day it was dead, I have no idea what happened. My current on is about six years old and always loaded with cherrys. It winters in the garage in a south window and then back to the south porch for the summer. I'll try to load a picture someday after the cherrys have come on. I love my cherry tree.

Positive Azalea On Dec 7, 2002, Azalea from Jonesboro, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

A fairly compact plant with attractive white star type 3/4" blooms in late spring and early summer. The fruit is round 3/4" orange to red "cherries" that are said to be toxic. There are many seeds within the fruit which ripens in late summer to fall. When I received this plant, I was told it was not hardy here in zone 7b, but I have left it outside the past 4 years, it is evergreen with woody stems. The leaves are about 3" long and 1/2' wide, stay fairly dark green.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama
Brentwood, California
Clayton, California
Clovis, California
Fairfield, California
Sacramento, California
South Yuba City, California
Deland, Florida
Jonesboro, Georgia
Western Springs, Illinois
Barbourville, Kentucky
Lafayette, Louisiana
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Mathiston, Mississippi
Dunellen, New Jersey
Morristown, New Jersey
Piscataway, New Jersey
Brooklyn, New York
Orangeburg, New York
Denver, North Carolina
Ellenboro, North Carolina
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Cheshire, Oregon
Feasterville Trevose, Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Easley, South Carolina
Sevierville, Tennessee
Crockett, Texas
Desoto, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Sugar Land, Texas
Weslaco, Texas

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