Solanum Species, Jerusalem Cherry, Madeira Winter Cherry, 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)


Tropicals and Tender Perennials

Water Requirements:

Average Water Needs; Water regularly; do not overwater

Sun Exposure:

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade




Foliage Color:



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)

Where to Grow:

Suitable for growing in containers


Seed is poisonous if ingested

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Spring/Early Summer

Other details:

Unknown - Tell us

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama

Brentwood, California

Clayton, California

Clovis, California

Fairfield, California

Sacramento, California

South Yuba City, California

Tierra Buena, California

Deland, Florida

Niceville, Florida

Jonesboro, Georgia

Western Springs, Illinois

Barbourville, Kentucky

Hopkinsville, Kentucky

Lafayette, Louisiana

Thibodaux, Louisiana

Mathiston, Mississippi

Dunellen, New Jersey

Morristown, New Jersey

Piscataway, New Jersey

Brooklyn, New York

Orangeburg, New York

Cary, North Carolina

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

Houston, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Sugar Land, Texas

Weslaco, Texas

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 19, 2021, Shellybake from Houston, TX wrote:

I grew one of these plants back in 1975 from a "cherry" a friend gave me. I was a novice gardener, but loved plants and had some success with ficus decora (rubber trees) and philodendron. At the time, I lived in a farm house in the boonies of Iowa, with my new baby girl and husband. When the cherry sprouted, there were about 100 plants coming from one hole in a 4x4 pot! I had just gotten a grow light seed-starter set, and was experimenting with a lot of different seeds. I did my best to separate a few into several different pots. Eventually, I did get one plant to survive. It lived in a 10-inch pot, and grew into a gorgeous, perfectly formed mini tree about 3 feet tall. The cherries started as green changed to yellow, then orange, finally they would turn a dark red color before they fell t... read more


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.


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.


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!



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..


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.


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 ... read more


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... read more


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.


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..


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 particul... read more


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.


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.