Nicandra Species, Apple of Peru, Shoofly Plant, Snake Tomato

Nicandra physalodes

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Nicandra (nee-KAN-druh) (Info)
Species: physalodes (fy-sal-OY-deez) (Info)



Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun



Good Fall Color

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


12-15 in. (30-38 cm)


Not Applicable

Where to Grow:

Can be grown as an annual

Suitable for growing in containers


All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:

Flowers are good for drying and preserving

Bloom Size:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Time:

Late Summer/Early Fall

Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

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

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Seed Collecting:

Allow pods to dry on plant; break open to collect seeds


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

Ester, Alaska

Seward, Alaska

Calistoga, California

Fremont, California

Menifee, California

Novato, California

Oakland, California

San Francisco, California

Torrance, California

Tulare, California

Denver, Colorado

Zephyrhills, Florida

Blairsville, Georgia

Rincon, Georgia

Boone, Iowa

Creston, Iowa

Ewing, Kentucky

West Monroe, Louisiana

Marquette, Michigan

Warren, Michigan

Neptune, New Jersey

Averill Park, New York

Alexander, North Carolina

Bismarck, North Dakota

Columbia Station, Ohio

Dover, Ohio

Williamsburg, Ohio

Brookings, Oregon

Harbor, Oregon

San Antonio, Texas

Kalama, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Jun 5, 2013, Dean48089 from Warren, MI (Zone 6b) wrote:

I like this plant very much and always have a few around. Yes, it reseeds but nowhere the extent of things like Sweet Annie or ragweed. Shoo-Fly doesn't make extensive roots so weeding out unwanted plants is easy.

In my experience I get better blooms from plants that are grown 'hard.' Plants in beds or planters where they get regular watering and/or fertilizer tend to get big and bushy without a lot of flowers.


On Apr 21, 2013, ransom3 from Zephyrhills, FL wrote:

Very pretty plant. I am growing the variegated leaf variety known as Splash.


On Apr 20, 2013, RosinaBloom from Waihi,
New Zealand (Zone 1) wrote:

'Apple of Peru' has caught my attention because it has suddenly appeared out of the blue in the garden under the bird bath. So guess where the seeds came from! There are twelve small plants so far looking very healthy well into our autumn. Not knowing what they were at first, I thought I'd let them grow to see what they turned into, and am pleasantly surprised with the lovely little blue flower on one of the plants. Looking forward to watching their growth.


On Oct 27, 2012, cinemike from CREZIERES,
France (Zone 8a) wrote:

I was surprised by how large and bushy this plant became in just a few weeks from a scrawny seedling to - for an annual - a monster.
This seems, perhaps best regarded as a foliage plant, as, compared with the leaves, the flowers are small and not very striking. I was rather disappointed in this regard.
It's only invasive if you let it go to seed...


On Mar 18, 2010, jq from White Lake, MI wrote:

Do not even think of cultivating this horrible invasive!!

People have no idea how detrimental this plant is to field crops, especially soybeans. Herbicides used to control noxious weeds in crops have virtually no effect on Apple of Peru and this plant is host to a cucumber disease. Consider all the wildlife and people who may spread these seeds on their paws and shoes. . . from your home to food crops. Once established, this prolific seeder is nearly impossible to control and leaves thousands of seeds in the soil bank. If you value your future sources of grain products, eliminate this invasive species immediately from your garden.


On Aug 7, 2002, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

I just love this plant. It is bushy with large well-formed leaves, and the blooms are a lovely lavender shade. As the season progresses, the stems and pods become burnished with a deep maroon.


On Aug 4, 2001, mystic from Ewing, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Large,upright hardy annual herb;leaves alternate,simple, irregularly toothed on the margin;flowers axillary, nodding,short bell-shaped,pale blue;fruit a dry berry enclosed by an enlarged,papery calyx. Blooms in late summer and early autumn.Flowers last only a day but appear in succession.Green fruits follows the blooms.Self seeds.The branches with the berries can be dried for use in arrangements.