How to Propagate a Chinese Lantern


Chinese lantern plants, or physalis, are among the few plants a gardener can grow that is actually more attractive to them when dead than when alive. The Chinese lantern flower produces a seed pod that looks very much like a Chinese lantern and makes an attractive addition to a dried floral arrangement. This plant is propagated easily by seed in the spring or summer.

Step 1

Choose a location in your garden that gets direct sun or partial shade.

Step 2

Dig into the soil 6 inches, turning it and crushing any large clods of dirt. Remove any old roots and other debris.

Step 3

Lay down a 2-inch layer of compost and mix it well using the gardening fork with the existing soil. Level the soil and water well. Allow the soil to drain completely.

Step 4

Sow the seeds on the planting bed and cover lightly with soil.

Step 5

Water, using a fine mist setting, to maintain a moist soil. The seeds should germinate within two to four weeks.

Step 6

Thin the Chinese lantern plants to 2 feet apart.

Step 7

Fertilize the Chinese lantern plant, once established, with an all-purpose fertilizer once a month.

Tips and Warnings

  • The Chinese lantern is a member of the nightshade family and the leaves and berries are poisonous.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel
  • Gardening fork
  • Compost
  • Water
  • Fertilizer, all-purpose


  • University of Minnesota: Physalis: Chinese-Lantern, Tomatillo and Husk-Tomato or Ground-Cherry
Keywords: how to propagate a chinese lantern, growing chinese lantern, growing plants to dry for arrangements

About this Author

Victoria Hunter, a former broadcaster and real estate agent, has provided audio and written services to both small businesses and large corporations. Hunter is a freelance writer specializing in the real estate industry. She devotes her spare time to her other passions: gardening and cooking. Hunter holds a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing.