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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.

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

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

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.

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

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

Thin the Chinese lantern plants to 2 feet apart.

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

Propagate A Chinese Lantern

With their bright red, papery husks that take the place of tiny, white flowers, Chinese Lanterns are interesting and easy-to-grow plants that will provide a bright spot in the landscape. Chinese lanterns are often dried and used in flower arrangements or wreaths, where they will maintain their bright, orange-red color for weeks. Water the Chinese lantern the evening before you take a morning cutting from the plant. Cut the shoot just below a leaf or bud and make sure the cutting has at least two or three sets of leaves. Put the cuttings in a picnic cooler with several damp paper towels and set them in the shade until you're ready to root them. Fill a shallow container with a mixture of half commercial potting mix and half perlite. Set the planting container in a plate of water and let it wick up moisture until the soil is damp, then poke a hole in the potting mixture with a small stick. Continue to keep the soil moist.


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

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