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How to Propagate a Chinese Lantern

By Bridget Kelly ; Updated September 21, 2017

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.


Things You Will Need

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


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

About the Author


Based in the American Southwest, Bridget Kelly has been writing about gardening and real estate since 2005. Her articles have appeared at Trulia.com, SFGate.com, GardenGuides.com, RE/MAX.com, MarketLeader.com, RealEstate.com, USAToday.com and in "Chicago Agent" magazine, to name a few. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English with a concentration in creative writing.