Tomatoes and tobacco, belonging to the nightshade family, have an amazing perennial relative. This is a decorative physalis, decorating some summer cottages from autumn to spring. Its white flowers blooming in June are modest and invisible among the summer riot of colors. But bright orange fruit boxes, similar to Chinese lanterns, are striking from afar against the backdrop of an empty snow-covered garden. They are used to create incredibly beautiful decorative compositions.
General characteristics of the flower
Physalis, which means “bubble” in Greek, has over a hundred plant species distributed in the south of Europe, Asia (right up to Japan), in the tropics and subtropics of Central and southern North America. Among them, there are so-called strawberry and vegetable types of physalis with edible fruits. The first of these are undersized bushes humbled by fragrant small boxes of bright yellow color. Their relatives of the vegetable type have rather large tasty fruits of yellow, green or purple color.
As a rule, they do not tolerate wintering, because these are thermophilic plants. In their homeland, they were known long before Columbus.
Among the ancient Indians, who called delicious berries small tomatoes (tomato), they were much more popular in food than tomatoes.
The decorative look of physalis - physalis Franche - differs from other varieties of similar plants in picturesque clusters of bright bubbles. Their berries are not suitable for eating because of their bitter taste and unpleasant odor. In the frosty winter, the bitterness of the fruits is significantly reduced, however, it is not recommended to use them for food. Since these fruits are harmless, they can be successfully used as a food coloring.
Bouquets of bright fruit boxes of this type are indispensable when creating design projects, look great in photographs.
Growing and caring for plants
Decorative physalis is the most unpretentious type of plant. He tolerates even severe frost, feels great both in the sun and in the shaded area. But when planting in a well-lit place you can get especially large and bright plant specimens.
- Physalis seeds are sown at the height of winter in small containers, like tomatoes, providing their lighting and top dressing.
- Prevention of the appearance of fungus in the soil is carried out by dusting it with ash and sand.
- Physalis seedlings are planted on open ground near the end of spring.
- These plants do not like the areas where nightshade crops grew before them. They are very supportive of soils where legumes, cabbage, potatoes, and cucumbers were previously.
- Although physalis grows almost everywhere, but on pre-fertilized soil, its yield is especially good. To choose the right type and dose of fertilizing, we recommend that you read the article fertilizers: the effect on plants, soil, and humans. However, “acidic” soil needs liming before planting a given crop into it.
- In addition, physalis must be watered often, while avoiding stagnation of water in the ground. Only at the end of summer, in connection with the maturation of the boxes, watering the culture should be reduced.
- Tall bushes are best tied to preserve the beauty and harmony of the stem, necessary when creating various bouquets of them.
- To accelerate the maturation of the decorative part of plants at the end of summer, their tops should be nipped off.
Reproduction of the orange “Chinese lantern”
- The ground part of plants dies with the onset of cold weather. But the roots tolerate frosts well even up to thirty degrees. At the onset of spring, shoots appear from them. They should be planted.
- Propagation of the culture by cuttings is also practiced.
In addition, physalis bushes need rejuvenation every five years. In the spring, sprawling creeping rhizomes, dug up, divided into parts and transplanted to another garden.
- It is no secret that often these plants grow too much, conquering more and more new territories. They even have to be fenced with decorative fencing, plastic ribbons or slate.
Decorative compositions (photo)
Bright decorative flashlights should be pre-dried. This is completely uncomplicated.
And then from them you can create a wide variety of compositions:
- Bouquets of physalis in an openwork wooden vase look great. A pumpkin similar in color can be placed next to it, “reviving” it with glued eyes, a smiling mouth, etc.
- The bouquet can also be placed in a watering can of the same color without water.
- Bright flashlights can be poured into a large round and transparent container.
- By hanging several branches upside down on a wall and throwing a hat of a similar color on top of them, you can get a picture with a kind of long red braid.
- This decoration is very suitable for creating a variety of wreaths of both round and rectangular shapes. You can even use different frames for this. The resulting compositions look good on the wall and on the door.
- On New Year's Day, bright wreaths of physalis in combination with candles of the same color placed in low containers are very appropriate. You can also highlight them with bulbs.
- The branches of physalis in harmony with the needles, clusters of mountain ash and ears look harmonious. You can add to them various beads, multi-colored braided wire circles. All this goes well with curtains of autumn colors, draperies and various other decorative elements.
- Physalis can also be used to create a topiary.
Physalis in the garden
The benefits and harms of consuming physalis
Physalis is rich in vitamins and various trace elements. The properties of physalis and its effect on the human body are multifaceted.
- Saturating the body with useful substances, it is able to remove harmful components from it. For example, due to the potassium contained in the fruits, the body is cleansed of excess sodium, leading to edema.
- Physalis is widely known as a medicinal plant, contributing to the outflow of bile, with diuretic, hemostatic, analgesic properties. It is also used in the treatment of colds, coughs.
- Physalis berries are an invaluable tool that is used for many diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, cardiovascular problems, and female diseases; they help get rid of stones and prevent their formation.
- However, with increased acidity of gastric juice, berries should be used with caution. The shells of the fruits and leaves of the plant are poisonous, they can be used only as an external remedy, applied to wounds and bruises.
- Berries can in some cases cause allergies. They should not be used by pregnant and lactating women. Due to its strong diuretic properties, the administration of this drug should be carried out under the supervision of a specialist.
Physalis is the most valuable dietary, medicinal and decorative culture. It is difficult to list all its useful properties. No wonder he enjoyed such popularity among the ancient Mayans, Aztecs and Incas. It is easy to breed in the garden. It’s easy to care for him. This wonderful plant brings joy and decorates the house with its exquisite and bright boxes reminiscent of warm and sunny summer days.