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Ground Cherry — Aunt Molly's Heirloom

Physalis pruinosa. Sow Aunt Molly's ground cherry seeds in the spring for a big harvest of sweet ground cherries by late summer. The plants and fruits resemble tomatillos, with each fruit growing inside a papery husk called a calyx. But fruits mature to a golden orange colour, and drop to the ground when ripe. The sweet little fruits will store for up to three months if kept in their husks, but you’ll want to use them faster than that in jams, fruit salads, and sauces. Aunt Molly’s originated in Poland and are productive in coastal gardens.

Matures in 65-70 days (Open-pollinated seeds)

Quick Facts:

    • Sweet berries for preserves
    • Productive plants
    • Fruits keep for months
    • Open Pollinated seeds

Size: 0.1g (approx. 140 seeds)

Difficulty: Easy

Season: Warm season
Exposure: Full-sun
Start indoors in early spring with bottom heat, and transplant out in warm weather, once night time temperatures are consistently above 10°C (50°F).

Sow seeds 5mm-1cm (¼-½”) deep in individual pots or trays. Space transplants 45-60cm (18-24″) apart in rows 90-120cm (36-48″) apart.


Ideal pH: 6.5-7.0. Full sun and regular watering will keep the plants producing. Plants need support to keep drooping branches off the ground. Tomato cages work well. Tomatillos and ground cherries are good candidates for large containers. Be sure to pick the fruit before it drops.

For salsa verde, harvest tomatillos when they’re just starting to lighten up on the blossom end. But for fresh eating, the fruit is sweetest when it turns yellow and splits its husks, sometimes falling to the ground. For ground cherries, the fruit ripen from green to yellow-gold, and drop to the ground in their husks.

Seed Info
At least 75% of seeds will germinate in optimal conditions. Usual seed life: 3 years.


Rating: 4.4 stars out of 5 based on 13 reviews from 

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