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Growing Ground Cherry

Growing Ground Cherry

Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry


Productive, heat tolerant plants with small, round fruit surrounded by papery husks. Fruit has a mildly sweet, acidic flavor and is eaten raw, frozen, canned, in jams, and in desserts. Start seed indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost in spring and cover seed with ¼ inch of soil. Prefers warm temperatures for germination and is somewhat slow to sprout. Transplant after the danger of frost has passed and space plants 24 to 30 inches apart with rows 3 feet apart. As the fruit ripens the husks turn brown, and fruit drops from plants when fully ripe. A good plant for containers. 


Low-maintenance plants for full sun in well-drained soil. Tolerates low-fertility conditions. Mulching makes harvesting fallen fruit easier.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Use full rates of Algoflash All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer 6-6-6 (51085), Nature's Source Plant Food Concentrate 10-4-3 (51012), or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 (51221).

Alternative Products

Tomatillo is a similar plant that produces fruit in husks. Ground Cherry is related to Tomato and Pepper.

Complimentary Products

A moderate feeder that benefits from occasional fertilization. Use Planters Paper (50' x 24") (53332) or Weed Control Porous Film Mulch 3' x 50' (53304) to control weeds and make harvesting fruit easy.

Product Recommendations

Use 70% Neem Oil (50340) to control insect pests.

Ground Cherry Facts

Usually not bothered by pests or diseases. Flea beetles and whiteflies are occasional problems. Also known as Husk Cherry and Strawberry Tomato. Only the ripe fruit should be eaten, as other parts of the plant are mildly toxic.

Growing Tips