I just came inside and scrubbed my hands after doing battle with some Japanese Lantern (Physalis capsicifolia, Physalis lanceifolia, or Physalis ramosissima for those of you who speak Latin to your plants).
Ye gods, but this stuff is invasive! It had been planted by the person who gardened here before DH & I bought this house, so it’s had about 2 years to establish itself. I THINK she put 1 plant in the ground, 6-8 inch pot probably.
I let it grow last year, my first in the house, because I was spending that year discovering what I had, what I wanted to move, and all that fun stuff.
It’s a viney-creepy plant, which grows about 3-4 feet tall and has little cream-colored flowers in the spring. In the summer it produces the fruit, a bright orange lantern shape (hence the name), which dry nicely.
Here’s the tricky bit: this stuff will take over your bed! When I saw how much more of it there was this year compared to last, I decided it had to go. It’s one of those plants which will break off just below the soil line if tugged on. When I started digging to see if I could get more of the root, I found out how it got so far so fast. It sends out running roots, which just seem to go on forever. I got one I swear was 8 feet long, and it broke off when it went under the cement pad for the hot tub.
My advice: If you fall in love with it at your nursery, plant it in pots on your patio, many feet away from any flowerbeds it might touch when it starts to creep. I certainly wouldn’t put it in the compost heap; just the idea gives me chills. I don’t know if the seeds will spread on the wind, maybe there’s a more experienced gardener here who knows?
Forewarned is forearmed!