Growing Cape Gooseberry, also Golden Berry, Inca Berry

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                  P P P

(Best months for growing Cape Gooseberry in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 50°F and 77°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 39 - 59 inches apart
  • Harvest in 14-16 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border but tends to sprawl over other plants.
  • Cape Gooseberry plant
  • Flowers
  • unripe fruit

A straggling bush up to one metre tall that bears yellow fruits inside a brown papery envelope. It is perennial. The cape gooseberry is related to tomatillo, ground cherry and husk tomato, all in the genus Physalis.

Cape Gooseberry is very easy to grow and as the fruit are popular with birds the plants can be easily spread around the garden. If you have plenty of room then plants grow better with 1.5m of space. Spacing closer works but you may get less fruit.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Cape Gooseberry

The berry is the size of a cherry tomato, is very aromatic and full of tiny seeds. They are delicious eaten fresh or can be made into jam. They can be added to salads, desserts and cooked dishes, they are delicious stewed with other fruit, especially apples. They also go well in savoury dishes with meat or seafood. Can be preserved dried as 'Inca Berries'

Your comments and tips

10 Feb 22, B Welch (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I plant the public road fences of my farm with various edibles. Our Cape Gooseberrys are dropping fruit on the ground, some of which I assume will grow. I intend to drill holes about 3m apart, 150mm deep, just to loosen the clay, then push a whole fruit in, and cover with 10mm of clay, hide it from birds etc. I know that sounds rough, but it's a lot of planting, so I'd like to keep it simple. what are my chances? What extra must I do? Slow release fert? Thanks B.
17 Feb 22, Celeste Archer (Canada - Zone 7b Mild Temperate climate)
Clay soil is a massive topic, I suggest you read a few articles - here is a very positive one: https://www.provenwinners.com/learn/dirt-dirt-clay -- like the article states your soil is probably loaded with nutrition, water is the real issue; the way clay soil gets water logged and heavy. The standard rule of thumb with clay soil is: load it up with organic matter (manure, leaves, kitchen compost, etc.). You can just LAYER these on the soil. Additionally, choosing plants that tolerate/like clay soil -- I think the hardy kiwi can tolerate this soil as well as American Persimmon, osage oranges and lots of other plants. They have online plant finders that can help you isolate which plants have the highest probability of success. One thing I did notice when working with heavy clay soils was that plants take a lot longer to establish and grow. I suspect I wouldn't make the effort to plant anything other than plants that are specifically listed as clay tolerant -- you have to go right down to the type of plant: for example: OSAGE oranges not just any oranges .... but maybe all oranges can tolerate clay... you need to check by the type.
11 Feb 22, Anonymous of Bundaberg (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
You need better soil than clay. It is like anything, the better the preparation the better the result. A shovel load of good soil will have better results.
19 Dec 21, Brigitte (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a Cape Goose Berry in a very large pot. Plant growing well but some leaves have white spots on them, it is not powdery mildew. Randomly spaced over leaf, underside of spot under leaf is yellow, it looks slightly like it has been eaten but no holes and for life of me cannot find an insect/bug.
07 Jan 22, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Try looking at night time.
07 Feb 22, Vivian Robert Cutler (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
same here....white spot on leaves
03 Sep 21, TT (USA - Zone 7a climate)
Where do i find a plant or seeds to start?
07 Sep 21, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Internet seed selling companies.
25 Jan 21, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I sow seeds in November last year which was bought from Bunnings and they are still very tiny plants around 15cm height. Not sure what's wrong or do I just need to be patience?
27 Jan 21, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I think you have very poor soil. Or it is very hot temperature. Try again early autumn.
Showing 1 - 10 of 25 comments

-I planted the seeds from the berries I had from the store. -I live on Long Island, NY. -I started them in a small pot, a bit too late to sow- so I kept them indoor. I have my own odd ways of trying things- but this has been my biggest thriving indoor plant. (It was tiny and slow growing for a few months and then one day they just shot up and just keep growing a couple feet tall, and some are crazy looking (like one stem made a complete u-turn because the wall was in the way lol)... But for a start off-let's see if this will work experiment, it surprisingly worked out well. I will do it outdoors this year for sure. My second best plant has been dragon fruit.... So weird I know. I gave some pots with them already 6-12 inches high to people in VA and South Carolina, and some how- no one could grow it larger, and mine is looking like cousin it with green spiked hair. Lol.

- Tara Sikorski

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