Okay...we're warning you!!... If you plant Living lanterns in your fall container gardens you will be asked by everyone who sees it... "Ooooh what is that?" and "Where did you get it?" So, here's a little information that you can pass along when you are asked.

  About Living Lanterns They are known by many names... Chinese Lanterns, Living Lanterns, Winter Cherry and Pumpkin Lantern plant. Their scientific name is Physalis alkekengi. If you look closely you can see they resemble a tomatillo plant which they are closely related to. The tomatillo is Physalis philadelphica. You might see the beautiful orange 'lanterns' on the plant and think you're looking at the flower, however it's actually the fruit. Like the tomatillo there is a papery outer covering over the fruit inside. The Living lantern has small white blooms before it fruits. Their leaves are heart shaped. And, overall they reach a height around 2 feet tall. one physalistwo physalisThree Physalis Growing Living Lanterns Plant Living Lanterns in full sun with well-draining soil. They are hardy in zones 3 - 9. They are aggressive growers  that spread by underground rhyzomes like mint.. and so as we do with mint, we recommend you grow them in container gardens.   Using Living Lanterns I'm sure you can see why Living Lanterns are so popular in the fall. The fruit looks like little pumpkins. You can cut the fruit and use it in cutflower arrangements for your Halloween and Thanksgiving parties. They are great in cut arrangements because they normally last a week or more. They are also easy to dry. The dried flowers can be used all throughout fall in your decorations. To dry them, cut the fruit as soon as it turns orange (it will start out green). Then hang it upside down in a dark dry area for a week or 2 ( a closet or basement works well).   And, to answer the second question you will be asked...... You know where to pick up these fun plants... at your neighborhood Armstrong Garden Centers, of course!! See you soon!      5 Big Ideas for Fall Gardens >   Fall in Love with Fall >