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overwintering inca berries

Another overwintering question, although hopefully the frosts are some time off... I have 5 large inca berry plants, currently with lots of fruit either ripe (I should start harvesting in earnest before the squirrels do!) or ripening, and even some flowers. Some of the leaves are a bit yellow, but otherwise healthy, I think (but probably pot bound.)
So... I was wondering about overwintering them. I have limited space in a glass covered area down the side of my house (unheated) - no green house. If I were to attempt to overwinter (I have read that you get an even better crop the second year) what do I need to do? Can I/should I prune them? I don't have room for them all in the 'lean to' if they remain the size they are now. Could they be left outside with fleece on them?
I am in South East London.
p.s. I also seem to have a lot coming up as seedlings in the cracks in my patio. At least I think that's what they are. They must be from last year's...which makes it a very long germination period!


  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,348
    New one on me too  :)
    I found this - it looks like they're physalis
    I expect they'll need decent winter protection, but others may have better info  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,823
    I have always know these as Cape Gooseberries or Physalis.  Delicious but not easy to grow as they are not reliably hardy below 5C so definitely no good if frosted.  If you have no greenhouse, take them indoors and keep them in a cool but sunny position over winter and take them outside again once all risk of frost is past.

    This is what the RHS says about growing them -

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • REMF33REMF33 Posts: 720
    Maybe I should just experiment with one or two of them.

    Interesting that you found them quick from seed, Phillippa. I was all set to do this this year but was put off by a lot of people saying it was difficult. I know that makes me sound like I am easily defeated, but I have rather limited space for growing from seed. I need a greenhouse! But I might have a go anyway next year, as if it were possible to lengthen the growing season a bit (my plants arrived quite late) that would be good.
    But can/should I prune them? RHS says "Pruning -  Cut down to ground level after harvesting the fruit" so I guess that's what I should do.
    Thanks all.
  • pinutpinut Posts: 190
    If they are Physalis peruviana then they can survive winters outdoors in north London.

    I can confirm that if you grow them in large pots (14Lt pots) or directly in the ground and, as long they have a really strong root system, they will make it to the following year and fruit again.

    The RHS advice is correct: treat them like herbaceous perenials.

  • REMF33REMF33 Posts: 720
    In the end I just left some as they are outside. Others I put jackets around their pots. We have had avery mild winter though. I am wondering if I need to cut them right back. Have done this to a couple of them.
  • REMF33REMF33 Posts: 720
    I just found a site which says cut back to a third. btw my original motivation for overwintering was the hope that it might extend the season, since they fruit so late. Taking cuttings as opposed to growing from seed is another option. They do come up as weeds from where the fruit fell - usually in the cracks between paving stones, so not terribly useful!
  • REMF33REMF33 Posts: 720
    These seem to have survived and have new growth. Possibly not going to extend the season but at least means I don't need to grow/but new plants this year.
  • REMF33REMF33 Posts: 720
    Interestingly these are now forming a rather bushy growth rather than a tomato-type height. One has a flower on it, so I might get one fruit, at least :)
  • I left mine in the ground outside, and they look like dead stalks in early March. So should I leave them and hope they will spring to life again, or get rid of them?  I still have Berries in their hulks that are edible, so that's quite amazing.  Just left them on a tray in the kitchen. The birds did not find the berries in the garden, which was another plus
  • REMF33REMF33 Posts: 720

    I'd leave them if you can afford the room to wait a bit longer. I am afraid I can't remember what mine looked like this time last year (although they seemed to have new growth in April, according to the above). They did produce heavy crops last year, heavier than year one. (I struggled - and failed -  to eat them all.) Mine look a bit dead in their pots right now however this would be their third year, which might be pushing it - plus, and  perhaps more relevantly, I didn't cosset them this winter. Last winter, they had insulated jackets around the pots. If you enjoy them, they seem to be very easy to grow. I have not tried to grow from seed, but they come up all over the place as weeds. They are also easy to grow as cuttings. (I literally just stuck stalks that I had accidentally broken off in a pot of compost last year.)

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