Sunday, August 21, 2005

Not Chinese Lantern

Besides the occasional corn or bean plant grown for a science class, this winter was the first time I grew plants from seed. I followed the winter-sowing advice on Gardenweb, but I planted my containers a little late, in February. Nevertheless, everything but the delphinium sprouted. Although I used a top-grade potting soil, I also had quite a few weeds sprout. In some containers, it was hard to tell which seedlings were weeds and which were my desired flowers.

My Chinese lantern container was a wild success. It was full of green growing things. I picked out the oddballs as weeds and nurtured the remaining plants. In the spring, I transplanted them into a pot sunken in my sun bed. (Chinese lantern, Physalis, can be very invasive.) Only two plants survived the move. They were ugly cusses, but I held on to the vision of gay orange laterns brightening my Halloween porch. When the blooms appeared, I became a little suspicious of the plants' identity, so I looked up photos of Physalis blooms online. It turns out that I've been coddling a couple of weeds.

Quite serendipitously, my neighbor invited me over last night to identify a plant with "balloon flowers" in her yard. I recognized it as Chinese lantern. True to its invasive nature, it was a pest in her yard. I told her of my failure to grow this very plant from seed and she immediately yanked one up and gave it to me. If it lives, I'll have some fall color on my porch after all.

4 Comments:

Blogger OldRoses said...

I've been trying to grow these from seed for years with absolutely no luck. I think they are like lavender, almost impossible to start from seed. They spread via underground runners rather than reseeding themselves.

7:48 PM  
Anonymous Tina said...

I had a similar problem with my turnips this year. I thought I was going to have more turnips than I would ever use... until it turned out that I'd been fiercely protecting a bunch of weeds that had killed all my turnips. Now every time I see a weed in my garden I get a little vengeful when I pull it out.

12:18 PM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

I haven't been able to grow Chinese latern either.

7:24 AM  
Blogger Adi said...

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8:20 AM  

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