Chinese Lantern Plant
March 8, 2012 by staff
Chinese Lantern Plant, The Chinese lantern plant is a perennial that grows rapidly and can overtake flower beds with ease. The lantern-shaped pods that encase fruit from the plant emerge from the white flowers that appear in early summer. These pods give the plant its name as they take on a golden-orange to reddish hue in the fall. Many gardeners use these pods for decoration during Halloween and Thanksgiving.
Things You’ll Need
Chinese lantern plant seed
Choose a planting site where there is ample sun throughout most of the day and rich soil that will drain well. The lantern plant will perform best with moist soil, but it will not tolerate lingering, pooling water. Wait until after the last frost before proceeding to Step 2.
Dig into the ground and place a seed into the soil. Create a perimeter of 2 to 3 feet of space for the young plant to grow. If the Chinese lantern plant has to compete for sun or water, it will weaken and can die.
Place mulch over the perimeter at 2 to 3 inches deep. A good layer of mulch will ward off weeds and keep just enough moisture to stimulate positive growth. The plant is a steady grower and will bloom in the first year.
Prune your lantern plant when a broken or diseased branch appears or for ornamental properties. Trim back the entire plant to the main branches near the ground for winter, prior to the first frost, but only after the lanterns have been harvested. You will want to ensure the cuts are made at a bend in the branch with a 90-degree angle. This will prevent water from sitting in the cut, thus reducing the risk of rot.
Separate the rhizomes, or large roots that are capable of reproducing the plant, to prevent overcrowding. These rhizomes are found beneath the soil as the lantern plant’s root system. The separation needs to be done every four to six years or as soon as a plant grows too large for the area. Each rhizome will have an eye: a large circular clump with a root stem protruding outward. Space these new plants 3 feet apart.
Tips & Warnings
Use a general fertilizer since the plant is very tolerable to nutrients. Fertilize once a month to keep the trunk and roots nourished and healthy.
The leaves and berries of the lantern plant are poisonous. Do not allow pets or children to consume any part of the plant.
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