Sunday, 1 October 2017

Cape Gooseberry Yield per Plant

I have heard many different reports on how productive Cape Gooseberries (Physalis peruviana) are.  These range from "up to 100 fruits per plant" which seems incredibly low, to "over 2kg per plant" which sounds like an exaggeration.  I have also heard anecdotal reports of them cropping "a cup per day all season" which sounds similar to the 'my chicken lays one egg a day every single day' nonsense.

My Cape gooseberry fruit started ripening 14/01/2017.  At first it had 1 or 2 per day, then a reasonable handful per day.  I have no idea how many fruits I got off it, but it seemed like a lot.  I started to record the number of every fruit harvested from one plant from 06/02/2017 until the end of the season.  We don't pick the fruit, when they are ripe they drop from the plant.  I counted every fruit I picked each day, and kept a tally until the end of the season.

In the first week of recording I harvested over 130 fruits not including any that were stolen by birds, hollowed out by ants, or eaten surreptitiously by my children who absolutely love cape gooseberries.  The plants were suffering from here due to an infestation of spider mites and lost a lot of leaves, so the yield declined but I kept recording the number of fruits that I picked.

After two weeks of recording I had picked over 200 fruits from one plant, again not including any that were stolen.  After three weeks of recording I had picked over 280 fruits.  In one month of recording I had picked 327 fruits from one plant.  Every day the spider mites got worse and the plant lost more leaves.

Over the season I harvested 441 Cape Gooseberry fruits from one plant.  Given that I did not start counting for a few weeks, and that my kids stole a bunch of them before I could count them, I guess that each plant probably produced over 500 fruits.

Each of the tiny and delicious fruits averaged 2 g, some weighed more, some weighed less.  So each plant yielded about 1 kg of fruit this year.

Considering that my soil was not great and my plants were defoliated by spider mites I think it could have yield significantly more fruits.
Cape gooseberry fruits
Cape gooseberries
Cape gooseberries ripening in the sun
Cape gooseberries - they are ripe when they fall from the plant


  1. This is Chinese lantern plant. you can seed it, grow it, eat it and even decorate your house by using this physalis. This is just amazing.

    1. Hi James,

      Thanks for your comment.

      Common names vary from place to place but here 'Chinese lantern' plant generally refers to Physalis alkekengi which has an orange/red calyx.

      The cape gooseberry above is a difference species Physalis peruviana. They are delicious and as you can see above hugely productive, I love them.