Aunt Molly's Ground Cherry
Easy-to-grow, prolific, and super-sweet, this ground cherry works well for preserves and pies, over ice cream, and in fresh-fruit salads—or can simply be eaten straight out of the garden. The plants have a sprawling habit and produce ½-¾" fruits encased in a papery husk that turns brown when the fruits ripen. This beloved variety takes its name from an ice cream stand, named not for a dear aunt, but for a cherished pet dog of the owners of Territorial Seed.
- 70 days from transplant
- Prolific and super sweet
- Fruits grow to ½ to ¾ inch
- Fruits have a papery husk
- Sweet variety that stores well
This variety works for:
- Fresh eating
These fruits have a flavor something like a tomato crossed with a pineapple and strawberry - distinct but not unpleasant! It makes a great addition to salads and is often used to make jam or pies.
For a sweet treat, carefully unwrap the husks from the ground cherries, making sure to keep them attached to the fruit. Then dip the fruit in melted chocolate, using the husk as a handle, and arrange on a cold plate. You can chill them for a few hours until the chocolate hardens and then serve to guests as an appetizer or party snack.
Instructions - Sow seeds indoors ¼" deep. Plant out when the danger of frost has passed. Excellent results when grown on landscape cloth, which suppresses weeds and makes collecting the fruits easier.
- Start Indoors: 6 weeks before last frost
- Germination: 14 Days
- Plant Outdoors: 12-18” Apart
- Light: Full Sun
Ratings & Reviews
Great flavor and productive garden snack.
My mother loves these. she washes and then freezes them individually and then has them as a snack. Sweet flavor and very productive. Fun to grow with kids also since they are so different. It does need a good amount of space on the sides since they spread out.
Wonderful plant and flavor
This is the fourth year I’ve grown Aunt Molly’s ground cherries. The seeds germinate well and the seedlings are very vigorous. I sowed the seeds on March 21st and many of the seeds germinated in 5 days. When I transplant them, I place them a little deeper in their next size pot like with tomato plants. The plants were getting too large for their half gallon nursery pots. When I planted them on May 24th, the main stem was as thick as my thumb. They have a beautiful green color & the plants were budding already (I take the buds/flowers off that form before planting). I grew them in south facing windows & under grow lights. There’s a lot of ground cherries per plant. We grew 3 plants last year and had a 4 by 6 foot table full of ground cherries at the end of the season.
Worth the wait...
by Sue W.
The seeds are really tiny and the plants really took their time to grow. But once it did they got large and produced a bunch of fruit. Love the sweet flavor. Will definitely plant again & again.
Delicious, will plant again next year
Zone 5B, southern New Hampshire here. I started 2 ground cherry plants indoors this past March. They looked small and unhappy and I wasn't sure they'd make it. Flash forward to August, and those two little plants have all but taken over a 4x8 raised bed. They are flourishing, and they are SO DELICIOUS! One of the highlights of my garden this year.
I'm in love
This is by far my favorite find of the year. Fun for the kids to pick and I loved eating them. They had an interesting sweet/sour flavor that I very much looked forward to.
Not what I was expecting.
Based on the reviews I read I was expecting plants that sprawled out and grew close to the ground. So far what I have are plants that are tall and very vigorous. They actually resemble small bonsai trees. From what I've read these appear to be Cape Gooseberries and not true ground cherries. I will update as they progress.
Productive and low-maintenance with fun fruits
This is my kind of garden plant - it grew vigorously to about five feet high and wide and has been very productive despite a fair bit of neglect and some damage from pests that I only controlled through hand picking. Will definitely plant again and will try to make space for a second plant next year.
Aunt Molly's a SWEETheart
by Mr Greenjeans
Gave the ground cherries a try 2022 season and WOW!!! are they good. Very sweet and tasty. I only had 1 plant growing in a bag and although the yield was pretty small I attribute that to a late start and the confines of the bag. 2023 they will have room to "run" so I'll give an update this time next year
Growing ground cherries in a large garden
We have never planted these, a former gardener did, and they continue to seed themselves every year. (Each fruit is literally a bag of juice and tiny seeds, so if a few get missed, the crop is sown! We pick a place to have a row of them, and transplant from other parts of the garden to make the row. Downside is needing to pick them up from the ground is somewhat tedious, and hulling them also.
I make jam with these, usually half and half with peaches, as they have a lot of pectin. We convinced the owner of a local restaurant to make cheesecake with these-- it was amazingly good!