How to Transplant a Chinese Lantern Plant

Written by shae hazelton
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How to Transplant a Chinese Lantern Plant
These blooms resemble traditional Chinese lanterns. (physalis in the orange 4 image by Svenja98 from

The Chinese lantern plant is a leafy green plant that produces simple, but interesting, red-orange blooms on a vine. The red blooms do not open like normal flowers, but are instead air-filled little balloon shapes. The blooms resemble decorative Chinese lanterns, which lead to the plant's unorthodox common name. The plant also produces sweet cherry tomato-like fruits. Use caution when you eat the berries, though, because they are poisonous before fully ripened.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Shovel
  • Fertilisers
  • Wheelbarrow
  • Towel

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  1. 1

    Find a location in your yard that receives partial sunlight all day long. Full sun may overwhelm your Chinese lantern plant. Clear the location of all debris and weeds. Dig into the soil at least 12 inches deep, mixing in some light fertilisers. Crush down all clumps of large soil and remove all other debris.

  2. 2

    Dig the new hole for your Chinese lantern plant before you remove the existing Chinese lantern plant from its original soil. Make the hole 16 inches wide and 24 inches deep. This allows plenty of room for you to refit the roots on the plant into the soil.

  3. 3

    Space out your Chinese lantern plants by 18 to 24 inches apart. Keep them far away from any other plants as well because they will invade the garden and strangle out any other plants near to them. Trim them regularly to avoid a garden infestation of these plants.

  4. 4

    Water your Chinese lantern plant before you dig. This helps compact the soil, making it easier to pull up with your plant's roots. Dig in a 12-inch circle around the stem of the plant. Dig down for 24 inches. Grab the side of the roots and soil to pull it from the ground instead of by the stem. If you grip the plant by the stem and try to heft it out of the ground, it may break and kill the plant. Lay the plant on a wheelbarrow and move it to the new hole quickly.

  5. 5

    Set the Chinese lantern plant into its new spot. Move it around until it sits erect in the new hole. Fill in the sides of the hole with loosely packed soil.

  6. 6

    Water the Chinese lantern plant generously. The water will help promote new root growth on the Chinese lantern plant and help fight the symptoms of shock.

Tips and warnings

  • If you want to keep your Chinese lantern plant from spreading, grow it in a pot sunk into your garden, as opposed to planting it directly into the soil.
  • Choose a windless, overcast day in the dormant season to transplant your Chinese lantern plant. This reduces the chances of your plant going into shock. The roots can be damaged if they receive direct sun and a lot of wind.
  • If you think you may have eaten a poisonous berry, visit a doctor immediately. In some cases, ingestion of an unripe berry can be fatal.
  • Only complete the transplant process during the dormant season for the Chinese lantern plant. Transplanting the plant during the growing season increases the chances of it going into shock.

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