How can I keep my husk cherries producing until frost?


Last year I grew husk cherries in 10″ diameter x 10″ high containers on a table topped with hardware cloth in my garden to make harvesting easier. I used a Fox Farm potting medium in the pots. For the first couple of month, the plants grew terrifically and the fruits were much larger than I usually get when planting the husk cherries in the ground. They required frequent watering (every other day). Then the foliage starting turning yellow and dropping. The fruits decreased in both size and number. I fed the plants with a fish emulsion in the soil and also foliar fed them with fish emulsion, but it didn’t help green up the leaves. I looked online a bit and found others who had similar problems but no solution. Any advice on what I can do to keep these husk cherries producing until frost?


Kate Garland, Horticultural Professional

While it’s challenging to say for sure what may have been the problem without seeing the unhealthy plants, my hunch is that your plants were suffering from a nutrient deficiency. Potting mixes often have a starter charge of fertilizer that will give your plants a boost early in the season, but those resources often get tapped out by mid season. While liquid fish fertilizer can certainly offer some nutrition, you’d want to do that on a more regular basis with heavy feeders such as your mature husk cherry plants. Instead, I’d recommend incorporating a slow release fertilizer to the pots at the beginning of the season. Larger pots would also help alleviate some of the challenges associated with nutrient and water management. I’ve even planted directly into a bag of potting mix (see how-to video). One tomato or husk cherry plant per bag would be the ideal spacing.