The nicandra physalodes is an annual herbaceous plant native to Latin America, especially its spontaneous growth is limited to the region of Perщ. The stems are erect, herbaceous, rigid and reach 40-80 cm in height; the nicandra species carry many large leaves, rough and thick, of a bright green color. From late spring to summer they produce numerous small, solitary, bell-shaped flowers, facing upwards; the nicandra flowers are of a characteristic blue-lilac color, lighter in the center. The flowers are followed by the fruits: they are small roundish berries, covered by a paper membrane, which makes them similar to cape gooseberries. Very particular plants in appearance and posture, they are toxic in all their parts, it is therefore advisable to take care in handling them to avoid irritation and any dermatitis.
As far as the best plant growth conditions are concerned, it is advisable to place the nicandra physalodes in a sunny or partially shady place; during the hottest days of July and August it is advisable to shade the plants slightly. With the arrival of cold, in September or October, the plant begins to dry up, it is possible to uproot it beforehand, when the fruits are ripe.
For a correct development of the nicaranda, water the plant regularly, avoiding excesses and leaving the soil dry even for a whole day before supplying more water; this advice is of fundamental importance to avoid water stagnation and weakening if not the death of the nicandra physalodes. It is important from April to July to supply fertilizer for flowering plants, in half the dosage recommended on the fertilizer package, every 15-20 days. This will guarantee the plant an efficient livelihood in order to grow at its best.
Now let's talk about the soil suitable for the growth of these plants. The solanaceae are best grown in a loose and well-drained soil, very light; they fear water stagnation and generally produce a very scarce flowering if grown in substrates that hold moisture for a long time. Generally they grow fairly quickly and vigorously, so it is good to grow them in the open ground or in large containers.
The multiplication of the nicandra occurs by seed, in the months of March and April; it must be done in a sheltered place, or directly at home in early May; plants usually produce many fruits and tend to self-seed; in this way it will be possible to obtain numerous species of the plant. In many countries where winters are quite mild, these species tend to become pests. Therefore, it is therefore good practice to remove all the fruits produced by the plants, to control their propagation.
Nicandra physalodes: Pests and diseases
These plants are quite resistant to pests and diseases, so their cultivation is quite easy. In any case, it is advisable to pay attention to the possible attack of caterpillars. These are in fact very fond of thick leaves. It is necessary to eliminate them with specific specific products available at the best sales points for gardens or nurseries.