since 2008, i have been growing Chinese lanterns in my garden. they are an invasive perennial, but so delightful to have in my fall garden. during the summer, the green lanterns form over the plant’s fruit. and then, during the month of September, the lanterns turn orange and resemble the Chinese or Japanese lanterns made of paper.
i grow this plant as an ornamental and use the dried lanterns for my fall outdoor porch decorations. at this time of year, i cut the stems, and remove the leaves. this allows the plant to dry for about three weeks. i can use the lanterns in dried arrangements on my front porch to complement my pumpkins.
it took me about three years to have my lantern colony well-developed. the first year of planting, i had no lanterns. the second year, i was able to grow a few lanterns. but, by the third year, i had enough for a floral display. if you decide to plant this plant in your yard, be sure to give it lots of sun, and lots of space to roam. it will invade other plants’ growing zones. i have it growing on the edge of my garden near a day-lily bed.