The shoo-fly plant (Nicandra physalodes) can be grown from seed as a decorative addition to the garden. However, it can pop unexpectedly, particularly around bird feeders because it can be found in commercial bird-seed mixtures.
What it is the shoo-fly plant?
The shoo-fly plant is an annual that is sometimes grown from seed to add interest to borders. However, as occassional seedlings may appear in the garden (such as from bird-sown seed or seed fallen from a bird feeder), it is sometimes thought of as a weed.
- It is a member of the Solanaceae or potato family
- The plants and fruits are not considered to be edible, although there are no reports that they are harmful
- A native to South America
- Can be found on bare, waste and cultivated ground
The shoo-fly plant is fairly distinctive;
- The shoo-fly plant has bell-shaped flowers that are most commonly pale blue and white, but there are also forms with violet flowers and with white flowers
- The flowers are short-lived, opening for only a few hours each day
- Flowers appear from June to October
- Cherry-like, green-brown berries are encased within green or black-mottled calyces. Branches of the mature Chinese lantern-style fruits can be dried and used for winter decoration
- Height to 1.2m (4ft), spread to 1m (3¼ft)
It is usually easy to control shoofly plant, where it becomes a weed.
If it becomes invasive prevention of seeding is the best remedy. Young plants are easily controlled by hoeing or hand weeding.
None usually necessary as occurrence is sporadic.
Common name Shoo-fly plant, apple of Peru, apple of Sodom, Peruvian bluebell
Latin name Nicandra physalodes
Areas affected Borders and waste areas
Timing Usually germinates in late spring or early summer