The Q&A Archives: Propagation of Chinese Lanterns

Question: How does one extract the seeds from the lantern? Are the seeds enclosed in the bright orange fruit or do you plant the entire fruit to propagate? Can they be started indoors and will they survive indoors?

Answer: The seeds are encased in the orange "seed pod" and would be removed from it for planting once they are dry. Leave them on the plant to ripen, pick them in fall, then make sure they are kept very dry until planting. Since you are probably growing Phylaris alkekengi (also known as P. franchette), it should germinate easily at normal room temperature without pretreatment such as chilling. Normally it would be started indoors in the early spring and then planted outside in the garden to grow. Since it is a large, spreading and hardy plant I don't think it would do well for you indoors in the long term.

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