I've grown Ground Cherries (aka Pineapple Tomatillo) for a few years now and it always produced a neat little plant that only took a little work to gather the ripened fruit from around its base.

But this year, I moved it to another spot because I was told it was stunted by being so close to a tomato plant. The result was spectacular (and devastating at the same time). My plant got about 1 foot tall and then started to spread throughout the garden and today it has just about completely taken over a 4 foot by 8 foot raised garden box.

This caused 2 issues. First, it takes a long time to harvest the nearly 100 ripe fruit per day (boo-hoo) but it also killed off most other plants in my raised bed and then jumped nearly 2 1/2 feet to another garden box and started taking it over too.

My question is, can these plants be trained to a trellis or do I need to prune it back in the future? I know it’s called a "Ground Cherry" because it wants to be on the ground but I wanted to know if anyone had luck training it.

2 Answers 2


It is possible to manage ground cherries, but they are a fairly wild plant. I have faced this same problem as you before. They can become utterly massive and sprawling and take over large areas. But, they are worth it =].

What I have found is that to "train" them means to consistently go out and manually tie them up/weave them through trellises/supports. They don't seem to respond by climbing more on their own, like a vine with tendrils or a twining vine.

What has worked for me in the past is using a cattle fence panel as a trellis. As the plant grows I weave the growing tips through the grate. You have to stay ahead of the game because the mature stems aren't very flexible and becomes impossible to weave them through. If it gets to that point you can tie them up with twine.


I grew 3 ground cherries (aunt Mollie's) for the first time this year and wow! The most prolific one I forced into a tomato cage // (should have done it when it was a little younger, but it's ok.) It then proceeded to start sort of climbing up a trellis / arbor that backs up to that raised bed, along with 2 indeterminate tomato plants (which don't seem to be harmed by the proximity) and some cucumbers which are all happily climbing up together -- all of them I encourage by gently tying with strips of cloth.() The ground cherry has also pushed out in other directions but I've pruned it a bit to keep it where I want. I was actually looking to see if there was a specifically climbing variety when I saw your post-- (Massachusetts coastal garden)

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