Apple Of Peru Plant Info – Learn About Growing Shoofly Plants

The apple of Peru plant (Nicandra physalodes) is an interesting specimen. Native to South America (hence the name), this member of the nightshade family produces attractive flowers and can be used in a homemade insecticide. But what is apple of Peru? Keep reading to learn more about the apple of Peru plant.

Apple of Peru Plant Info

Apple of Peru (shoofly plant to some) is a half hardy perennial that’s usually grown as an annual in USDA zones 3 through 8. It can reach five feet in height by the end of the summer, and blooms for two to three months during the summer. It produces light purple to blue flowers that grow in a bell shape. Even though it blooms constantly, the flowers only last for about a day, and the apple of Peru plant only ever has one or two flowers in bloom at a time.

In the southern U.S., people rub the leaves on their skin as a fly repellant and will set it out in a dish mixed with milk to attract and poison flies, earning it the alternate name shoofly. In addition to being poisonous to flies, it is also poisonous to humans, and should NEVER be eaten.

Growing Shoofly Plants

Are shoofly plants invasive? Somewhat. The plants self-seed very easily, and where you have a single plant one summer, you will have many more the next summer. Keep an eye on them, and try to collect the big seed pods before they have time to drop to the ground if you don’t want them to spread too much.

Growing shoofly plants is easy. Start your seeds indoors about 7 to 8 weeks before the last frost, then transplant them outside once the temps in your area are warm enough to do so. They like soil that drains well but will thrive in various types otherwise.

Shoo Fly plant Seeds (Nicandra physaloides)

This very drought tolerant annual makes a wonderful addition to any garden. Growing to a height of three feet it takes on the appearance of a small shrub with long arching branches that produce a profusion of bright blue to violet flowers. Each bloom only lasts one day but the plant produces multitudes of them every day. The flowers are followed by very showy pods in green and purple which resemble miniature Chinese Lanterns. They make the plant very attractive throughout the whole year. As fall arrives the pods turn brown and hang from the branches like rows of Christmas decorations. They can either be cut for use in dried flower arrangements or left in the garden to provide winter interest in the more bleak months.

The plant has interesting apple green leaves covered in small chocolate brown dots. Even from small seedlings the dots are visible making the growing foliage an interesting talking point. Flowers begin in early summer and will continue until the frost knocks the foliage back leaving only the pods. Plants are very strong and don’t requite any staking. Bright sunlight is essential for this plant to do well but it needs very little water and will grow quite happily in poor soil. It also appears to be deer resistant.

Originally from Peru and sometimes known as Apple of Peru it is thought to repel flies, hence it’s common name. It is also used in as a medicinal herb in many cultures especially in Tibet. There they are used in the treatment of contagious disorders, toothache, intestinal pain from worms and impotence. A decoction of the seeds is used in the treatment of fevers.

Note: Medicinal uses of herbs mentioned in our here is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Please see a qualified medical practitioner for diagnosis if you have a health problem.

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All seeds we sell are subject to a multi-level quality control checks and only then are carefully packed and dispatched. Our products have been awarded numerous certificates and comply with the highest standards of the European Union. Our employees are experienced gardeners who are more than happy to answer your every question.

Where do our seeds come from?

All of the seeds sold in our shop come from the best producers from across the European Union. Thanks to a long-standing cooperation with them we were able to develop the most adequate storing and dispatch conditions, guaranteeing that you always receive fresh and carefully tested batches of seeds. Exclusion of the middlemen from the whole process not only makes it possible for us to avoid sending out-of-date seeds that might have been lying too long on a warehouse shelf, but also ensures the most attractive price for top quality products.

The quality control process

All our seeds must pass a four-stage quality control process.

Stage one begins with a careful selection of the suppliers. Than we proceed with controlling their crops, foreign producers are not excluded from the quality control process. Plants are checked at every stage of their development: when they start to grow, during blooming and when they start bearing fruit (seeds). At this stage the most important thing is to ensure proper spacing of the plants. Thanks to that obtaining the desired morphological characteristics of each particular species or variety, such as colour, height and shape, can be ensured.

Stage two consists of a detailed verification tests in laboratory conditions. With the use of the highest quality equipment by the highly qualified staff, our suppliers perform more than 30 000 quality checks annually. The seeds that do not meet our requirements are subject to technological refining processes, including drying, cleaning, upgrading and testing again.

Stage three starts with sowing seeds in selected control plots. That way we obtain valuable, exact information concerning their germination that must be maintained at an appropriate level. Simultaneously, the varietal identity of each species is checked at this stage.

Stage four takes place in our warehouses and consists of eliminating seeds that have been stored for too long on our shelves and replacing them with new batches. Each package is stamped with a unique batch number and also with the sow-by-date.

All four stages combined allow us to state with confidence that the seeds we deliver comply with the highest standards and have completed all required control stages with flying colours.

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The seeds we sell are widely recognized for their quality and have won many awards. Our seeds won numerous gold medals and distinctions for their high quality. The World of Flowers was also honoured for its innovative approach.


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We are committed to selling only the highest quality seeds. Taking into consideration the efforts we make daily, please also note that plants are living organisms and their germination and growth depends on many factors, such as temperature, soil type, humidity and the frequency with that they are watered, sowing time and conditions, use of fertilizers and plant protection agents (pesticides), as well as weather and climate conditions. We provide help by sharing the accurate and up-to-date sowing and growing information, however, we cannot bear any responsibility for the plants that were not cultivated in conditions appropriate for given species.

Nicandra physalodes
(apple of Peru)

Shaw M, 1979. Control recommendations. Rhodesian Tobacco Today, 2(8):13-17

Stroud A; Parker C, 1989. A Weed Identification Guide for Ethiopia. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization.

Subramainan S; Sethi P; Adam G, 1973. Structure of nicandrenone from Nicandra physalodes. Indian Journal of Pharmacy, 35:123-124.

Suteri BD; Joshi CC; Bala S, 1979. Some ornamentals and weeds as reservoirs of potato virus Y and cucumber mosaic virus in Kumaon. Indian Phytopathology, 32(4):640

Terry PJ; Michieka RW, 1987. Common Weeds of East Africa. Rome, Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Thomas JE, 1993. Alternative hosts and the epidemiology of potato leafroll virus in Queensland. Australian Journal of Agricultural Research, 44(8):1905-1916

Thomas P; Schwerzel P, 1968. A cotton weed competition experiment. Proceedings of the 9th British Weed Control Conference, Brighton, UK. Farnham, UK: British Crop Protection Council, 737-743.

Thomas P; Schwerzel P, 1982. The facts about weeds and their effects on crops. In: Ventner HA van de, Mason M, eds. Proceedings of the 4th National Weed Conference, South Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: A A Balkema, 55-59.

Vernon R, unda. Field guide to important arable weeds of Zambia. Field guide to important arable weeds of Zambia. Department of Agriculture Chilanga Zambia, 151pp.

Wang ZR, 1990. Farmland Weeds in China. Beijing, China: Agricultural Publishing House.

Ward JR, 1973. Sencor – a new triazinon herbicide. Proceedings of the 2nd Victorian Weeds Conference. W1973, 5. New Chemicals. Melbourne, Australia: Weed Science Society of Victoria, 3-5.

Wells MJ; Balsinhas AA; Joffe H; Engelbrecht VM; Harding G; Stirton CH, 1986. A catalogue of problem plants in South Africa. Memoirs of the botanical survey of South Africa No 53. Pretoria, South Africa: Botanical Research Institute.

Zambia; Department of Agriculture; Research Branch, 1978. Annual report, weed control research 1976-1977. Annual report, weed control research 1976-1977. Mt. Makulu Research Station. PO Box 7, Chilanga Zambia, 33 pp.

Zambia; Ministry of Agriculture and Water Affairs; Department of Agriculture, 1980. Annual report of the weed control research and extension team, 1979. Annual report of the weed control research and extension team, 1979. Mt. Makulu Research Station. P.O. Box 7, Chilanga Zambia, 58 pp.

Apple of Peru (Nicandra Physalodes Splash of Cream) 80 seeds (#1237)

The shoo-fly plant is an annual that is sometimes grown from seed to add interest to borders.
It originates from Peru. Has a dense crown and a yellow-green foliage.
It has bell-shaped blue-violet flowers. Those are short-lived, opening for only a few hours each day. Flowers appear from July to October.
The yellow lampion shaped fruits develop after flowering.
Branches of the mature Chinese lantern-style fruits can be dried and used for winter decoration.
Grows well in humous, well drained soil and in a sunny location. Fertilize regularly with liquid fertilizer.
Genus – Nicandra
Species – Physalodes
Variety – Splash of Cream
Common name – Apple of Peru
Pre-Treatment – Not-required
Hardiness zones – 3 – 10
Height – 0,60 – 1,30 m
Spread – 0,40 m
Plant type – Annual flower
Exposure – Full sun
Growth rate – Fast
Soil PH – Neutral (pH 6.6 – 7.5)
Soil type – loamy fertile
Water requirements – Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Landscape uses – Borders and waste areas, Suitable for growing in containers This plant is suitable for growing indoors
Bloom season – July – October
Leaf / Flower color – Green / Blue-Violet
For best results, seeds are sown directly into the ground where required in the spring (from April to May).
Alternatively, sow in late winter/early spring inside at +15-+20C.
Prick out into small 7 cm pots and plant in final position when the plants are established.

Why this plant attracts a lot of flies?

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Lobster bush

Plectranthus neochilus

Scientific name

Plectranthus neochilus (lobster bush, fly bush, or mosquito bush) is a perennial ground cover with highly fragrant, partially scalloped, ovate leaves. flowers are purple blue inflorescent spikes. Overall the plant almost resembles a succulent lavender bush, with oversized flowers.
Lobster bushes can tolerate wide temperature ranges, dry conditions and almost any soil, but prefer a well drained sandy loam in full sun or partial shade. Hard pruning is suggested after flowering.
This plant will take over if not kept in check. Ensure to cut back when necessary.
It is said that this plant can repel snakes, mosquitoes, flies and most garden pests as a result of its fragrant nature. This makes Plectranthus neochilus an ideal companion plant for vegetable gardens, if competition with actual garden produce is prevented.
Tea made by steeping fresh leaves is similar to mint tea.

Propagation instructions

Moisten the soil and dig a small hole. Cut some stems, preferably with roots and place in the hole. If you plant out in summer, make sure you water for 2 weeks until it has roots when you will see the flowers and leaves look healthy and beautiful.
If you take cuttings without roots, place in a jar of water until they have grown roots, and plant out as above.

References and further reading

PlantZAfrica profile “

Wikipedia page “

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