As viny plants, they can be treated as ground covers. Chinese lantern plants have heart-shaped leaves and bear white flowers. The flowers are insignificant and not the reason for which the plants are grown. The plants are grown for the 2-inch wide, papery pods or "calyxes" that eventually surround the flowers. Each of the pods later encases a berry with seeds. In fall, these pods turn bright orange. The pods are like traditional Chinese lanterns (the lit kind), not only in shape but also in their papery texture. This is what gives them their common name.
Grow Chinese lanterns in full sun in cold climates. In warm climates, the plants can be grown in partial shade. Grow them in well-drained soil. Once mature, the plants become reasonably tolerant of poor soils. When young, plants need to be kept watered. The soil should feel moist, but not soaked. They are also reasonably drought-tolerant ground covers once mature, although flower and pod production will be better with regular watering and feeding. Fertilize monthly during the growing season in the spring. Compost works well. Mulch around the plant to maintain soil moisture. This plant can stand cooler temperatures but avoid exposure to frost. It does not have any humidity requirements. The seeds will germinate when temperatures are between 15 and 21 degrees Celcius ( 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit ) .