Growing Tomatillo

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
    S   P              

(Best months for growing Tomatillo in USA - Zone 5a regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays P = Sow seed

  • Easy to grow. Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 70°F and 81°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 28 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-14 weeks. Husk splits when fruit is ripe..
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Will happily grow in a flower border
  • Tomatillo Plant (CC BY-SA 3.0 WikiMedia)
  • Young tomatillo

NB Tomatillos are not self-fertile so you need to have at least two plants for cross-pollination. Tomatillos are from the same family as Cape Gooseberries, with a papery husk round the fruit.

Tomatillo plants are similar in growth to tomatoes and spread about 1 -1.5m . Can be supported but are happy spreading themselves around. The plants are very productive so 2 or 3 plants may be enough for the average household.

Tomatillos will cope with cooler weather than tomatoes. The fruit will swell to fill the husk as they ripen. Do not use fertiliser.

When buying seed, check that it is Ph. ixocarpa not Ph.peruviana otherwise you will grow Cape Gooseberries instead of Tomatillos.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Tomatillo

Use in spicy sauces with or to replace tomatoes.
They are the base of salsa verde in Mexican cookery.

Your comments and tips

08 Aug 20, Heather (Canada - Zone 5a Temperate Warm Summer climate)
Do you have to have 2 plants in order for it to produce fruit?
14 Oct 20, Mjar (USA - Zone 8b climate)
yes, these plants need a partner to pollinate, I have found 4 plants is a good sweet spot to get enough tomatillos to do some sauce making (Salsa Verde) . I hope you found your answer already as it's now so late in the season! Good Luck.
06 May 20, Suzanne (South Africa - Humid sub-tropical climate)
Seeds can be bought through they have both the green and purple varieties.
26 Mar 20, Robin Duval-Smith (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Compared with a cape gooseberry which I have, how large does a single fruit of tomatillo grow? Is it rich in vitamin C...what other food values?
01 Apr 20, Anon (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Check on the internet.
22 Sep 19, June (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
I am interested in either tomatillo plants or seeds. I am on the eastern side of Jhb.
14 Nov 19, anon (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Try internet seed selling companies.
13 Sep 19, Julie Elliott (Australia - temperate climate)
Bought one tomatillo at the green grocer near me. It was the 1st time I'd seen them selling tomatillo. I left it in the fruit bowl a few weeks and watched it shrivel up. Then I squished it open and left it another week or more to dry out and tonight I pricked out the seeds. Tomorrow I'll plant some seeds in a seed punnet and leave it on my north facing kitchen window sill to germinate. I'll do a punnet each week. The leftover seeds I'll keep for next year. Hopefully some will sprout. I travelled with a Mexican friend (from Mexico City) many years back and saw how she (and her maid) cooked them. I especially loved "drowned eggs". And I saw tomatillos growing wild in southern Mexico near the Guatemalan boarder. My memory is that it was a fairly lightly foliaged shrub like plant. Wish me luck.
11 Jun 18, Annie (Canada - Zone 3a Temperate Short Summer climate)
I am in Calgary Alberta and this spring I took a few tomatillo's and sliced them into 1/4 to 1/2 inch slices and planted them into dirt right away. After I started to see small plant sprouts I took the slices out of the smaller pots and planted them right into the large planter for the rest of the grow season I will be back in the fall to let you know just how they faired
11 May 20, -Kit (Canada - Zone 2b Sub-Arctic climate)
Hi Annie, Wondering how your Tomatillo experiment worked out? I’m wanting to give it a try out here on the west coast!
Showing 1 - 10 of 89 comments

Where can I buy tomatillos in New England area?

- Patricia Dunsky

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply

All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put Gardenate in your pocket. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join our 60,000+ gardeners who already use Gardenate and subscribe to the free Gardenate planting reminders email newsletter.

Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About Gardenate | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.