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Tomatillo     

Physalis ixocarpa

Belonging to the Physalis genus, Tomatillo has a botanical name of Physalis ixocarpa.

Tomatillos produce small, round green or purple fruit and are related to the cape gooseberry. Used extensively as an ingredient in Mexican cuisine.

Blooms appear in these approximate colours:   Cadmium yellow and   Anti-flash white. When ripe, fruit appear in these approximate colours:   Green-yellow. Leaves appear approximately as a   Napier green

A type of flowering edible fruit / ornamental, it mainly grows as an annual plant - which means it typically only grows best for a single growing season.

Tomatillo is known for growing with a bushy habit to a height of approximately 1.20 metres (that's 3.90 feet in imperial). Expect blooming to occur in late spring and harvesting to start by late summer.

Popular varieties of Tomatillo include: Purple Tomatillo, Verde, Toma Verde, Green and Gigante.

Mexico is thought to be the country of origin for Tomatillo.

Tomatillo needs a moderate amount of maintenance, so some level of previous experience comes in handy when growing this plant. Ensure that you are aware of the soil, sun, ph and water requirements for this plant and keep an eye out for pests.

This plant info is provided by the myfolia gardener's wiki. All details about Tomatillo have been kindly provided by our members.

How to grow Tomatillo

  • Full Sun

  • High

Tomatillos are almost completely self-incompatible and require at least two plants to normally produce fruit.

As plant is a member of the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, all other parts of the tomatillo besides the fruit are inedible.

There are a large variety of tomatillo species, but many are poisonous.

While full sun is best for this plant, light shade is also well tolerated.

Tomatillo likes a position of full sun and remember to water often. As a rough idea of the types of climates Tomatillo does best in, check to see if your local area is within USDA Hardiness Zones 5 and 11. Planting Tomatillo in loamy soil with a ph of between 6.0 and 7.0 is ideal for as it does best in weakly acidic soil - neutral soil. Keep in mind when planting that Tomatillo is thought of as tender, so it is really important to plant out well after your last frost date.

See our list of companion Plants for Tomatillo to see which plants you should plant in close proximity to encourage growth.

Growing Tomatillo from seed

Germination inside is the easiest and will ensure that your seedlings aren’t frost damaged.

An optimum soil temp for germination is 27°C, however they will germinate at lower temperatures, albeit more slowly – the soil should be at least 20°C.

Sow at a depth of approx. 0.58 inches (1.5 cm) and aim for a distance of at least 2.47 feet (76.0 cm) between Tomatillo plants. Soil temperature should be kept higher than 20°C / 68°F to ensure good germination.

Transplanting Tomatillo

Hardening off is extremely important before transplanting outside. A span of a two-week harden should suffice.

Like tomatoes, you can bury tomatillos quite deeply, leaving only about 4" of the whole plant above soil.

As Tomatillo is tender, ensure temperatures are mild enough to plant out (around 20°C / 68°F as a guideline) - wait until after your last frost date to be on the safe side.

Seed Saving Tomatillo

Seed viability is four years.

How long does Tomatillo take to grow?

These estimates for how long Tomatillo takes to sprout, grow and harvest are from real observations from real gardeners, right around the world.

Start logging and journaling your observations to participate!

Days to Germination How long does it take Tomatillo to germinate?
8 days

Average 8 days | Min 2 days | Max 21 days (177)

Days to Transplant How long until I can plant out Tomatillo?
+ 52 days

Average 52 days | Min 14 days | Max 98 days (37)

Days to Maturity How long until Tomatillo is ready for harvest / bloom?
+ 107 days

Average 107 days | Min 46 days | Max 167 days (208)

Total Growing Days How long does it take to grow Tomatillo?
= 167 days

Tomatillo Etymology

A Spanish diminutive of tomate, translates to “tomato” in English.

Tomato is a Spanish word taken from the Nahuatl “tomatl” which was a generic word describing globular fruits with a membrane.

Tomatillo Folklore & Trivia

Archaeological excavations have shown that this plant has been consumed by the Mexican population since pre-columbian times, and has been found in the valley of Tehuacán on archaeological sites.

Other names for Tomatillo

Husk tomato, Mexican tomato, Tomate de cascara, Tomate milpero, Tomate verde, Toma verde, Mexican tomatillos, tomate de milpa, Cape gooseberry

Physalis philadelphica

Misspellings: Tomatilo, Tomatilla, tomate de cáscara

Latest Tomatillo Reviews

  • The three Purple tomatillo plants are all bearing fruit. They start by looking like a lantern. Then the tomatillo forms in the inside and the lantern slides up to show the tomatillo. Now they are turning from green to purple. This is my first time gro

    4 stars

    Kevalsha about growing Tomatillo Purple
  • I was actually disappointed with this tomatillo. The one planted in a half barrel did better than the one with the tomatoes, and not many fruit to show for it. They were tasty however.

    3 stars

    KathN about growing Tomatillo "de Milpa"

See all Tomatillo reviews and experiences »

Footnotes

Tomatillo Forums

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