Growing Tomatillo

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

(Best months for growing Tomatillo in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings

  • 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 21°C and 27°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 70 cm 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

26 Dec 20, Phil Rodwell (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Free tomatillos from seed abt 7 years ago...this year they've grown to about 0.5m but all the leaves at the top of the main stems have started to shrivel and growth seems to have stopped. Any suggestions? I've planted fresh seed but it's December 26 so it may be a bit late.
30 Dec 20, (Australia - temperate climate)
Shriveling could be from hot sun, dry soil or fungi/disease. Suggested time to plant Sept-Oct.
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.
Showing 1 - 10 of 91 comments

I'm having trouble sourcing Tomatillo. Home garden. Western Australiia. Any ideas?

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