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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 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
  • Young tomatillo
    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

09 Sep 17, Mara (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi, I live in Adelaide. Appart from Bunnings do you know any other contact where I could get seeds or plant to start growing it myself? I'm mexican and tomatillo is like the 'heart' of mexican dishes so can't wait to grow it! :)
11 Sep 17, Bru (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Mara. You could try Hillside Herbs at Mclaren Vale. I get most of my herbs/veg from these guys. Always healthy plants and good knowledgeable service. If they don't have any, they may at least know where to get some.
11 Sep 17, Darren (Australia - temperate climate)
You can try some of the nurseries around Adelaide; Garden Grove or Virginia Nursery could have them. Otherwise, the Seed Collection lists tomatillo seeds online, but is currently out of stock.
11 Sep 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Internet - Boondie Seeds - type in Tomatillo in the search box in top right hand corner.
03 Sep 17, Kate Frawley (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I just bought one tomatillo plant as part of a mixed punnet from Bunnings. Dies this mean I wont get fruit as I read they are not self pollinators
10 Sep 17, Sue Dietrich (Australia - temperate climate)
I bought seed packets from Bunnings Traralgon. I have about 30 growing. Kate, how did yours fare? I did read you can prune them after four leaves appear. this is my first attempt
04 Sep 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
That is what it says. Need to buy one or some more plants.
17 Apr 17, Judy Badenhorst (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Are Tomatillo plants perennial like the Cape Gooseberry? do they need cutting back? Many thanks Judy I have grown many tree tomatoes from seed having chosen the really rip fruit with dark red brown seeds.
21 Nov 16, Luis Da Graca (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Good Day I am from cape town and would like to know if there are any one here or in the rest south africa that will supply me with Tomatillo's. not seeds. the full grown tomatillos thanking you luis
01 Nov 16, Donald Ellison (Australia - temperate climate)
Where to by tomarilla seed or plants
Showing 1 - 10 of 60 comments

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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. GardenGrow 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.
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