A picture of a Tomatillo

Tomatillo

Physalis philadelphica

Also known as

Mexican Groundcherry, Husk-Tomato, Large-Flower Tomatillo, Tomatillo Ground-Cherry

Photo by glamorous_blisterleaf (All rights reserved)

Full Sun
Moderate care
Light watering
Tender

H1a

RHS hardiness

15°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

1m

Max

1m

80cm

Min

80cm

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Harvesting is easy, wait for the fruit to get firm and the husk to get dry, papery and straw colored. Once this happens, your tomatillos are ready to pick. Tomatillos store well in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and even longer if you put them in a plastic storage bag. Harvesting is generally 90-100 days after sowing.

More images of Tomatillo

A photo of Tomatillo
A photo of Tomatillo

Tomatillo Overview

Tomatillos are the odd-looking distant cousins of the tomato. Native to central America, they can be found growing wild in fields of corn and beans, and they are gathered to be eaten or sold in local markets. The name and the requirements for growing tomatoes and tomatillos are similar, but the comparison really stops there. The appearance of a tomatillo (pronounced to-ma-TEE-yo) with its papery husk is quite different. In fact, it is also known as a husk tomato, due to the dry cover that surrounds the fruit. Tomatillo plants are highly self-incompatible, and two or more plants are needed for proper pollination. Thus, isolated tomatillo plants rarely set fruit.

Common problems with Tomatillo

Susceptible to aphids and leaf eating beetles, promote natural predators like lady bugs.

Tomatillo Companion Plants

How to propagate Tomatillo

Seed

Sow seeds in pots 8 weeks before your last frosts, then transplant outside once temperatures warm up. Seeds take 4-8 days to germinate. Provide some support for the plants to grow on.

Special features of Tomatillo

Attracts useful insects

Attracts bees

Other uses of Tomatillo

Edible

This green fruit is the base ingredient in sauces such as salsa verde, where it is combined with peppers and other seasonings and used in many Mexican dishes. Tomatillos can also be dried to enhance the sweetness of the fruit in a way similar to dried cranberries with a hint of tomato flavour.