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celticman November 1, 2007 11:01 AM

info on tomatillo
I am looking for information on Tomatilloes. I have never grown them and am considering them.
Do they grow similar to tomatoes?
Will they cross with a tomato?
Any recommendations on which varity?

PaulF November 1, 2007 01:06 PM

My experience with tomatillos is that they show an explosive growth pattern a lot like a cherry tomato; mine got very very viney(?). Four or five feet tall and about ten feet in diameter. I happened to get a variety from Sandhill but Tomato Growers Supply also has several choices. We were not into salsa production at that time so most went to waste. Might have to try them again.

I did grow them from seed the same as tomatoes, but I think I could have started them a bit later. If I remember, tomatillos and tomatoes are related but are of a different genus so cross pollination would not be a problem. I grew two plants so I am not sure about whether they are self pollinating. The growth is very tomatolike in the garden.

I happened to grow Giant Yellow which was not very giant and not very yellow but was a good tomatillo. TGS pictures give a nice display of the varieties. Hope my experiences help a bit.

carolyn137 November 1, 2007 02:28 PM


Above is the best website I know of with regard to almost everything you need to know about growing tomatillos.

Some quick answers:

As stated above tomatillos ( Physalis) do not cross with tomatoes ( Solanum)

Tomatillos are self infertile so you need to grow at least two plants to get berries, for that's what the fruits are. Note in the article that pollination from another Physalis sp can occur within a certain distance, but best to plant your at least two plants next to each other.

Not for fresh eating, rather, for salsa's and similar.

And there is a place below on this first page here at Tville in the other veggies and fruit sections for just Tomatoillos if you didn't see it.:)

gardenhappy November 24, 2007 07:29 PM

I have growen them for years and i do know at least when we lived in michigan where there is one,there will be more!:yes:

Tomaddict November 28, 2007 10:09 PM

Carolyn wrote: "Tomatillos are self infertile so you need to grow at least two plants to get berries, for that's what the fruits are. Note in the article that pollination from another Physalis sp can occur within a certain distance, but best to plant your at least two plants next to each other."

I've grown tomatillos a few times, and as gardenhappy notes, they like to volunteer (and I doubt it's a Michigan thing!). A couple of times I've left one volunteer to flower and fruit, and it did so happily and abundantly, with no other tomatillo plant in the garden or the neighborhood, to my knowledge.

So I can't rule out the possibility that some other species of plant nearby is getting involved (maybe a ground cherry, they are also Physalis spp.), but the volunteer seed comes true each year (with Purple tomatillo, the color is rather distinct), so to me it seems to be a solo act. I'm not convinced that more than one plant is necessary, even though the source you cited says that it does take more than one plant.

BTW, Suzanne Ashworth's Seed to Seed states that flowers of Physalis spp. are perfect (a botanical term in this context) and self-pollinating. This seems to contradict the cited source.

Personally, I find that one plant produces an overwhelming amount of fruit for the home gardener who might want a few for a batch or two of salsa. Don't know why I'd ever want two of them!

gssgarden November 15, 2008 09:03 AM

Carolyn mentioned that tomatillos are: Not for fresh eating, rather, for salsa's and similar

Does anyone know for certain if this is the case for Cossack's Pineapple? I'm assuming it's not because I had them at TP6 and LOVED them. I'm just a little confused.
Has anyone grown this one before? I need two plants right?
What would happen if I ate a handful of Tomatillos? Would I get sick?

I could see Cossack's making a great addition to salsa.


newatthiskat November 15, 2008 10:45 AM

Most of the pico I eat is from fresh tomatillos. I haven't gotten sick yet ;)

DeanRIowa November 15, 2008 03:08 PM

I have eaten tomatillos many times fresh from the garden. I have never gotten sick. Traditionally tomatillos are boiled first and then made into salsa.


tantaw0 November 16, 2008 08:07 AM

[B][COLOR=black]Where I live Tomatillos, Texas, are grown by "everyone". My experience with growing them from seed is to treat them like peppers. That is to say that they take longer to germinate than tomato seed normally does. It is not unusual for them to take 10 to 14 days to germinate.[/COLOR][/B]
[B][COLOR=black]I have also found that they are very hardy plants and will do very well in hot, arid climates. I live in Zone 7 and normally in the summer our temps range from highs of 97 to 105 degrees. Hopefully your experience will be like mine. We normally get from 75 to 175 fruits per plant. :D [/COLOR][/B]
[B][COLOR=black]Dave [/COLOR][/B]

Wi-sunflower December 5, 2008 03:03 PM

Most of the people I know that use tomatillos to make "fresh" salsa don't cook them at all.

Generally for salsa you want them more on the green side. Then they have a lemony taste.

When they are "ripe" they turn fairly yellow and are too sweet for most people for salsa. At that point they have a somewhat Plum flavor, at least to me. While I haven't done it myself, I would think you could make a jam from the ripe ones.

Even green tomatillos from the grocery store have a decent germination rate if you save the seeds. I've done it.

gssgarden December 11, 2008 10:30 AM

Trying Cossack Pinapple next year but have a question.

What is the shelf-life on these things? A couple of days? week or two?

Had some at TP6 and was amazed ! I also read all the other posts and you guys came up with some great ideas. I can't wait to try them in fruit salad and salsa.



Wi-sunflower December 24, 2008 11:03 AM

The Aunt Molly's I grow will keep for weeks in the fall. Occasionally we will have some of the last picking for over a month.

The fact that they have the husks protects them from light frosts. It will kill the plant, but the fruit will still be good to pick for quite a while. That's due to the fact that they grow under the plant and aren't exposed like tomatoes can be.

Also I don't remember if it was mentioned in the thread or not -- you don't "pick" them like you do tomatoes or even tomatillos. You wait til they fall off the plant and are on the ground. They will be green if you "pick" them.

Because they grow under the plant, you won't see them much either. So you go around and lift the plant up to see if anything is on the ground.

rutabagaboy May 4, 2009 04:44 PM

Are these Tomatillo seedlings?
2 Attachment(s)
1. I've never seen a tomatillo plant.
2. Someone gave me this cell-pack and told me they are tomatillo seedlings.

Question: Are they?

tantaw0 May 5, 2009 12:43 AM

Tomatillo Plants
[B]If you can grow tomatoes and eggplants from seeds, you can grow tomatillos. All three are members of the 'nightshade family'. All three do best in loose well worked soil and all net 8 hours a day to produce their best. Start the seeds exactly like you would tomato seeds. Plant 1/8th to 1/4 inch deep in good potting soil and kee soil [U]moist[/U] not soggy. Start seeds in a warm dark place. Asl soon as the first seedlings appear, t to 12 days, remove to a light source and keep lithe 3-4 inches above the seedlings. Two weeks after the last frost plant outdoors in a sunny location. In 60 to 98 days you will have tomatillos, tomato, and eggplant.[/B]

[B]Nothing to it! And besides its fun![/B]
[B]Good Luck,[/B]

Wi-sunflower May 5, 2009 10:33 AM

3 Attachment(s)

Your plants MAY be tomatillos, but it's a bit hard to tell as they are still a bit small. They do look rather different than most tomatillos I've grown. Mainly the leaf edges are too smooth, no notches. Also the red on the stem is a bit odd and makes them look rather like pigweed to me.

I'm posting a few pics I just took of tomatillos in my greenhouse.

Pic 1 is of a flat of tomatillos. there is 1 weed in the pic, the second plant from the right with the dark stem. It was pulled right after the pic was taken.

Pic 2 is of a larger plant in a 1 gallon pot.

Pic 3 is the same plant from the back to show a close up of the flowers. I tried to get closer but I couldn't get my camera to focus any closer.

Anyway, you can compare your plants to my pics and decide yourself if you have tomatillos.


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