Growing Tomatillos in the Home Garden

— Written By
en Español / em Português

El inglés es el idioma de control de esta página. En la medida en que haya algún conflicto entre la traducción al inglés y la traducción, el inglés prevalece.

Al hacer clic en el enlace de traducción se activa un servicio de traducción gratuito para convertir la página al español. Al igual que con cualquier traducción por Internet, la conversión no es sensible al contexto y puede que no traduzca el texto en su significado original. NC State Extension no garantiza la exactitud del texto traducido. Por favor, tenga en cuenta que algunas aplicaciones y/o servicios pueden no funcionar como se espera cuando se traducen.


Inglês é o idioma de controle desta página. Na medida que haja algum conflito entre o texto original em Inglês e a tradução, o Inglês prevalece.

Ao clicar no link de tradução, um serviço gratuito de tradução será ativado para converter a página para o Português. Como em qualquer tradução pela internet, a conversão não é sensivel ao contexto e pode não ocorrer a tradução para o significado orginal. O serviço de Extensão da Carolina do Norte (NC State Extension) não garante a exatidão do texto traduzido. Por favor, observe que algumas funções ou serviços podem não funcionar como esperado após a tradução.


English is the controlling language of this page. To the extent there is any conflict between the English text and the translation, English controls.

Clicking on the translation link activates a free translation service to convert the page to Spanish. As with any Internet translation, the conversion is not context-sensitive and may not translate the text to its original meaning. NC State Extension does not guarantee the accuracy of the translated text. Please note that some applications and/or services may not function as expected when translated.

Collapse ▲

Tomatillo Physalis philidelphica is similar to tomato and is in the Solanaceae family. It produces round green or purple fruit that can be used in various ways. Plants are native to Mexico and Central America. The fruit is slightly acidic, providing a tangy citrus flavor. Fruits are encased in a paper husk with a sticky film that should be washed before use. All other parts of the plant are poisonous except the ripe fruit. These plants are easy to grow, with plants reaching 3-4 feet tall and wide at maturity. Flowers are a yellow/gold color with a green or dark center. Each plant can produce 2-3 pounds of fruit, with ripe fruit ready to harvest in 60 to 75 days. Fruit production will continue until the first frost. 

Cultivars/ Varieties

There are many different cultivars of tomatillos. The cultivar ‘Pineapple’ has fruits that taste similar to pineapples. Another cultivar variety ‘Purple Coban’ produces purple fruit instead of green fruit. Other cultivars, ‘Cisneros’, ‘de Milpa,’ and ‘Super Verde,’ are popular tomatillos to grow due to high fruit yield and better pest resistance.


Plants should be seeded six to eight weeks before outdoor planting. Stems of the tomatillo plant are easily propagated. By transplanting, plants will mature 4-5 weeks quicker than if seeded directly. Direct seeding is another option and should be done after the last frost. 

Soil Preparation

Tomatillos prefer a soil pH range of 6.0 to 7.0. Avoid planting in soils with poor drainage, and plants can be planted in raised beds or containers. A sandy, silty loam with good drainage is the preferred soil condition for growing tomatillos. A thin 1-inch layer of compost can be added per 100 square feet. Testing your soil before planting is recommended to determine fertilizer needs and adjustments to the soil,

Planting and Care

Tomatillos are cared for similarly to tomatoes, with one key difference. Tomatillos prefer to cross-pollinate, requiring at least two plants to be planted in your garden for a better fruit set. At least 6 hours or more of direct sunlight is preferred. Plants have a sprawling growth habit and will need the support of a tomato cage or a trellis system. Seedlings should be planted 2 feet apart with rows spaced 3 feet apart. Tips of plants can be pinched off to limit growth if space becomes a concern. Plants should be watered with 1-2 inches of water a week and plants are relatively drought tolerant.

Insects and Diseases

Tomatillo plants suffer from the same insect problems as tomato plants. Common pests include the Three-lined Potato Beetle,  tomato fruit worm, aphids, and cutworms. Tomato leaf curl and turnip Mosaic are both diseases documented that can affect Tomatillos. Crop rotation is recommended to help decrease the risk of disease.

Matthew Clay is Horticulture Agent for North Carolina Cooperative Extension in Wilkes County.