Los Lunas, NM

Hi, my tomatillo plant is huge! But no tomatillos! When do they come and what should I do to get tomatillos?

Thumbnail by akc87031
Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

Mine is getting long and spindley too. I see blossoms but no fruit yet.

Troy, NY(Zone 5b)

I am having the same problem and after a little research it seems you need at least two for cross pollination.

I have one healthy plant full of blossoms and no fruit UGHHH

So I guess next year it is start a few seedlings and then maybe I will have the pico di gallo I love so much. I was growing all the ingredients this year and the tomatillo is the only thing missing!

North, TX

I'm another with tomatillo plants blooming like crazy but no fruit!! Two plants growing side by side; the largest grew ahead of the smaller one but they both have blooms now. Of course they've been blooming for months now??

I have been searching for info but not much out there about tomatillos that I could find.

I did read that they are late summer fruiters ~ so I'm still hoping. My dh seems to think they are going to start producing fruit any day now... and was commenting on how healthy the plants look.

North, TX

Okay I was just reading that the tomatillo needs a long growing season and should be sown indoors 5-6 weeks before last frost. I direct sowed mine and it was the end of May before I was able to sow anything due to cold temps. Hmm..

here's the website I was reading:

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

For those in TX, it's probably too hot for them to set fruit. They'll bloom, but not set fruit until it cools down a bit. You know, in October! LOL

North, TX

Thanks Stephanietx! LOL too true!!

I think us first timers are wondering where's the fruit? But you have given me new hope that they are on the way. It certainly has been hot here!

It's a good thing I was born with patience... perfect for gardening!!!

And bookreader, I also love pico de gallo but I'm also having a hard time getting cilantro to grow!! Both tomatillos and cilantro are described as "Easy to grow"...not for me!

Troy, NY(Zone 5b)

I have all my herbs in pots and hanging planters. I have several differents basils, oregano, sage, thyme, parsley, marjoram, chives and cilantro in huge pots along the back of the house. It is North facing and they get partial sun. They grow very well like this for me and I have enough to dry and get me through the winter.

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Cilantro won't grow in the heat. it's another one of those things that you plant about now and it'll grow in the cooler weather.

North, TX

Thank you again Stephanie!! I guess my thinking is a little 'off' on the Mexican staples...I've been thinking of them as sun and heat loving! Obviously not!!! LOL

Okay I'll give it another (4th) try!! I will try putting it in a container to get some shade, as suggested by bookreader ~ and thank you.

I have added freezing to my storage of herbs. This is great so far, the dill and parsley have that fresh flavor when taken from the freezer. Basil too. I was thinking of trying to freeze the cilantro but haven't had a chance since I can't seem to grow it!!! LOL

Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

You might find this helpful, wild. It's to Ann McCormick's herb information. She's located here in FW, so her info is good for Texans. You might need to adjust the planting dates a bit, but it'll help.

Troy, NY(Zone 5b)

I freeze basil and cilantro. But if frozen it is better if your cooking with it instead of trying to use it like fresh. I am a herb and spice freak and what I can't grow myself I order from either Penzey's or World Spice merchants.

Just and FYI you can freeze pesto too.

North, TX

The cooler weather brought on the tomatillos! I'm sure you're not surprised stephanietx, but I was. LOL

the past couple of weeks I saw two bumble bees on the blooms almost daily! I'm thrilled to see the fruits coming! Now to keep the weather cool but not too cold!

How about you akc?

North, TX

here they are

Thumbnail by Allwild
Fort Worth, TX(Zone 8a)

Aren't they pretty?!?

Choteau, MT

Here in north-central MT my tomatillos self-seed (even sometimes in the cracks of the sidewalk!) and thrive with little if any care. I have no idea why they are so vigorous. I picked all the fruits a couple of weeks ago before a hard frost, and on Sunday made a big batch of salsa verde - my best ever! I canned it last night and this morning, much to my dismay, discovered what appear to be numerous tiny little white worms of some sort that bubbled to the top in the jars. Does anyone have any ideas what they might be? I assume the tomatillos might be the source - the only other things I put in were onions, garlic, jalapenos, lemon juice, and vinegar. Yet I checked all the tomatillos and discarded any imperfect fruits. Help...!?!

North, TX

gosh wendy, I wish I knew.
what a shame after all of your work & being the best ever!!! Sorry to hear!

I had a similar problem with my wild plums. there were little tiny white worms that bore holes in the plums, even while still on the tree. I ended up with one jar of plum chutney out of all of the fruit. It's delish though!!

Delray Beach, FL(Zone 10a)

Allwild, I have been watching this thread with interest. I love salsa verde! I will have to order seeds though as I have found none locally. I am wondering if it is too hot here to grow tomatillos. Guess I better get growing before the hot season rolls around again.....

WendyCM, So sorry about those little worms. Hope you find the answer to avoiding them!

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

I think you need to add phosphate (the middle #) when the plant is growing that well but not setting fruit usually the nitogen is too high and phosphate is too low.

North, TX

Thank you for the soil info Lisa, very helpful!

KathySEFL, I was looking in the DG plant files under the various varieties of tomatillos and there are many in Florida and other hot regions that say the tomatillo grows well for them.
Maybe it's too hot here in Tx in comparison to these other places, so I think you should be able to grow them.
I will plan to save seeds and let you know when they are ready if you want me to send you some. I think you should wait till spring to grow them, start indoors and then put out after danger of frost (if it gets that cold where you are). In your climate, you may even be able to get two crops if you plant in spring and late summer.

wendycm, I was wondering if some sort of larvae was around your garden, that could be what the little white things were. Just a thought. I know I would want to know what was going on too, if that happened to me!!

Yesterday I made some basil infused olive oil. I picked the basil, washed it in a bowl of water, tore each leaf off of the stems, set them out on a towel and dried them each individually and after I put the basil in the bottle and filled it with olive oil...there was a big black spider moving in the bottom of the bottle!! I couldn't believe it I was so careful to look for bugs! Anyway I started from the beginning and made another bottle!

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Tomatillos grow well here in our heat in Phoenix - no problem. We can plant them pretty much from January through August direct sowing and transplants in March and April.

Philadelphia, PA(Zone 6b)

Aren't tomatillos highly self-incompatible? You need two plants for them to fruit, I think sometimes a single plant will set some fruit but very little. So for those who have the problem and only have one plant, could likely be the source of the problem.

Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

I think you may be right about needing two plants. I have just one plant and even though it's huge and gangly with all sorts of 'pods' -- (they look like hot air balloons) -- only a few of the pods actually have any fruit in them.

Phoenix, AZ(Zone 9a)

Tomatillos are not self fertilizing; you will need at least two tomatillo plants in order to get fruit. Of course if someone is growing them near you you may get lucky and have a bee visit both plants;o)

Here's a good article on growing tomatillos...

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

WOW! I thought they were like tomatoes learn something new everyday.

Pilot Point, TX(Zone 7b)

Well.... I don't know HOW it happened...but my ONE tomatillo plant has finally started to produce its fruit. I live on 10acres....and I'm pretty sure I'm the only one growing tomatillos in my neighborhood. I do have tomatoes and peppers growing near by so maybe that's why I finally got some fruit. ~Dunno....??

The plant itself is a little wild-looking when it grows...but I sure like looking at all those little pods. They look like little 'hot air balloons'. Each little pod has the fruit (tomatillo) inside and they seem to ripen much like a tomato in that there are different batches. So it looks like I'll have tomatillos for a little while. I'll definitely plant tomatillos again.

sydney (menai), Australia

hi from australia,
thanks for all the info because my tomatillo is full of flowers and at least I know not to panic if they don't fruit quickly. I hope there's two plants out there as I planted out all the seed I had.

Liberty Hill, TX(Zone 8a)

Hey, we're freezing here, and hearing about your plants blooming only makes it seem colder. Kidding, kind of.

sydney (menai), Australia

Since I've discovered that somehow out of all the seed I sowed, I only have one tomatillo plant. I done a bit of research and posted on australian forum and its seems that the tomatillo is self fertile but very fussy about pollination. i hope thats true because i don't have anymore seeds.
Anyhow, it got me thinking about bees and pollination because australian native bees vibrate the plant rapidly when they visit, which european bees do not and perhaps there was some insect native to south america that the tomatillo relies on to help it pollinate. I thought of this because of a suggestion to use an electric toothbrush to vibrate the flower to helk it pollinate.
Anyhow, i'll let you know if this one plant sets fruit and in the mean time experiment with the electric toothbrush !! ( neighbours will think I've gone mad!)

Cedar Rapids, IA

It sounds like you might have too much nitrogen in the soil. I am from Iowa though so don't know much about growing tomatillos in Texas. They are my no fail crop here though. (along with big jim chiles). Just plant, mulch, harvest!

I have this problem with tomatoes when I put in too much nitrogen though.

Cincinnati, OH

This is all new to me, I just learned this looking it up, I'm not sure if I understand correctly.

It sounds like the Tomatillo may not bear fruit or fertile seeds unless there is a second Tomatillo plant nearby that has significantly different genetics. Tomatillo plants may not bear fruit or fertile seeds if the only Tomatillo in close proximity is a close relative or a plant with very similar genetics. It seems it may take a Tomatillo plant from another family with significantly different genetics before it might have a significant chance of bearing fruit or fertile seed. It seems that the Tomatillo has some sort of sophisticated reproductive cycle that prevents inbreeding.

Tomatillo plants are highly self-incompatible

Self-incompatibility (SI) is a general name for several genetic mechanisms in angiosperms, which prevent self-fertilization and thus encourage outcrossing. In plants with SI, when a pollen grain produced in a plant reaches a stigma of the same plant or another plant with a similar genotype, the process of pollen germination, pollen tube growth, ovule fertilization, and embryo development is halted at one of its stages, and consequently no seeds are produced.

It sounds like if you want to have the best possibility of having fruit bearing plants that have fertile seeds, you might want to get plants or seeds from separate sources so they likely have considerably different genetics.

This message was edited Mar 15, 2010 9:29 AM

(I think the advice that others gave about temperature as a possible cause for the plants not bearing fruit is probably very good knowledgeable advice. I think itís also important to consider that there are other possibilities and variables for the plant not bearing fruit. Often there are many variables/conditions that have to be met before a plant will bear fruit and have fertile seeds)

This message was edited Mar 15, 2010 3:47 PM

North, TX

Very interesting! Hmmm... I'll give it a try with two different seed sources (that I have on hand) and see what happens.

sydney (menai), Australia

Just to let you know that my tomotillo did indeed set fruit with help from our native bees with only one plant. it am just about ready to harvest - can't wait.
Oddly, I have one branch that has much whiter calyx and fruit.

Dalton, GA(Zone 7b)

I only bought one type of tomatillo seed this year--I will have 2 plants of the same variety-will that work? if not, will they pollinate with ground cherries around? (Also growing these for the first time--looks like related, but not the same species)

Louisville, CO

Hi there...

I have a row of tomatillo plants that are about 2 1/2 ft. high....but, I just realized something. I didn't space them correctly...according to my seed package it says plants should be spaced 10-12" apart!!! Uh oh?!!! Should I try transplanting some of the smaller ones and just leave the most vigorous ones? Hmmm...what to do.

North, TX

that's what I did this year. They really do spread out and one plant is probably twice as wide as it is tall!! the ones I transplated are doing fine.

Aurora, CO

I am looking for tomatillo pollen. I have one tomatillo plant with a LOT of blossoms (it's about 4.5 feet tall and has maybe 50 flowers on it), but I've come to learn that tomatillos can't pollinate themselves. (Wish I'd grown 2 or more).

So, if you have some tomatillo pollen you can put in a ziploc, I'll PayPal you some money or send you some of my pollen in exchange. Please let me know... I've posted my address below, or you can just contact me through the forum here.


Jonathan Kraft
3255 South Parker Road #1712
Denver, CO 80014

Magnolia, TX(Zone 8b)

The little white worms will turn into little moths I believe. If you have ever harvested mulberries? You know to float the fruit because you will get tiny little worms that bob to the surface from an apparently bug free fruit, I forget which 'bug' the tomatillo is home to, BUT float your fruit before using guys!

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