Growing A Tomatillo Plant: Tips & Tricks

  • By: Succulents Plants
  • Date: December 17, 2022
  • Time to read: 6 min.
Tomatillo Plants
Photo by courtesy of AnVyChicago

Are you interested in growing a unique and delicious vegetable in your garden this season? Tomatillo plants, also known as Mexican husk tomatoes, are an exciting and flavorful addition to any garden. Whether you’re a novice or an experienced gardener, this article has plenty of helpful tips and tricks on growing a tomatillo plant. Read on to learn everything you need to know about planting, caring for, and harvesting tomatillo plants!

What is a Tomatillo Plant?

A tomatillo plant is a member of the nightshade family and is related to the tomato and eggplant. The tomatillo plant has a distinctive, thin green husk that wraps around the fleshy fruit. The tomatillo fruit is much smaller than a tomato, but it has a tart and tangy flavor that is unique and delicious. The tomatillo fruit can be used in various dishes, such as salsa, guacamole, and chili.

Tomatillos are annual plants and are typically grown in warmer months. This is because they require a long growing season to produce fruit. They prefer full to partial sun and need to be planted in well-draining soil with plenty of organic matter. The fruits will be ready to harvest when they are soft, and the husk turns brown.

Planting Tomatillos

The ideal location for tomatillo plants should have full sun, meaning the plants should get six to eight hours of direct sunlight. Tomatillos also need lots of airflow, so planting in an area with good air circulation is essential for helping to prevent mildew and other diseases.

Another factor you will want to take into account is soil type. Tomatillos thrive best in well-drained soil high in organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. If your soil is heavy and clay-like, you can add some organic material and till the soil to help aerate it. Consider adding a bit of mulch or a ground cover to help retain moisture in the soil.

Tomatillo plants should be spaced at least 24 inches apart to encourage airflow and reduce the chance of diseases between plants. It would be best if you also gave the plants a bit of room to grow as they can reach heights of up to four feet.

Preparing the Soil

Tomatillos require well-draining soil for them to grow and produce fruit. The soil should be amended with plenty of compost and a balanced fertilizer. If growing them in a pot, use a soil mix specifically designed for containers.

Before planting, test the soil in your garden or container. You want to soil with a pH of 6.0 to 6.8, which is slightly acidic. If the pH is too low, use lime to adjust it so that the tomatillos can thrive.

Tomatillos need at least six hours sunlight daily to flower and produce fruits. If you are planting them in a garden, be sure to place them in a location that gets full sun and avoid areas that may be too shady.

Once you have prepared the soil and determined the sun exposure, you are ready to plant your tomatillos. Plant them at least two feet apart and set their roots in the soil at a depth so that the plants are slightly more profound than they were grown in the pot. Be sure to water the soil regularly to keep it evenly moist but not soggy.

Watering and Feeding

Tomatillos need plenty of water and nutrients to flourish, so they must develop a watering and feeding routine. Generally, we suggest watering your tomatillo plant about once a week, depending on the season and climate. Keep the soil consistently moist, but be careful not to overwater.

You can do this through organic fertilizers and compost when it comes to feeding your tomatillo plant. The best fertilizers for a tomatillo plant include bone meal, blood meal, and fish emulsion. You can use these fertilizers every few weeks throughout the season.

You can use it as a soil amendment and side dressing around the base of the plant once every month or so. Try to use high-quality compost with plenty of nutrients, and spread it at least six inches away from the base of the plant to prevent any root burn.

Developing a consistent watering and feeding schedule is key to growing a successful tomatillo plant. Keep the soil consistently moist, use organic fertilizers and compost, and you’ll be sure to have a thriving tomatillo plant all season long.

Pruning and Training

It’s best to start pruning shortly after the tomatillo plant has sprouted. Start by pruning off the top of the plant’s main stem, ensuring that the height is kept to a reasonable level. This will help stimulate lateral branching, leading to a fuller, bushier plant. Additionally, you can cut off any dead or damaged leaves and stems to keep the plant healthy.

When it comes to training, it’s best to tie the plant’s main stem to something sturdy like a trellis or a stake. This will prevent the plant from falling over, which can damage the leaves and stems. You can also use string to tie the lateral branches to the trellis, promoting additional growth.

Disease and Pest Control

Start by purchasing healthy, disease-resistant seeds or transplants from a reputable garden center. Plant your tomatillo plant in full sun in well-draining soil. To ensure adequate nutrients, supplement with a balanced fertilizer and make sure your soil pH ranges between 6.2 and 7.0. Watering regularly is also essential to keep your tomatillo plant healthy.

Keep an eye out for anthracnose, a fungal disease that causes the leaves to turn yellow and brown and the fruit to rot. The best way to deal with this is to remove affected leaves and spray them with a fungicide. Mildew is another disease that can attack tomatillo plants, causing the leaves to turn yellow and drop prematurely. Again, remove affected leaves and spray with a fungicide containing chlorothalonil or mancozeb.

Pests pose a more significant challenge for tomatillo plants than diseases. Aphids stink bugs, and Japanese beetles are all common pests that can attack the foliage of your plants, sucking out the juices and leaving behind a soot-like substance. Monitor your plants regularly for signs of infestation and use a neem oil spray to protect them. Predatory insects, such as ladybugs and lacewings, also help keep pest populations at bay.

It is also essential to practice good garden hygiene. Remove any fallen leaves or fruit as soon as you see them and dispose of them away from the garden. Additionally, avoid overwatering and water in the morning instead of in the evening to give the foliage time to dry. Finally, practice crop rotation to avoid re-infection of the same area in subsequent years.

Harvesting Tomatillos

Tomatillo fruits are ready to be picked when they are at least two inches in diameter, and the husks have turned light brown. Once they’re ripe, they should be picked as soon as possible.

Inspect the tomatillo fruits regularly, as they can become overripe and split, affecting the taste and texture of the tomatillo. It’s best to pick the tomatillos by hand, as they can be pretty delicate. Use caution when handling the tomatillos, as the husk can easily tear or break.

Once the tomatillos are harvested, they should be used immediately or stored in a cool, dry place. If you’re storing them, ensure they’re in a sealed container. Tomatillos can be stored for up to a week, but it’s best to use them as soon as possible for the best taste.

Harvesting your tomatillos correctly can help you to get the most out of your tomatillo plant! Proper harvesting and storage techniques can maximize the yield and ensure that your tomatillos always have the best taste and texture.


Growing tomatillo plants can be a great way to bring flavor and nutrition to your meals. Growing tomatillos is easy and rewarding, so why not try?

Beginners should start with a small tomatillo plant and grow it in a sunny location with well-drained soil. This is the best way to give your tomatillo plant the best chance for success. Once established, tomatillos need proper watering and occasional pruning to help them thrive and produce plenty of fruits.

Regular pest control and disease monitoring are essential for healthy plants, and various organic and non-organic options are available to help keep your tomatillo plant healthy. Tomatillos must be harvested when the fruits are still green, usually 70-90 days after planting.

Growing tomatillo plants can be a rewarding experience that adds beauty and flavor to your kitchen. With the right tips, tricks, and commitment, any gardener can quickly produce a bountiful harvest of their tomatillos. So, why not take the plunge and start your tomatillo plant today?


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