Tomatillos in Tulsa??

jdlaugh(Zone 6)May 10, 2012

I bought a Tomatillo transplant last month in the Broken Arrow farmers market and it's growing great, but there's been one small problem -- I only bought ONE.

I just learned you need to have two to cross-pollinate if you want fruit. Anybody know a source for Tomatillo transplants in Tulsa?

I can find seed but that's not much help since my plant is already flowering. The usual places I frequent don't carry Tomatillo transplants

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cjlambert(6b Tulsa)

I didn't know that tomatillos need cross-pollination, but I've always had at least two, so...

Check the ace hardware at 41st & Peoria, and also Stringer on 41st between Sheridan and Memorial.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 6:59PM
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I always plant more than one because we like them so well, but had one plant volunteer in greenhouse and set fruit last winter, so don't think it is necessary to have more than one.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 9:31PM
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jdlaugh(Zone 6)

I've just been reading today on tomaillos, but have seen several articles that mention you need a second plant.

Here's a paragraph from Wikipedia:
Tomatillo plants are highly self-incompatible (two or more plants are needed for proper pollination; thus isolated tomatillo plants rarely set fruit).[1]

I tried Lowes, Home Depot and Stringer Nursery. The ACE Westlake at 91st & Memorial didn't have them. Maybe I will give the 41st ACE a try.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2012 at 10:14PM
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mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

Im almost positive I saw them at Southwood Landscape at 91st and riverside. It was couple weeks ago though.

Id call them
(918) 299-9409


    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 9:05AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Tomatillos are kind of weird. Technically, they are self-fertile, have perfect flowers and will (or should) fertilize themselves. However, they seem highly variable in their performance and that has caused some gardening experts or writers to label them as self-infertile. I think maybe they are capable of being self-fertile but sometimes fail to self-fertilize, leading to their common description of being self-infertile. In one university study I read years ago, they found that a certain percentage (it was a small percentage) of the tomatillo plants they raised from seed and isolated from one another did self-fertilize, but that most did not. So, depending on whether you've raised the self-fertilizing ones versus the ones that haven't fertilized themselves, you could argue they either are or aren't self-fertile, and you'd be right either way based on your own experiences.

Some people will plant one plant and never get fertilization and never get fruit. Others will get fruit from only one plant every year. (This especially seems true with the purple tomatillo.)

One explanation for the misunderstanding about whether they are or aren't self-fertile might be that they can be stubborn about fertilizing in certain conditions, so if you are growing in those conditions, they might seem like they cannot fertilize themselves. In some parts of the US, they flower for weeks or months before they finally start setting fruit. It might be related to nighttime temperatures or daylength.

A lot of people do get tomatillos with just one plant, but it is possible they're being fertilized by pollen from one of the related wild plants in their family. Or, they just happen to have one of the plants that does fertilize itself easily. Here where I live, I think you could get fruit easily from one plant because we have their wild relatives all over the place in large numbers most summers.

I've seen tomatillos in lots of stores, but I am at the wrong end of the state to help you. Look at any store that sells plants from Bonnie Plants. I've seen tomatillos from Bonnie Plants at various Wal-Marts, Lowe's and Home Depots in north Texas and southern Oklahoma. I know I saw them in late March and in April. If you aren't finding any now, it might just be that they've sold out. On their own website, which I've linked below, Bonnie Plants says you need two plants to get fertilization.

I think probably the best way to accurately say it is that while tomatillos are, technically, self-fertilizing, they often fail to self-fertilize so to guarantee a crop you should plant two or more plants.


Here is a link that might be useful: BP Website

    Bookmark   May 11, 2012 at 10:20AM
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jdlaugh(Zone 6)

Thanks for the detailed response, Dawn. I found a contact email on the Bonnie site and actually got a response from them -- their local distributor may be out of tomatillos but I have a number to call.

Even if I can't find a second plant, I will take the gamble and leave it for awhile and see if anything develops. I read tomatillos are distant cousins to tomatoes and egg plants, and I have both planted in the same bed. Sadly, no gooseberries lurking nearby. :)

In the end, I'm only out a couple dollars if nothing happens.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 7:34AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

You're welcome. I hope you can find a second plant. Or, if see a packet of seeds, buy it and direct sow a handful in the ground and you'll be harvesting in August or maybe even July. When I grew them in Texas, I only had to plant them the first year. After that, they reseeded themselves (prolifically) every year.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 12:36PM
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jdlaugh(Zone 6)

I found a second plant at Southwood. Mike, thanks for the tip!

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 1:29PM
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I was not aware about Tomatillo pollination issues. I am glad that I have planted two plants side by side, both plants growing very fast, producing lot of flowers but not fruit set yet. Dawn's post explains why it not set fruit yet! -Chandra

    Bookmark   May 12, 2012 at 11:10PM
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