Tomatillo -- flowers = fruit?

katib_gardener(9)May 28, 2008

I planted some tomatillos this year along with my tomatoes. 3 plants have survived and they are flowering like crazy. When can I expect them to produce fruit? I've read mixed opinions on the need to have more than one tomatillo plant for pollination. How close do I need to put them? They are 20-30ft apart currently, but I could move them if they need to be closer.

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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

That's close enough. And yes, more than one plant is necessary b/c the blossoms, although perfect, are infertile and thus self pollenization can't occur.

Some say that they get fruits with just one plant but other Physalis sp. can pollinate the blossoms as well, as explained in the link below which Is the best link I know of re this incompatibility problem.


Here is a link that might be useful: Tomatillo Culture

    Bookmark   May 28, 2008 at 10:36PM
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tomatonut(9a FL)

I am in the same boat. After learning (much to my chagrin) a couple years ago that one plant wasn't going to do it I planted three this year (just to be on the safe side) and so far huge plants, tons of flowers and false green "balloons" where the fruits are supposed to be, but do not show up. Do some take a long time for the fruits to set?

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 11:22AM
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The fruits grow inside the balloons--I would think if you're getting balloons, they have successfully fruited. And yes, it can take a long time for them to grow, you should wait until they have turned yellowish for the best flavor, which could be 2-3 months.
Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 12:53PM
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bruce59(zone 9 Sacramento, CA)

Interesting thread. I planted 1 tomatillo this year, not knowing that I needed more than one for pollination. I have plenty of flowers that are then developing the husks. That being said, will the husks just be empty or will they develope fruit?


    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 2:57PM
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sunnyk(Z6 SW Coastal CT)

Last year, I only planted one Tomatillo. It was covered in beautiful yellow flowers, followed by little balloons. That never got big and they never filled out with fruit. I hope you have better luck with your singular plant than I did.
I have heard that there is a purple variety that may be self fertile, but I don't know which , or if that was just someone talking LOL.
I have 4 plants going this year, and if I can get the flea beetles to leave them alone I will be all set :)


    Bookmark   June 2, 2008 at 5:24PM
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Update on the tomatillos, I have 3 plants that survived transplant and they are all blooming and growing pretty fast. But I haven't seen any 'balloons' form yet. I wonder if these have a hard time in the heat just like my tomatoes?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:08AM
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daryljurassic(OHIO 6a)

Hmm, I only have one planted and it has the little ballons...Looks like my bubble(s) has been bursted...Curious how big the plant gets. This one is in a 15 gallon pot. Could I add a 2nd one??? If not, how close do they need to be? I bought it at a little mom & pop nursery. I'm surprised she didn't try to sell me another one...?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 9:29AM
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carolyn137(z4/5 NY)

If you read the link that I posted above you'd see where it was mentioned that a single tomatotillo plant can be fertilized from pollen from another species Physlis genus if it was within x meters of the tomatillo. ( I forgot the distance but it's in that link.)

B/c there have been a few folks who have said that they had only one plant and gotten fruits and no doubt that was due to pollen from another Physlis species being close enough.

The good news is that once you have producing tomatillos you'll always have tomatotillos b'c the ones that drop form volunteer plants like crazy. LOL


    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 11:00AM
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i planted 2 from seed in a container last year and had tomatillos coming out of my ears.they do get big (7 feet) and i was pruning because of space.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2008 at 6:38PM
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First attempt at tomatillos this year. Put several seedlings in one container and have a bushy, healthy-looking cluster of stems - similar to iris or phlox perennials - with blossoms. Any chance this will bear fruit this year? Seeking advice on how to prune and stake it, then next year will plant a couple tomatillo containers. Thanks!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 9:39AM
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Room. lots of room. They can get as wide as they do tall.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2008 at 12:26PM
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