Tomatillo (Physalis philadelphica subsp. ixocarpa)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Tomatillo
Give a thumbs up Husk Tomato
Give a thumbs up Miltomate
Give a thumbs up Tomate de Fresadilla

Botanical names:
Physalis philadelphica subsp. ixocarpa Accepted
Physalis ixocarpa Synonym

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Herb/Forb
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Mesic
Dry Mesic
Soil pH Preferences: Neutral (6.6 – 7.3)
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 10a -1.1 °C (30 °F) to +1.7 °C (35 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 11
Plant Height: 36 - 48 inches
Plant Spread: 36 - 48 inches
Fruit: Showy
Edible to birds
Fruiting Time: Summer
Flowers: Showy
Flower Color: Green
Other: Green
Bloom Size: 1"-2"
Flower Time: Spring
Other: Varies depending on when planted
Uses: Medicinal Herb
Will Naturalize
Suitable as Annual
Edible Parts: Fruit
Eating Methods: Raw
Wildlife Attractant: Bees
Resistances: Drought tolerant
Propagation: Seeds: Provide light
Days to germinate: 4-8 days
Start indoors
Can handle transplanting
Other info: Self sterile, must have 2 or more plants to bear fruit
Propagation: Other methods: Cuttings: Stem
Cuttings: Tip
Pollinators: Bees
Containers: Needs excellent drainage in pots


Posted by flaflwrgrl (North Fl. - Zone 8b) on Jun 17, 2013 6:03 PM

The tomatillo is native to Mexico & Central America and is used extensively in salsa. Tomatillo is in the tomato family. You grow it just as you do tomatoes. It also benefits from staking or caging, as tomatoes do, in order to keep fungus from taking hold and to keep the fruit off the ground. Tomatillos will, like their cousin the tomato, develop roots along the stem. Also like their cousin the tomato, tomatillos benefit from being planted deep and they will develop roots along the stem portion you planted.

Tomatillo takes anywhere from 75 to 100 days to produce fruit. The fruit itself looks like a green tomato, only smaller, but it is encased in a papery shell, which is green & purple and then turns brown. There are purple & yellow varieties. While growing, the fruit with its shell looks much like little Chinese lanterns. When you remove the papery husk, the fruit itself is sticky & can leave some residue on your hands. Just wash the fruit (& your hands) before using. Tomatillo is frost tender, just like tomatoes, but it will bear fruit right up until frost.

When the fruit is ripe, it splits the paper husk. Store them in the fridge, in their husk, for up to a month, or you can put them in a paper bag in the fridge.

It is difficult to describe the flavor of the fruit. It is sweet & tart & tangy and it has citrusy undertones. It's really quite pleasant tasting and I add them to tossed salads to give them some zing and I throw some into stir-fry dishes.

Tomatillos will self sow if you leave fruits to rot on the ground. Next spring you may discover many volunteers all over the place.


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