How to Plant Tomatillo


Tomatillos are also called husk tomatoes, miltomates, Mexican green tomatoes, jamberberries and strawberry tomatoes. They are native to Mexico and have been grown as a food crop for hundreds of years. Tomatillo plants are bushy and grow 3 to 4 feet tall. They will keep flowering and fruiting until the autumn frost kills the plant. The tomatillo fruit looks like a yellowish-green miniature Chinese lantern that is 1 to 2 inches in diameter. Just like tomatoes, tomatillos like full sunlight and moist, fertile soil.

Step 1

Remove all weeds from the planting site with a hoe, and compost or destroy the weeds. Tomatillos do not like competition from other plants for resources.

Step 2

Spread 1 to 2 lbs. of all-purpose fertilizer per 100 square feet of planting area. Dig this to a depth of 4 to 6 inches.

Step 3

Break up dirt clods, remove large rocks and rake the soil smooth.

Step 4

Dig a hole as deep as the rootball and first small leaves on the stem. Fill the hole with water and place the tomatillo in the hole. Fill the hole with soil and mound the soil up 2 to 3 inches around the stem.

Step 5

Place a tomato cage around the seedling to provide support for the tomatillo plant as it grows. Plant other tomatillo plants 3 feet apart and keep the rows 3 to 6 feet apart.

Step 6

Spread a 2-inch layer of straw around the tomatillo plants to help conserve soil moisture and control weed growth.

Tips and Warnings

  • Avoid getting the foliage wet when watering your tomatillo plants. Blight and other foliage diseases are caused by rainy weather and humid conditions. Proper spacing of the tomatillo plants help the water evaporate off the foliage through good air circulation and lessen the chances of developing the blight.

Things You'll Need

  • Hoe
  • All-purpose fertilizer
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Tomato cage
  • Straw


  • Iowa State University Horticulture Guide: Tomatillos

Who Can Help

  • Texas A&M AgriLIFE Extension: Tomatillo
Keywords: tomatillo, Mexican green tomatoes, husk tomatoes

About this Author

Karen Carter has spent the last three years working as a technology specialist in the public school system. This position included hardware/software installation, customer support, and writing training manuals. She also spent four years as a newspaper editor/reporter at the Willapa Harbor Herald.