Tomatillo Grex

About six growers sent in tomatillo seeds. Most of them said that the tomatillos are self-seeding in their gardens. (My favorite plant behavior).

How did they grow for you?


Not much to report yet. I started a few inside from the grex. Alongside some “chupon de malinalco” from baker creek that are supposed to be really large fruited. Will be an interesting comparison. And they will go next to each other for cross pollination and contributing seed back.


They didn’t grow very well for me and I usually can grow tomatillos like weeds. Hope they become a weed like Matt’s Wild Cherry, but didn’t have enough large fruit want to save seed. Loved the color diversity. Lots of small purple yellow tomatillos.

I harvested the tomatillos today. They grew great for me. I prefer super-sweet yellow or purple tomatillos, so I skipped harvesting some green-fruited plants. Like always, I tasted them before harvest, therefore I skipped harvesting some because of flavor.

Hmm… Don’t all green Tomatillos eventually ripen to yellow or pale yellow? I’ve seen it happen many times at the grocery store with the occasional Yellow wrinkled Tomatillo next to all the green ones.

No, they might get lighter green, but not yellow. I have some left that I harvested last september and they are still light green. The way I understand it it’s more common to be green when ripe than to ripen to yellow.

Interesting, Green Tomatillos kind of scare me because I also think of them as Green Physalis which are toxic. It adds some confusion since Green Tomatillos are Green when ripe. I mean you can tell an unripe Green Tomatillo from a Ripe Green Tomatillo just by the shade of Green right?

I ask because here’s what I found at the Grocery Store. All sold as Green Tomatillo.

Tomatillos are almost mandatory outcrossing which makes that varieties aren’t fully uniform. As I understand it, tomatillos are usually picked before they are fully ripe so anything might be sold as green tomatillos. Within the same plant you can see differences in the shade, but unless you wait until the end you don’t know which is the ripe colour. Last year I had 2/14 varieties yellow. One of them I knew, but the other was a surprise that I only noticed when they got to ripen long enough. That had a long colour change period with whitish green colour for a long time which made it more difficult. The other I had went from dark green to yellow within week or so.

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The husk often changes color and starts to split open when green tomatillos are ripe.

Also, if you are harvesting them, you can look for when some start to drop off the plant. The extent ripe fruit drops may depend on the species or variety, I’m not experienced to know.

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Atleast some of them husk seemed to open well before full ripeness, although I did take it as a sign to pick for cooking. If I remember correctly, that one yellow did come off before colour was fully changed and only got it’s final colour inside. Otherwise I didn’t have that much time follow if they would fall as most wouldn’t have time for full ripeness here anyway. And didn’t wan’t mice to get their teeth on them.

Does that mean they have to to cross with other physalis species if none if it’s own are around? It would also explain why I got no tomatillos from just 1 plant.

Also Why can’t I cross Tomatillo (Physalis ixocarpa) with Goldenberry (Physalis peruviana)?

but ripe how? For Seed ripe or for cooking ripe?

Does it ripen better with the husk on?

In my limited experience, ripe for both. I’m really glad folks with more experience are also posting.

I did sow my saved green tomatillo seeds so I will hopefully have a few green and a few yellow tomatillos planted in the garden again this year. My yellow tomatillos are descended of the Malinco type.

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Malinco type? like Long? Is this it?

Yes the ones I grew last year looked just like that.

Larger than the ground cherries I’ve personally grown or found wild locally, and almost sweet.

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WHOA!!! Tomatillos about as sweet as Ground cherries!? Yo my dreams of increasing Ground Cherry fruit Size are coming true!
If Tomatoes can get this huge, why can’t ground cherries? Bruh it’s the size of a Large Melon!


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I don’t speculate with crossing other physalis species. I wouldn think they don’t cross just like that, especially if species are not very closely related. Single plant might be more likely resort to self pollination if there is lack of other plants of the same species. I have read that this happens if there aren’t any other way.

Seeds are the first to ripen in fruits so it’s hard to have immature seeds as long as fruits are fully formed. In tomatillos husk spilling might be good indication when seeds are definetely ripe and when husk changes colour, it’s physically as ripe as it gets.

I don’t think husk makes any difference in ripening.

Personally I would say queen of malinca was not as sweet as ground cherries, not even close, but still noticeably sweet. There was one variety, that wasn’t even yellow but greenish purple, that was even sweeter. Still not as sweet as ground cherries, but closer. Unfortunately that wasn’t much bigger than ground cherries either. I’m sure there are some varieties that are even sweeter, but not very easy to come by.

I hope I’m not overselling the Malinco tomatillo sweetness. I remember the flesh as being thicker and tasting – for lack of a better word – more “creamy” than ground cherries.

I planted some of those saved seeds as part of a physalis mix, hopefully I will be able to have some sweet tomatillos again this year.

I’m attaching a photo of Malinco fruit at various stages of development, with husk removed. I wish I had been more methodical and photographed them on the plants with their husk. And I wish I’d had a ruler in the photo.

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Oh wow! They look a little like Yellow Eggplants x Jalapenos hehe. Extremely Fascinating, Makes me wanna try growing them!