How To Grow Tomatillos From Seed: 5 Helpful Tips

If you are looking for your next great gardening project, then learning how to grow tomatillos from seed is a great option. Tomatillos make a great addition to your garden as you can use them in many different dishes. Though they may not be one of the most common plants grown in gardens they can make a great choice to grow.

Growing tomatillos from seed is relatively simple. They have a long growing season and grow similar to tomatoes. With the right steps and care, you can successfully grow your own tomatillos.

What Are Tomatillos?

Tomatillos are a plant that not everyone is familiar with. They are a type of small, round fruit that is similar to a tomato. They are typically harvested in later summer to fall.

Tomatillos are smaller than tomatoes, as they are only an inch or two in diameter. They grow with a papery husk that splits apart as the fruit grows. The husk begins green but fades to brown when the fruit of the tomatillo matures.

Tomatillos are popular in Mexican cuisine. They have a tangy taste when eaten raw but taste mildly sweet when they are cooked. They are commonly used in salsas and other dishes.

Unlike other fruits, tomatillos have the most flavor when they are green and unripened. Depending on the cultivator, they can turn yellow, purple, or red when ripe.

What Are Tomatillos

How To Grow Tomatillos From Seed

Learning how to grow tomatillos from seed is a relatively simple process. With the right care, you can successfully grow your own tomatillo plants from seed.

So, how long do tomatillos take to grow? Tomatillos have a long growing season and it generally takes them 75-100 days to grow from seed to harvest.

Since the growing process is long, you will want to know when to plant tomatillos. Since tomatillos are a warm-season crop that is sensitive to frost, you will want to start growing them indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost.

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Prepare The Growing Trays Or Container

To get started, you will want to prepare a growing tray or container to grow your tomatillo seeds. Add potting soil to your seed cells or container and spray with water to moisten.

Plant The Seeds And Water

Though you can soak your seeds in water overnight, it is not necessary. Create holes that are 1/4 inch deep and place one to two tomatillo seeds per hole. Cover lightly with soil and spray to moisten the soil.

Cover Trays And Place Them In A Warm Location

After planting your seeds, cover them with a plastic dome lid to help them maintain moisture. Place them in a warm location in your home that is at least 70 degrees Farenheit.

To help speed up the germination process, you can use a heating pad. The optimal temperature for tomatillo germination is 80 degrees Farenheit.

Continue to keep the soil moist to help the germination process. It will typically take 7-14 days for your tomatillos to germinate.

Add A Grow Light – How To Grow Tomatillos From Seed

As soon as the tomatillos sprout, add a grow light. You can use an LED grow light for about 12 hours a day as a sunny windowsill typically won’t provide enough light.

Transplant Seedlings

After your last frost, you can transplant your seedlings outdoors. At this point, your tomatillos should have several true leaves on them.

Before planting them in your garden, it is important to know how far apart to plant tomatillos. When transplanting to your garden, plant the seedlings 18-24 inches apart in rows set three to four feet apart.

You can also grow your tomatillos in pots as well as garden beds. When growing tomatillos in pots, you want to use a pot that is at least five gallons with good drainage.

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Care For Tomatillo Plants

For a successful tomatillo harvest, it is important you provide proper care to your tomatillo plants. Though they are a perennial, they are usually grown as an annual by most gardeners.


Tomatillos should be grown in full sun. This is important to ensure your plant remains healthy and produces fruit.

Tomatillo Grande Rio Verde Seeds for Planting Heirloom Non-GMO Seeds

How To Grow Tomatillos From Seed

Water – How To Grow Tomatillos From Seed

Tomatillos will thrive when they are given about one inch of water a week. However, they are fairly drought-tolerant plants.


Tomatillos can grow in most kinds of soil as long as it is well-draining with plenty of organic matter. They prefer soil that is neutral, though they typically aren’t picky about pH levels.

Temperature And Humidity

Since they are native to Mexico, tomatillos thrive in climates with warm temperatures. They are not picky about what the humidity levels are.


Tomatillos do not need to be fertilized. However, they do benefit from organic compost being worked into the soil prior to planting.

Harvesting – How To Grow Tomatillos From Seed

After about 75-100 days of being planted, tomatillos will begin to produce fruit. They will continue to produce fruit until the first frost hits.

Tomatillos are ready to harvest when the husk splits. Though you can harvest them after this, they will have the most flavor right after the husk splits.

After harvesting the fruit, keep it in the husks and store it in your fridge for up to two weeks. When ready to eat, remove the husk and wash off your tomatillo.

Harvesting tomatillos

How To Grow Tomatillos From Seed: Everything To Know

Tomatillos are similar to tomatoes and can easily be grown from seed. Start your seeds indoors six to eight weeks before the last frost. Once the last frost has passed, you can transplant your tomatillos to your garden bed or a container.

Tomatillos prefer to grow in a warm environment where they get full sun. They do best with about an inch of water a week, but they are also somewhat drought-tolerant. They can grow in most soils, though they benefit from the addition of organic matter.

Tomatillos are commonly used in Mexican and southwestern cuisine. They can be eaten raw but are typically eaten cooked.

Do you have any questions regarding how to grow tomatillos from seed? If so, please ask your tomatillo questions in the comment section down below.