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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs


Other Common Names Include:

Chinese lantern, fresadilla, green tomato, husk tomato, jamberry, Mexican green tomato, miltomate

Latin Name: Physalis philadelphica (syn. P. ixocarpa)

Plant Family: Solanaceae

Close Relatives: Ground cherry, cape gooseberry, tomato, eggplant, pepper, potato, goji

Uses and Markets: Culinary (e.g. fruits used similar to tomato in salsa and sauces). Primarily used in Mexican cuisine.

Tomatillo flower A ripe tomatilloTomatillos in the field
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes


Propagation method

Transplants from seeds.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

April – early May.

Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates

Late May – early June.

In-row spacing

35-60 cm

Between row spacing

40-75 cm

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Research from Mexico has shown an optimal nitrogen rate of 120 kg/ha.  Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

All soil types.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

Tomatillos may benefit from the use of plastic mulch to warm the soil and to control weeds. Staking the plants will ease harvest and can keep fruit off of the ground, which will reduce damage to the fruit and husk.

Optimal Temperature Range

24 - 32°C

Temperature sensitivity

Cold sensitive.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation beneficial under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

80-100 days after transplanting.

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting. 

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

Tomatillos are often ripe when the husk splits, the husk turns tan or dry, and the fruit is still green. However, some fruits fill the husk but do not cause splitting. Some experience with harvest will be necessary to assess ripeness. Harvest every two to three days.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing:

Fruit are sensitive to chilling injury below 10°C.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 90-95%

Temperature: 10-15°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 1-3 weeks

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Leafminers

Diseases: Bacterial soft rot


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Aphids, cutworms, snails, slugs, flea beetles, European corn borer, mites, fruit worms, whiteflies, tomato hornworm

Diseases: Fungal leaf spots and blights, powdery mildew, viruses


*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: none. While few pests have been observed in Ontario, tomatillo husks have been damaged by an unknown pest, which may reduce marketability. While tomatillos are related to tomatoes, they do not appear to be susceptible to the same pests.  This crop is in Crop Group 8: Fruiting Vegetables (Except Cucurbits) Group and Crop Group 8-09: Fruiting Vegetables Group and subgroup 8-09A: Tomato Subgroup. Pest control products registered on tomato are not necessarily also registered for tomatillo.  For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section. Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.

Leafminer damage to tomatilloSymptoms caused by an unidentified tomatillo disease
Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Bilal, A. and M. Brownbridge. 2011-2012. World crops project. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, unpublished.
  2. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  3. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., Westerveld, S., Bilal, A., and M. Brownbridge. 2011. World crops variety trials and demonstration. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre/Vineland Research and Innovation Centre, unpublished.
  1. Everhart, E., C. Hanes and R. Jauron. 2003. Tomatillos. Iowa State University Horticulture Guide.
  2. Ramos-Lara, C., G. Alcántar-González, A.  Galvis-Spinola, A. Peña-Lomelí, A. Martínez-Garza. 2002. Nitrogen use efficiency in husk tomato under fertigation. Terra 20: 465-469.
  3. Smith, R., M. Jimenez and M. Cantwell. (n.d.). Tomatillo production in California. Vegetable Research and Information Centre Vegetable Production Series, Publication 7246.
  4. University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service. 2012. Tomatillo. University of Kentucky College of Agriculture.