How to grow green tomato (Physalis philadelphica)?

ripening green tomatoes

If you are one of those who have a small garden at home, you may be thinking about what you can plant. Do we make you a suggestion? How about planting green tomatoes? It is a food that, although in Spain it is not yet fully known, the truth is that in Mexico, where it is cultivated a lot, it is the protagonist of many homes.

But, How to grow green tomato? Is it the same as planting red tomato, kumato or whatever? Or does it have any peculiarities? We’ll talk about that right away.


What will the green tomato plant look like?

Before opting for these tomatoes which, by the way, have a scientific name Physalis philadelphicayou have to know how will the plant you will have to know if you have enough space in your garden.

The tomatillo plant (another of the common names by which it is known), It will measure about 50-60 centimeters in height. The leaves of the branches, heart-shaped, will be alternate and usually have a fairly long stem and shorter branches. The flowers he will throw at you are yellow and have only one petal.

Where is it better to plant green tomato

blooming green tomatoes

If you have already discovered that your garden is a good place to plant them, another point to consider is the climate. And it is that This tomato does not support low temperatures or frost. Although it is always planted in late winter and early spring, the temperature must be taken into account.

If this usually doesn’t rise very much, or where you would put it doesn’t have a “warm” temperature, they may not be turning well (too small or the plant won’t come out straight).

In general, the ideal climate you will need is between 25 and 32 degrees during the day, and between 15 and 21 at night. If they don’t approach the temperature you have, you’ll need to protect them (eg, grow them in a greenhouse that gets full sun).

Steps to grow Physalis philadelphica

green tomato plant

Since we want this article to serve as a handy guide to growing green tomatoes, we’ll walk you through the steps one by one so you’ll soon have green tomatoes to try. You should know that, if you do it right, in about 60 days after sowing they will flower, and in total, in 2-3 months you could have your harvest.

Shall we start?

Prepare everything to plant them

With “everything” we refer to the preparation of the elements you will need to grow the green tomato. To know:

  • flower pots You can plant them directly in a large pot or directly in the garden, but if you want to be careful it is better that they germinate in small pots and then transplant them so that they have more strength at that time.
  • Substrate. You should know that the green tomato requires a soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.3. Try to find land that suits your needs. Also, don’t forget drainage, such as perlite, so the soil doesn’t clog it, and organic compost to provide it with good nutrients. One could say that the proportion must be 60% soil with this pH, 20-30% perlite and 10-20% organic compost.

If you can’t find this ground, you can use sandy ground.

Prepare the seeds

An essential part of growing green tomatoes is that have seeds of this variety. And you can get it at garden stores, wherever you live, or online. Also, if you have green tomatoes at home, you can take one and scoop out the seeds, rinse them, and let them dry for about 24 hours before planting them.

If you have had the seeds for a long time, it may be necessary to hydrate them, i.e. 24 hours before planting them, put them in water. At this time, you will see that some remain floating while others go to the bottom of the glass. These are the ones that will germinate (or at least are more likely), while the others will be dry and useless.

Nevertheless, we recommend that you plant them all. We never know.

sow and care

Fill each of the pots you have prepared with the soil mixture we talked about before and, in the center, with the tip of your finger, make a kind of hole to introduce between 2 and 4 seeds.

Then cover with a little soil., do not push and do nothing else. When it comes to watering it, it is best to do it with a vaporizer or an atomizer because this way the seed is not removed and it will have enough water to move forward.

Do the same with all the seeds you have.

Accelerate your development

When you complete the previous step, you will have a lot of pots and you will really want to see them grow, right? Well, this little trick can help you speed up germination development, and in 5 days you could have them ready for transplanting.

What is there to do? You will see, the goal is to create a greenhouse with these pots. So, if you had already planned to put it in a greenhouse, nothing like taking them there. You can, additionally, place bags so that there is more heat and humidity inside, but be careful, because if you are going to leave them in the sun and it is very hot (the temperature rises more than 30 degrees), they could cook and then nothing will come out. In this case, forget the bag and leave them alone in the greenhouse.

Of course you will have to check that the soil does not dry out (this will ruin all the work you have done).

In about 5 days they will have sprouted and started to grow. But it is not yet time to transplant them. What you will need to remove is the plastic bag (if you have it on).


3 weeks after planting, and as long as they look healthy, you can transplant them in a larger pot, about 30 cm. deep at least.

And how do you know if they are ready? To start, the stem will be much thicker and should have 4 large leaves. If they are not like this, leave them a little longer in their first pot.

Important maintenance of green tomato

Physalis philadelphica flower

Finally, now that you have the green tomato in its final place, it’s time to give it all the care it needs: lots of sun, irrigation when the soil is dry, and some nutrients so that the plant blooms and gives you plenty of tomatoes.

Do you have questions about growing green tomatoes? Ask us!

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