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Tomatillo - lots of flowers, no fruit?

My tomatillo plant is large and lovely, and covered with yellow blooms. The blooms have been out for several weeks (at least) but there is no sign of fruit. Are they particularly slow to show up? Do I need more than one plant (too late if so)? Anything tricky about this plant that I should know? Its neighbors are all tomoatoes (most with tons of green tomatoes) and all plants look fat and happy.....

Thanks!
 
You do need more then one plant for pollenation. Better luck next time.
 
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You do need two. I didn't know that either at first. I have more plants than I need though and was giving them away. Too bad you're not closer to me. Apparently the first blooms on the plants don't usually set fruit anyway but mine are setting fruit now. It might not be too late at all to start one. These things grow like crazy. If you started one now from seed you could have flowers on it in a couple months I bet.
 

God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures. Francis Bacon

 

Virginia  Zone 7

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Shoot! I did pop a few more seeds in the ground.... It is getting late here to start another plant. We'll have 100 degree temps this month (has we already had in March and April). I can try again the fall. The plant was so easy to start and grew so fast...

I'll just add that to my 2006 gardening lessons.
 
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I don't think you need a male and female tomatillo, as I have never had a plant that did not produce, which would be the male in those type of plants (dioecious). Maybe it is just too hot for them, and they are dropping the blossoms? I have had them stop producing in the heat of summer where I am, which is much cooler, then pick up again in sept. and produce until frost.

Dave
 

Dave    in Woodbury, NJ  zone 6B

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anne, if you are talking about a tomatillo that is in the Solanaceae family, physalis genus (husk tomato, husk cherry) it doesn't need another plant for pollination. They are self-polinating, just like a tomato.

It probably is the high heat that is making the blossoms drop. if you could make a tent out of a double layer of shade cloth over a broom handle or PVC pipe that doesn't quite reach the ground and has both ends open (like a pup tent) so the air can circulate and heat can escape the top, it should cool it down enough to keep the blossoms on.

Mulch them heavily with crushed dead leaves or compost to keep the soil moist and cool.
 
---------------------- Life goes on within you and without you - George Harrison
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Thanks - Blossoms haven't dropped that I can tell - just no fruit. It is heating up here though (90s during the day) so it may need some shade. I'll see what I can rig up.
 
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anne, Those yellow flowers either become the tomatillo or they fall off, that's the blossom drop I mean. When the pollination inside the flower doesn't take (because there are not insects pollinating or the temps create harsh conditions) then the flower turns brown and falls off, with no bulge of fruit left behind. That's why there's no fruit forming.

You could try tickling a few of the flowers inside with a Q tip, polinate them yourself. watch the flowers you pollinated and see if they leave a bulge of fruit or fall off and leave nothing.


Message was edited by: sweetpea
 
---------------------- Life goes on within you and without you - George Harrison
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Anne,

Maybe you just haven't waited long enough yet for the flowers to turn into fruit. If the blossems have not fell off, I'd just keep watching. Never heard of male and female tomatillos. Maybe everyone is thinking of different plants. Keep us up to date. So interesting.
 
MARYLAND zone 6
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ann as I said before tomatillos are self sterile One plant can not pollinate it's self 2 plants are need.
tomatillo flowers have both m and f parts but the flowers will not pollinate like tomatoes though they closely related. If sweetpea and another's would like I will post the links to several agrocultural sites that spell out the if ands or buts of tomatillo pollention in futher detail. ttfn As far as I am aware there has not been a article on the subject of tomatillo's in og in the last 20 years if ever. According to a materfile premier search of og articles. I may have this question posted to gardengirl so it will be placed in a future issue of og.
 
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graymatter (aka Huhnman, cyberman, etc.) yes, please, we would like to see a link that says that tomatillos need a separate plant to pollinate.

They belong to the solanaceae family, i.e., tomatoes, eggplants, and the flowers have both stamen and pistils.

Perhaps you have in mind a different fruit, which is why I specified the solanaceae family tomatillo.

How come so many names? Smiler
 
---------------------- Life goes on within you and without you - George Harrison
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Okay, I did find something about cross-pollination and tomatillos, but cross-pollination requires a different cultivar. Just like when you need to plant a couple types of plum trees to get some plums, or different avacado trees to get some avacadoes.

Just another of the same plant wouldn't work under cross-pollination rules, because it's the same pollen. That's not cross-pollination.

So perhaps with some cultivars it does require a cross-pollinator of another cultivar of tomatillo. But I've grown them for years and I only grow one kind, and I get tons of tomatillos. Perhaps those 6 packs at the nurseries aren't specifying which cultivar, and in different parts of the country there are different cultivars. Smiler
 
---------------------- Life goes on within you and without you - George Harrison
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Thanks everyone! I found some tomatillo plants on ebay and ordered 2 more - to go with the one I have. They may not mature fast enough to catch the existing plant (which is already 4 feet tall and 4 feet across). I'll also try to rig up some shade (as it will be needed for the newer plants as we get into summer).
 
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I've read that Tomatillo is a very unstable kind of cultivar.
Maybe this would explain why some need another plant for pollination, and some don't.

(Does this make any sense? ?:| )
 
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Graymatter, I don't think that those two very nice people with their own private web site qualify as the last word on tomatillos. Links need to have some sort of scientific basis for real credibility, like a university or independent research lab.

Nature just doesn't work that way, to plant out a bunch of the same cultivars and get fruit, because it's the same pollen that doesn't pollinate. I can plant out 10 Satsuma plum trees, I'll never get a plum. It takes a pollinator, another cultivar, like a Santa Rosa plum to make the pollination work.

Here's a Purdue University site that says that the labeling of the cultivars has not been good, and that's where a lot of confusion happens.

http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/proceedings1990/v1-407.html

"The specific boundaries in Physalis are poorly defined with some duplication of names and many changes in the nomenclature during the last 50 years. The complexity of the genus is caused mainly by the wide range of genetic variability present presumably resulting from interspecific hybridization (Menzel 1951, 1957; Waterfall 1958) and also by the ambiguity of the earlier taxonomic descriptions (Raja-Rao 1979). For example, P. aequata Jacq. and P. capscicifolia Rydb are considered synonymous with P. ixocarpa."

And they say it takes cross-pollination:

"Cross pollination with other cultivars or other Physalis spp. would be possible if the plants are closer than 500 meters."

Maybe you mean cross-pollination when you say "put out more than one plant" and you just aren't using the phrase.

I don't know what to tell those folks on that website as I sit here looking at my tomatillo plant covered with fruit. I have found them to do well in cool and foggy conditions, they are much less fussy than tomatoes, and put up with the wide swing of temps during a day where I am, and often keep producing after a frost.

Smiler
 
---------------------- Life goes on within you and without you - George Harrison
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