I am extremely frustrated trying to grow these. I planted two this year,
side-by-side, because I had heard they needed more than one for pollination.
Both have grown well, look healthy, and have hundreds of blooms with lots of
bees visiting, but n'er a fruit. I am in East Texas so I'm sure the weather
is warm enough. Any ideas?
Might be temperature. It needs to be around 55-75 F as I understand. It
might be too hot for the moment, so maybe just wait. Mine continuously
bloomed and dropped the flowers without fruit a month before they finally
started making fruit from flowers. I am way up Sweden and having great
success at comparatively lower temperatures. In fact, my plants outdoors
are thus far yielding more fruit than in the greehouse. I am doing
artificial pollination in both cases.
Regarding bees, if the tomatillo is anything like tomato, then common
honeybees may not be a very good pollinator. Bumble bees I am told
are better. Thus far, artificial pollination seems to be working. In
this case, I place a children's paintbrush below the flower, shake the
flower until the pollen falls onto the brush and then move the brush
in front of a flower on another plant and then pull back on the brush
and flick the pollen onto the flower. This works very efficiently in
my hands despite the claim of some sources on the web that this is
very inefficient. Clearly the flowers a fragile and easily damaged. My
technique does not involve any physical contact between brush and
flower, which might explain the difference. One can also envision that
since the only useful destination for the pollen is on the actual
pestile to fertilize the ovules, pollen ending up on the flower petals,
etc will accomplish nothing, so your goal is to get the pollen right onto
Also, one thing I just learned from a friend who is a botanist is to just
pluck the anthers from flowers and put them in a small container and let
them dry out there and they will break open. Normally, the anthers of
these plants "secrete" pollen from deeper down in the flower, so you can
only access a little at a time from the surface. Plucking apparently
gives you a lot more for tomato and tomatillo type plants. Apparently it
is common knowledge that the pollen is quite hardy.
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