Who does not love Tomatillos? It is one plant that is on every gardener’s wish list. A family member of the Tomato plant, widely grown worldwide and popularly used as the main ingredient in salsa verde and salads.
Tomatillos are heavy feeders requiring many different soil nutrients to grow healthy. Tomatillos seeds are actually edible and are very easy to maintain and grow.
Native to Mexico, tomatillos are often known as Mexican husk tomatoes, probably because they look very similar to tomatoes.
They are a good summer plant and require full sunlight to thrive. They are spheroidal, mostly green in color or a purplish shade, which is provided by a natural cover to prevent them from ants attacks.
There are different varieties of tomatillos, one greener and another with a purple look. The first variety produces large green fruits, and the purple variety has a dark purple color to its fruits with a hint of green. And it is said that the purple variety tastes sweeter than the greener variety.
Why Do Tomatillos Need Companion Plants?
Tomatillos are loved by humans as well as the pests. Tomatillos are often at risk of fungal diseases and some of the most irritating pests ever to exist.
Tomatillos are a good sun-loving plant but are continuously disturbed by hornworms, which love to feast on tomatillos. Good companion plants like Basil, which has a very strong aroma, helps keep these hornworms away from the tomatillos plants.
Companion plants help not only by keeping pests away but also by providing soil nutrients to the plant. Planting good companion plants like carrots helps tomatillos greatly; as carrots loosen the soil, tomatillos benefit heavily from the loose soil as it helps in nutrient absorption.
Tomatillos need companion planting to attract pollinators to the garden; good companion plants like marigolds, when planted nearby, help attract beneficial pollinators to the garden bed and also attract ladybugs, which feed on pests that can destroy the tomatillos crop.
In areas where deer attacks are common on crops, companion planting can help and act as a deer-resistant plant. Good companion plants like borage help tomatillos by preventing any deer attacks.
6 Best Tomatillos Companion Plants
Now that we know why tomatillos need good companion plants around them, we will further know what some good companion plants of tomatillos will increase the crop’s productivity, attract beneficial pollinators, and also prevent them from repelling pests and diseases.
Let us know about the best tomatillo companion plants.
The first one on the list is basil. Basil and tomatillos are very good neighbors. Tomatillos attract a lot of pests and diseases; these pests feed on the tomatillo’s fruit, spoiling the crop.
Basil has a very strong aroma, this aroma helps the tomatillos crop by repelling pests like hornworms, which are big feeders of the fruit.
Although, a large amount of basil is required to work as a pest-repellent plant. Basil provides ground cover and also enhances the flavor of the tomatillos crop.
Another strong-scented plant, Cilantro, is a very good neighbor of the tomatillos plant. They both complement each other very well and, when planted nearby, will benefit the whole garden.
Cilantro repels the very irritating aphids and cucumber beetles which suck on the tomatillos crop. In return, tomatillos provide shade to the cilantro plants in the scorching sun this shade prevents cilantro from wilting.
Cilantro does well with almost every other plant and is very beneficial to have in your garden.
Carrots and tomatillos are good companion plants that, when planted together, will show good productivity and growth of both plants.
Carrots help tomatillos by loosening up the soil around the planted area, which is then helpful for tomatillos to spread their roots, especially if the soil is too clayed up; carrots can make space for ventilation and make it easy to absorb soil nutrients.
Carrots are used in many dishes; their seeds, flowers, and even the leaves are edible and can be used in salads or many other dishes.
Tomatillos and Mint go along very well with each other. Mint is one of the most easygoing plants and is a good companion plant for many other plants.
As the tomatillos are sweet plants, it is always prone to ants and other pests like aphids and moths. Planting a mint plant around your tomatillo’s crop will ensure that these pests stay away from your crop.
Mint has a very strong scent, which helps in repelling these pests. Mint is also a good companion for other plants like Brussels sprouts, tomatoes, etc.
Tomatillos and marigolds are very good friends together, and when planted together, they will increase the vibrancy and productivity of the entire garden.
Marigolds attract different pollinators to your tomatillos plant, which helps in enhancing the flavor and taste of the fruits.
Marigolds also lure beneficial predators like ladybugs, which feed on damaging insects and pests like aphids.
Planting marigolds and tomatillos together is a win-win situation for the entire garden.
Tomatillos and borage are good neighbors and believe me, you wouldn’t want to miss out on borage if your area is affected by deer.
Borage is deer-proof and also attracts pollinators, which are beneficial to the garden. Borage can also be used as a fertilizer for growing plants and as a compost material to provide nutritional value to the soil when the leaves fall.
2 Worst Companion Plants for Tomatillos
There are a lot of plants that are good companion plants of tomatillos, but there are certain plants that should not be planted near tomatillos, which can hamper the growth of each other.
It is important to know about such plants to prevent your tomatillos from stunting. Below are some of the worst companion plants for tomatillos:
Fennel is a plant that does not have a lot of plant companions, as it releases an oil that hampers the growth of other plants, including tomatillos.
Fennel plants also compete with tomatillos for growth, which is another reason to keep them well apart from other plants.
Another bad neighbor of tomatillos is a corn plant, and they should not be planted next to each other.
Corn plants provide a lot of shade to the tomatillo plant, which can hamper the growth of the tomatillos as they are very sun-loving and need at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight.
Corn plants also attract a lot of pests like aphids, which can destroy the tomatillos crop; hence, planting them together is not a good idea.
What are Tomatillo’s Growing Requirements?
After knowing about the good and bad companion plants of tomatillos, it is also important to know about the growing requirements of tomatillos to get a tasty crop.
Let us know about some basic growing requirements of tomatillos.
1. Light Requirements
Tomatillos is a good summer crop and requires sunlight for around 6 to 8 hours a day. Plant your tomatillos in a sunny spot and see them thrive.
2. Soil Requirements
Tomatillos are easy-going plants that can do well in almost all kinds of soil. Ideally, tomatillos prefer a well-draining, rich in nutrients soil to grow well.
Providing organic matter and compost to the soil will help the growth of tomatillos.
3. Water Requirements
Tomatillos need watering in their early days of plantation. Once they are established, they are drought tolerant and can tolerate long amounts of heat.
Water the plant when the roots tend to dry, and watering around an inch deep into the soil every week will be more than enough for the plant.
4. Temperature Requirements
Tomatillos, being a summer plant, loves to grow in sunlight and can handle humid temperatures. Humidity is not a major concern for tomatillos.
5. Fertilizer Requirements
Tomatillos is considered a low-maintenance plant and does not require a lot of fertilizing. Adding a bit of organic mulch or compost to the soil right before the plantation of the crop will suffice.
Grass Diseases and Pests
Tomatillos are considered a healthy plant with not much risk of diseases or pests when compared to other plants.
However, too much water, moisture, or shade can affect their health, and can be affected by some diseases and pests if not grown in favorable conditions.
Let us know some of the most common diseases and pests for tomatillos plants.
1. Potato Beetles
An insect gets its name from feeding on tomatoes, but it also likes tomatillos and feeds heavily on them. They are generally orange in color and sometimes yellow with stripes.
Some of these potato beetles will look exactly like cucumber beetles.
These potato beetles love eating the leaves of the crop, damaging the whole plant.
You can hand-pick to remove them from the plant as they are clearly visible to the naked eye. Insecticidal soaps and neem oil are other options to eliminate these potato beetles from your tomatillo plant.
2. Flea Beetles
Shiny, small, and black are characteristics of an insect that puts a hole in your plant’s leaves as if they are shot by the tiniest gun in the world.
They do not do much damage to the plant, but it surely disturb the look of the plant with the tiny holes in the small leaves.
They can be treated the same way as the potato beetles, but the approach should be consistent.
Green in color, these insects are irritating as they suck the sap out of the plants and generally feed on the stems of the plant.
There is a very close tie between ants and aphids as they share benefits with each other. Aphids are generally tiny and are hard to locate in muddy areas around tomatillo plants.
Aphids can be controlled by mere spraying of jet water, and they will crawl their way off the plants and won’t be able to locate back. The application of soap water and neem oil can also help in eliminating them.
4. Root Rot
Tomatillos are prone to root rot if they are being planted in too much moist soil or if the soil is not well drained.
Preventing the plant from water-logging soil and less moisture will help keep diseases like root rot away.
Tomatillos are also exposed to diseases like early blight and anthracnose.
Tomatillos are a maintenance crop that produces a sweet fruit that is used in many different dishes. Planting tomatillos with good companion plants can enhance the growth and productivity of the plant and the entire garden bed.
Plant it with good companion plants and avoid certain worst companions of tomatillos to prevent any harm to the plant and your garden. Grow it while keeping in mind the growing requirements and the diseases or pests the plant is at risk of to boost growth and productivity.