Home Vegetable Gardening Small Tomatillos or Empty Husks? Solve Pollination Problems for Bountiful Harvests

Small Tomatillos or Empty Husks? Solve Pollination Problems for Bountiful Harvests

by Donna
2 minutes read

Why Are My Tomatillos Small or Have Empty Husks?

Do you have problems with your tomatillos being small or having empty husks? The culprit is often poor pollination. Here’s a detailed explanation of why this happens and what you can do to fix it:

The Importance of Pollination

Tomatillo flowers need pollen from other tomatillo flowers to produce fruit. Bees are the most efficient pollinators for tomatillos because they can easily carry the heavy pollen grains.

Environmental Factors Affecting Pollination

Temperature: When temperatures rise above 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the flowers have trouble forming fully functional reproductive parts, resulting in fewer and smaller tomatillos.

Humidity: High humidity, especially above 90%, can also hinder pollination and fruit set, leading to small tomatillos or empty husks.

Other Considerations

Self-Pollination: Tomatillo plants cannot pollinate themselves, so you need to plant at least two plants to ensure proper pollination.

Insecticides: Avoid using insecticides, especially contact insecticides during the day when bees are flying, as this can harm the pollinators.

How to Improve Pollination

Provide Bee-Friendly Plants: Intermingling flowers, herbs, and fruit that bees love with tomatillos can attract more bees to your garden and improve pollination.

Adjust Planting Time: If possible, plant your tomatillos during cooler temperatures to avoid pollination problems due to excessive heat.

Control Humidity: Ensure the humidity in your garden is between 60 and 70 percent for optimal pollination conditions.

Additional Tips

  • Ensure there are at least two tomatillo plants nearby for cross-pollination.
  • Avoid using systemic insecticides or those with a lingering effect, as these can harm bees.
  • Observe your tomatillo plants regularly for signs of poor pollination, such as small or misshapen fruit, and take appropriate action.


By understanding the importance of pollination and addressing the factors that can hinder it, you can ensure healthy, productive tomatillo plants that produce an abundance of large, flavorful fruit. Remember to provide a welcoming environment for bees and follow these tips to optimize pollination and enjoy a bountiful harvest of tomatillos.

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