How long does it take to bear fruit on a cherry tomato plant?
Do you want to harvest luscious, juicy tomatoes straight off the vine but don’t know where to start?
Cherry tomatoes are great plants to start with.
They’re rewarding for both novice and expert gardeners since they’re so prolific and simple to cultivate – a single plant may provide a consistent harvest of bite-sized fruits from early summer to October.
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The attractive fruits grow in big clusters in a rainbow of hues – chocolate, mahogany, orange, red, yellow, practically black, and pink, in a solid colour or even with tiger stripes – on hearty and strong bushes.
Yet the tastes of sun-warmed fruit, just off the vine, range from mild to sweet to acidic.
Because of the small fruit size, typically one to two inches, these high yielding plants often bear fruit in just 55 to 65 days, with some ready for harvest in as little as 45 days. There are some, though, that may take up to 80 days to develop.
They also perform well in containers , so they may be planted almost anyplace, even on tiny balconies or patios.
Seems like something you’d be interested in trying? Then join us now for our best tips on growing cherry tomatoes.
Here’s what we’ll cover:
What Are Cherry Tomatoes?
The domesticated varieties of Solanum lycopersicum var. cerasiforme are assumed to be direct descendants of S. pimpinellifolium, the wild progenitor of today’s varieties.
Its ancestor was a weedy plant that produced little, blueberry-sized fruit. It traveled from the northern Andes into Mexico, and at some point, morphed into a plant with larger fruits that were suitable for domestication.
Today’s variations still grow tiny, globular fruits that range in size from a half-inch to two inches. Those with an oblong shape are called grape tomatoes, but they abide in the same classification.
Variety growth tendencies are categorised as determinate or indeterminate, with few determinate ones developed for compact growth in tiny places.
Moreover, like with regular Solanum plants, cultivation is separated into stages, heirloom or hybrid divisions.
However, there’s also a new breed on the block. First, let’s have a look at it.
Heirloom hybrids are a new breed of tomato developed by crossing two heritage varieties or an heirloom with a current hybrid cultivar.
They are developed for characteristics such as optimal color, taste, shape, and texture, as well as disease resistance, early fruiting, and vigor, and are often derived from heritage parents.
This results in plants with outstanding performance along with the deep, rich flavor of heirlooms. And taste is something that many people find missing in regular hybrids.
‘Black Pearl,’ an heirloom hybrid with a deep, rich mahogany color and full, nuanced taste – sweet with a rich, tangy bite – is a good place to start if you want to sample one of the new breed.
Seeds or Seedlings?
To grow plants from seed, they must be sown inside six weeks before the final frost date (LFD).
Transplanting them outside normally occurs six weeks after your last frost date, or when the plants are roughly 12 weeks old.
You’ll need to collect your own seed from heirloom plants (seeds from hybrids won’t necessarily be true to the parents) or purchase seeds. Seeds may be acquired from your local nursery, internet sources, and farmers markets, which usually arrive in January.
And if you’re just getting started, our tutorial on how to grow tomatoes from seed has detailed instructions in six easy steps.
Instead, you may wait until spring and buy seedlings from a nursery or garden store.
It’s time to collect your planting supplies after your seedlings have been hardened off and are ready for the big outdoors.
Don’t be deceived by the size of the fruit; these plants are robust and may grow huge and bushy.
Unless you’ve selected miniature or patio kinds, the fruit-laden branches may be heavy, necessitating cages or poles for support.
This keeps fruit off the ground and prevents branches from breaking under the weight of the fruit, even in determinate kinds.
Galvanized Plant Support
Cages come in a variety of sizes and forms, and they must be strong enough not to bow under the weight of a huge plant, such as this set of five galvanized hoop cages.
For your convenience, here’s a list of everything you’ll need to get started:
- Cherry or grape tomato plants
- Depending on the type, cages or stakes, as well as plant clips, twine, or Velcro ties, are required for support.
- Containers must be at least 5 gallons in capacity and have drainage holes if planted (a pot 12 inches in diameter and 12 inches tall holds approximately 5 gallons)
- Bone meal to add to the planting hole for strong root growth
- Potting soil mix if planting in containers
- Plant nutrition (use a balanced all-purpose blend, or an 18-18-21 NPK formula for Solanums)
Check out our planting and container growing pages for additional information grow and care guide for tomatoes .
Cherry tomatoes are normally hardy and simple to grow, but there are a few things you can do to ensure a plentiful harvest:
- Plants thrive in well-draining soil with a pH range of 6.2 to 6.5.
- They need direct sunshine for at least six hours every day.
- Planting should be postponed until the risk of frost has passed. Use a cloche or plant cover to protect new seedlings if adverse weather sets in (i.e. cold, wet, and windy conditions).
- Provide plenty of space between planting holes – the fruit may be little, but the plants may become large and bushy.
- Before planting, set your cages or stakes to prevent damaging the roots afterwards.
- To avoid the need for cages or posts when growing container plants on a balcony, tie the stems to the railing.
- Pluck the lowest stems and shoots from the main stalk while planting. Finally, one to two inches away from the plant’s lowest surviving set of leaves, bury it. More roots will be produced by the buried, stripped stem, resulting in greater growth.
- To prevent future problems like blossom end rot , mix a small handful of lime Instead, pour Epsom salts into the planting hole. Both increase magnesium levels, which can be blocked by high concentrations of calcium and potassium in the soil.
- Remove suckers as they appear to divert energy into fruit formation. These are the small branches that appear in the “V” formed between the main stalk and branches.
- When the blossoms develop, feed plants growing in the ground fortnightly with a balanced fertilizer or an 18-18-21 tomato mix.
- Container plants need more regular fertilization and may require weekly feeding. If so, use a diluted, half-strength formula to compensate for the increased frequency of application.
- Plants respond best to weekly heavy watering rather than frequent light watering.
- Look for miniature or patio types if space is a constraint. These are plants that have been developed for compact growth. Read our guide to discover more about the differences for additional information, determinate and indeterminate varieties .
Harvest when the fruits have changed to their expected color. This may take anything from six to ten weeks, pollination , depending on the weather and the variety you choose.
When the fruit is ripe, it will easily separate from the stem with a moderate pull or twist.
Harvest ripe fruit every day or two to promote ongoing bloom set and increased yield.
Varieties to Select
Check out our evaluation of to get ideas on which variations will best suit your requirements.
Meanwhile, here are a few ideas to get you started:
‘Baby Boomer,’ a tiny hybrid cultivar, packs a punch with yields of over 300 red, one-inch fruits per plant, produced all summer till frost.
On determinate plants that reach 20 to 25 inches in height, fruits mature in 50 to 55 days.
‘Black Cherry’ is an heirloom with a long history, as seen by its nuanced, sweet taste and strong texture.
Over the hot summer months, the one-inch fruits mature to a rich, dark mahogany color, and the stalks are burdened.
Indeterminate plants grow to 60 inches and fruit matures in 64 days. This type is disease resistant by nature.
‘Sungold,’ maybe the most popular cherry tomato, is a productive vine with huge clusters of tangerine-orange fruits.
Fresh from the vine, on the grill, or in salads. An indeterminate plant, fruits ripen in 57 days and vines grow 48 to 60 inches.
Recipes and Cooking Ideas
Don’t be alarmed if these prolific plants produce a huge yield!
Let your local crop to shine instead. Tossed into salads or made into salsa or a fresh marinara, used as a tasty topping for homemade pizza, or cooked down into preserves, sweet cherry tomatoes are one of the most delicious rewards of the summer garden.
Try this corn, cream cheese, and cherry tomato dip, for a tasty appetizer.
Roasted cherry tomatoes with shrimp and feta, make a tasty entree option.
If you don’t want to eat shellfish, try these chicken cutlets with tomatoes on a hectic weekday.
Delicious Bite-Sized Gems
Cherry tomatoes are a productive, resilient, and dependable start to producing your own Solanums.
Select types for pots or the garden, provide support for indeterminate varieties, and follow our instructions for an abundance of tasty bite-sized fruits throughout the summer.