Cherry tomatoes are a favorite tomato variety grown by gardeners for their ease of growing and delicious taste straight from the vine.
Available in red, orange, black, and yellow, they make a sweet and tasty addition to your salads, tarts, and pasta dishes at home.
If you are wanting to know how to grow cherry tomatoes yourself, the good news is they don’t require too much space or time to grow. In a couple of months from sowing your seeds, you’ll have your very own cherry tomato bush full of fresh tomatoes.
Keep on reading to learn how to grow your own cherry tomatoes.
What Do Cherry Tomatoes Need To Grow
To give your cherry tomato plants a good start, you need to know what the ideal growing conditions are. Cherry tomatoes are best planted with
- access to full sunlight,
- in warm temperatures,
- with support,
- well-drained soil
- And with plenty of water.
Cherry tomatoes also need a few feet of space around them to ensure fresh air can circulate and they can grow vines without restrictions.
Popular Cherry Tomatoes Varieties
Here are some of the most popular cherry tomatoes to grow in the home garden:
- Gardener’s Delight – A reliable, prolific favorite that always produces an abundance of large and delicious fruits.
- Black Cherry – A unique heirloom tomato with purple-black skin and dark red flesh with an intense, delicious flavor that’s hard to resist!
- Tumbling Tom – Tumbling tom produces lots of sweet, tasty fruits and even thrives in hanging baskets.
What Is The Best Month To Plant Cherry Tomatoes
If planting directly outdoors, it is best to start growing your cherry tomatoes early in Spring after the last frost. This allows your plant time to establish and grow to maximize the available tomatoes before winter sets in again.
Alternatively, to provide your cherry tomatoes with an early start, you can begin growing the seedlings in growing trays indoors. It is best to start these around 4 weeks before the last frost is due. They can then be planted outside after the frost has finished.
How To Grow Cherry Tomatoes
First, decide if you are starting your seedlings indoors or growing your plants directly outside after the last frost.
Once ready to plant your cherry tomatoes outside, make sure to provide an area where your tomatoes will have access to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. The soil also needs to be full of nutrients and well-drained. Add some nutrient-rich compost and turn the ground before planting to help break up the soil and improve its condition.
When planting, space each plant with a couple of feet between them. This provides space for each plant for when it begins to grow vines and tomatoes. As most cherry tomato varieties are indeterminate, it means they will continue to grow until the following frost kills them off. Because of this, they have been known to grow up to 10 feet tall.
As your cherry tomato plants grow, they will require watering every 2-3 days to keep the soil wet. Tomato plants prefer moist soil so it is best to water them regularly, even more so in the height of summer.
To ensure that your tomato plants don’t suffer from fungal diseases, try to water the base of your tomato plants around the soil, rather than watering the leaves.
When your cherry tomatoes start to grow a longer stalk, you might notice they begin to ‘sag’ rather than stand upright. At this point, your tomatoes require support such as a bamboo stake. This will help your vines to grow upright rather than lie on the ground. Leaving your tomatoes to lie on the ground leaves them more susceptible to pests and diseases, not to mention becoming rotten from watering.
If you want to maximize the potential number of tomatoes your plant will grow, it is a good idea to prune them throughout the growing season. You can pinch off suckers, which are small side stems that grow in a V shape from the main stem.
Pruning away the suckers not only helps to remove excess stems but also encourages your cherry tomato plants to focus their energy on producing more fruit and less foliage.
After approximately 65 days from planting, your cherry tomatoes will be ready to harvest. They are best harvested as soon as they have ripened, otherwise as they soften, they will drop and break as they fall from the vines. They are best consumed within a few days or can be cooked to preserve.
Continue to harvest your cherry tomatoes throughout the summer and Autumn before winter arrives. As cherry tomatoes are an annual plant, once the frost returns, they will naturally die off. You can then begin fresh cherry tomato plants the following year from seeds.
Can Cherry Tomatoes Grow In Pots
Yes, cherry tomatoes can grow well in pots as long as you provide a large enough container, support, and drainage.
If planting in containers, the pots need to be at least a foot tall and wide so there’s enough space for the roots to grow and act as base support.
Your containers also require holes in the bottom so that excess water can drain away. As containers do not retain as much water as ground soil, the soil in your containers also needs checking much more regularly. If the soil feels dry after dipping your fingertip, water the base of your plant.
If you have decided you want to grow cherry tomatoes, follow these steps above after deciding whether you are growing them in pots or directly in the ground.
For an optimum harvest, ensure to provide your tomato plants with access to sunlight, regular water, and nutrient-rich soil. For even more support whilst it grows, add a tomato-friendly fertilizer once a week.
Your cherry tomatoes are best fresh after being picked and can be eaten straight from the vine or added to salads, risotto, tarts, pasta, and frozen whole to use at a later date.
Your cherry tomato plants only last one season and will need digging up at the end of the season and composting. So you can enjoy replanting and growing fresh cherry tomatoes from seeds the following year.
For more support on growing a range of tomato varieties, take a look at some of our most popular posts here: