This post may contain affiliate links.

Cherry tomatoes offer a burst of sweet, summery flavor. From a nutritional standpoint, they are the perfect fruit (or vegetable) to grow, even for gardeners lacking outdoor space.

They are easy to grow in containers, hydroponic systems, or gardens. Even novice indoor growers can achieve success by understanding their needs for proper nutrition, lighting, support, and pruning.

Growing bountiful crops of sweet cherry tomatoes can be easy and rewarding. Here’s a guide on how to grow cherry tomatoes.

cherry tomatoes
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Types of Cherry Tomatoes

There are many types of cherry tomato varieties out there that feature unique colors, flavor nuances, and growth habits. Here are a few of our favorites:

Baby Boomer

Baby Boomer produces abundantly on very compact, multi-branched plants reaching just 2 feet tall. The bright red fruits reliably grow to pea size. The determinant bush structure needs no pruning and withstands weather fluctuations well.

Sungold

No cherry tomato selection surpasses Sungold in sweetness, the benchmark for exceptional flavor. These sunny orange globes declare summer, with tart-tinged sugar bursting in every bite.

Other Cherry Tomato Varieties to Consider

  • Black Cherry
  • Maglia Rosa
  • Sweetheart of the Patio
  • Tiny Tim
  • Black Pearl
  • Green Envy
  • Italian Ice
  • Midnight Snack
  • Mirabelle Blanche
  • Orange Sunsugar
  • Power Pops
  • Sunchocola
  • Supersweet 100
  • Sweetie
  • Yellow Pear
Depositphotos 210599206 L cherry tomato
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Growing Cherry Tomatoes in the Garden

  1. When growing cherry tomatoes, it’s important to start seeds indoors about 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost. Use a seed starting mix and small containers, placing a few seeds in each pot. Keep the soil moist and warm.

Cherry tomato plants need nutrient-rich, well-drained soil. A potting mix formulated specifically for tomatoes is ideal, as it will provide the right pH and nutrient content. Make sure the soil in your container or garden bed allows for adequate drainage to prevent soggy roots. You can also mix in a slow-release tomato fertilizer at planting time to give your plants a boost.

Add compost or manure to enrich the soil over time. Top dress around your plants with more compost or fertilizer every 4–6 weeks during the growing season. This will replenish nutrients that the plants take up.

  1. Seedlings need much light to grow strong. Place them in a sunny window or under grow lights for 14-16 hours daily.
  2. Once the frost has passed and your seedlings are about 3 inches tall with a few true leaves, you can transplant them outdoors. Choose a sunny spot with at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  3. Cherry tomatoes thrive in rich, well-draining soil. To enrich the soil, work in plenty of compost or aged manure. A balanced fertilizer can also help provide essential nutrients.

Cherry tomato plants need consistent fertilization to support their vigorous growth and high yields. Use a balanced vegetable fertilizer, or one formulated specifically for tomatoes. Apply at planting time and again every 2–4 weeks once plants are established.

Organic options like compost tea, fish emulsion, worm castings, or manure can also be used. Rotate different organic fertilizers to provide a diversity of micronutrients over the season. Always follow label instructions carefully when applying any fertilizer to avoid plant damage from over-feeding.

  1. Dig a hole for each plant, spacing them about 24 inches apart. Plant the seedlings deeply, burying them in the top few leaves to encourage stronger roots.
  2. Tomato plants need support as they grow. Use stakes, cages, or trellises to keep them upright and promote good air circulation.

How to Care for Cherry Tomatoes

Providing the right care for your cherry tomato plants is essential for them to thrive and produce an abundant harvest. There are key things to focus on and they include the following:

picking cherry tomato
Image Credit: Deposit Photos

Pruning

Pruning cherry tomato plants is not strictly necessary but can be beneficial. Pruning to remove suckers (shoots between main stems and branches) helps direct more energy into the main plant structure and fruit production. Allow 2-3 main stems to develop.

Pinching off the top few leaves above the topmost flower cluster when plants reach the desired height will also focus the plant’s energy on ripening fruit. Just be careful not to over-prune. Leave ample healthy foliage to support photosynthesis.

How to Properly Prune Tomato Plants

Pollination

Cherry tomato flowers are self-pollinating but also benefit from wind or bee activity that shakes pollen-free. Poor fruit set is often due to inadequate pollination, especially in greenhouses or covered gardens.

Gently shaking plants daily or using an electric toothbrush along the stalks and underside of leaves will distribute pollen. Maintaining good airflow and raising humidity around plants also aids pollination. As a last resort, try hand pollinating with a small brush.

Growing Problems

Cherry tomato plants need consistent moisture and nutrition to flourish. Wilting or yellowed leaf margins late in the season often indicate insufficient water or nitrogen. Cherry tomatoes also desire at least 6–8 hours of sunlight—those grown in too much shade stretch and fail to properly fruit.

If leaves curl or new growth becomes distorted, inadequate calcium could be to blame. Correct any suspected nutrient deficiencies with a balanced fertilizer, or add lime to the soil if the pH is too low. Maintaining optimal growing conditions prevents many problems.

Pests

A few common garden pests attack cherry tomato plants. Aphids congregate on stems and undersides of leaves, sucking plant juices. Simply spraying them off with water can control light infestations. For heavy infestations, use insecticidal soap sprays targeting the bugs.

Tomato hornworms devour foliage and damage fruit. If spotted, hand-pick these large green caterpillars off plants. Also, watch for tiny whiteflies that drink plant sap, causing yellow-speckled leaves. Use sticky traps to monitor for the nearly invisible adults.

Protect Your Tomatoes From 15 Pests That Can Wreak Havoc on Your Crop

Diseases

Improve air circulation and irrigation practices to prevent disease issues. Fungal problems like early blight and septoria leaf spots often start on the oldest leaves. Prune infected leaves and destroy them. Serious soil-borne diseases require crop rotation the following year.

Blossom end rot results from erratic soil moisture levels, leading to sunken black spots on the bottom of the fruit. To prevent this, maintain consistent watering and add calcium supplements if the soil is deficient. Catching diseases early allows for corrective action to save the cherry tomato crop.

16 Common Tomato Plant Diseases That Can Wreak Havoc On Your Crop

How to Harvest Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes reach peak ripeness on the vine and offer the sweetest flavor and texture when harvested fully ripe. Check your cherry tomato plants daily once the fruit develops a red blush.

Gently twist and pull ripe cherry tomatoes off the vines, careful not to damage the plant.

For the best flavor, allow cherry tomatoes to ripen fully on the plant before harvesting. However, once cooler nighttime temperatures set in late summer, harvest all remaining fruit, even if not completely ripe, as prolonged exposure to cold can damage quality.

How to Store Cherry Tomatoes

After harvesting, cherry tomatoes will hold well on the counter for 2–3 days before beginning to soften. To extend storage life longer, keep freshly picked cherry tomatoes loosely packed in a shallow container or basket in the refrigerator. While cool temps can diminish flavor, this can keep them edible.

For longer-term preservation, consider canning, freezing, dehydrating, or pickling your bountiful cherry tomato crop at the end of the season. Properly canned or frozen cherry tomatoes will hold their quality for 6–12 months.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *