Monday, November 19, 2018

How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes //

This year I couldn't wait to try growing a beefsteak tomato. On my patio, it was always such harsh conditions, and growing a big huge slicer just wasn't that easy, especially in pots. Beefsteaks are heavy feeders and I'd usually just get one or two tomatoes. So, I knew that with the in-ground garden, I'd FOR SURE be planting a beefsteak variety.

A couple years back I tried growing Cherokee Purples, and only got one measly tomato. This year, I anxiously waited most of the summer for the first tomatoes to turn red on this heirloom vine, but they just kept getting bigger and bigger and soon summer started to get a little too close to it's end and I still wasn't seeing red yet.

Then, one day, almost out of nowhere, they turned red. The massive size of these guys, coupled with their gorgeous purpley-red color had me practically dancing all the way to my kitchen to chop them up and eat them. The flavor is sweet and the texture is meaty, not a lot of slime or seeds. Perfect for tomato sandwiches, or caprese salads.

How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes //
How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes //
How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes //
How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes //
How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes //
How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes //


LIGHT: Full sun

PLANTING & SPACING: Space 36 inches apart. Plant deeply, burying 2/3 of the stem. Indeterminate, up to 6ft in size.

SOIL: Well-draining, nutrient-rich soil.

WATER: Keep soil consistently moist during the growing season. Even watering is critical to prevent cracked fruits and blossom end rot. Mulch soil to help reduce evaporation.

WEATHER: Tomatoes are a warm-weather plant. A light frost will damage plants (28ºF to 32ºF). Protect from frost.

PESTS & DISEASES: Tomato hornworm, slugs, potato bugs, rodents. Humidity can bring fungus diseases like blight. Plants will stop setting fruit when temperatures are below 55˚F or above 90˚F. Watch for Blossom End Rot.

HARVEST: Ripe 10-12 oz tomatoes show deep and even color but still feel firm when lightly squeezed. Tomatoes will keep on ripening after being picked. You can pick early and leave at room temperature for them to ripen further, or pick when fully ripe for best flavor. Gently pull tomatoes off the vine with a twisting motion, or cut off the vine, cut stems close to fruit.

STORAGE: Tomatoes retain flavor best at room temperature indoors. When refrigerated, the flavor diminishes. Tomatoes will store longer if you allow stem and green cap to remain on the fruit until you're ready to eat them.


Cherokee Purple are heirloom tomatoes originating from Tennessee. They are thought to be passed down from Native Americans from the Cherokee tribe. The fruit regularly dominates in taste tests and has an incredible color. It grows well in most regions of the USA. This tomato variety is best fresh and raw. 

Now that you know about this beautiful heirloom, are you going to grow it?

++ What's your favorite beefsteak tomato?

How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomatoes //

Join the conversation!

  1. I like your Tomatoes and thank you for shearing
    Looks beautiful

  2. Naples, Florida is trying!! Mine are approximately three quarter inch in diameter! I cannot wait...

  3. This will be my 1st year to try these tomato, I have heard good things about them. I live in zone 6 and will let you know how they do for me. Thank you

  4. can I ask you what you used to support the cherokee purple tomato plants? We have a raised bed s- space is limited. I am trying to decide between trellis and round cages. In your pics it looks like you just used standard tomato cages?

    1. I usually use some type of tomato cage, or I build a trellis using bamboo poles and twine. Either way, I set it up like a giant cage.


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