Cherry tomatoes are a delight to eat and grow, but with so many different varieties available it is hard to know which ones to choose for your garden. Cherry tomatoes come in a variety of flavors and colors, but most of them are sweet treats right off the vine.
For classic red cherry tomatoes, try Tiny Tim, Sweet Million, Bumble Bee, Sweetie, Supersweet 100, or Midnight Snack and Black Cherry for a deeper red.
Sungold, Gold Nugget, Yellow Mini, Yellow Pear, and JuaneFlamme are great yellow varieties, and Green Doctors or Italian Ice will add truly one-of-a-kind colors to your tomato patch.
Keep reading to learn more about cherry tomatoes, plus discover 14 of the best and most unique types to grow in your garden.
Cherry Tomatoes For The Home Garden
Cherry tomatoes are the candy of the vegetable garden. They are sweet, bite-sized tomatoes that burst from the plant in colorful clusters.
They come in a range of shapes, sizes, and colors. Here are some characteristics of cherry tomatoes that will help you
Here are some things to know when choosing cherry tomato varieties:
Determinate And Indeterminate
Cherry tomatoes are either indeterminate or determinate, though the majority of them are the former.
Indeterminate varieties are also called vine tomatoes that grow long-stemmed plants that can reach 3 meters (10 feet) in length. They produce flowers and fruits on lateral stems as the plant continues to grow.
Indeterminate plants will continue to bear fruit all season long and can often be treated as perennials if the climate is right.
Determinate tomatoes are bushy plants that produce most of their tomatoes all at the same time. Their stems are fairly short and stocky and the stems end in a terminal bud.
Remember that determinate does not always mean short. While determinate tomatoes are stockier and can often stand without trellises, most dwarf varieties of tomatoes are actually indeterminate.
Cherry Tomato Fruit Size
Regardless of the bush or vine size, most cherry tomatoes are around 25mm to 35mm (1-1.5 inches) in diameter when they mature.
On average, each tomato will weigh around 12g to 25g (0.4-0.88 oz). Some cherry tomatoes are round while others are slightly oblong, and they can be in a range of colors.
Most cherry tomatoes grow trusses. A truss is a cluster of short stems where the blossoms develop and fruits grow. The entire truss can be snipped and the whole cluster of tomatoes harvested together.
Cherry Tomato Yield
Every cherry bush is different, but a cherry tomato plant will usually yield around 4.5 kgs (10lbs) of fruit. This means one plant could give you 200 to 300 tomatoes in one season. Of course, this is variable depending on the variety, determinacy, and growing conditions of your tomatoes.
Days To Maturity
On average, cherry tomatoes will generally mature between 60 and 80 days. However, some can take longer while others will mature earlier and are ideally suited for gardens with a short season.
Remember, most seed companies list tomatoes “days to maturity” from their transplant date and, like most tomatoes, cherry varieties are generally started indoors and then transplanted into the garden 6 to 8 weeks later.
So when calculating your tomatoes’ growing season, make sure to add 42 to 56 days for the entire growth time.
How To Buy
Cherry tomatoes are readily available at almost every garden Centre and seed company. You can either buy seeds to start your own or transplants that are ready to go into the garden.
Transplants are advantageous because you can avoid the delicate seedling stage. However, they are usually only available in the spring and you are more limited with the varieties to choose from.
Seeds are very reasonably priced and you have hundreds of different varieties to choose from since most companies will mail seed packets for a minimal fee. Plus, you have the pleasure of seeing the plants grow from germination.
How To Start Growing Cherry Tomatoes In Your Garden
Whether you purchase seeds or seedlings, here are some tips to successfully grow your cherry tomatoes.
Start your cherry tomatoes indoors 6 to 8 weeks before you plan on transplanting them out. Sow the seeds 5mm to 1cm (¼-½ inch) deep and allow 1 to 2 weeks for germination at a soil temperature around 25-35°C (68-95°F).
Choose a spot that is in full sun. Tomatoes thrive in well drained soil whose fertility is enriched with well-rotted compost. Loam, or sandy loam soils are ideal, but tomatoes also like the fertility of clay soil. Amend the soil for an ideal pH of 6.5 to 7.0.
Harden off your seedlings and then transplant them into the garden when nighttime temperature remains above 7°C to 10°C (45-50°F).
Space determinate varieties 45cm to 60cm (18-24 inches) apart and indeterminate ones 50cm to 75cm (20-30 inches). Bury transplants up to their first set of true leaves.
Water cherry tomatoes regularly throughout the growing season. Do not let the soil dry out but they should never have standing water on their roots (an organic mulch helps with moisture retention).
Stop watering at the end of July or early August as this encourages fruit ripening. Don’t forget to provide support for your tomatoes. While this is imperative for indeterminate varieties, determinate cherries also benefit from some support.
Harvesting Tips For Cherry Tomatoes
For vine-ripened tomatoes, harvest the cherry tomatoes when they are the desired color. To avoid the cherry tomatoes from splitting, harvest them before they are fully ripe.
If your season is too short, harvest tomatoes when mature but still green and they will ripen indoors. Ripe cherry tomatoes should come off the vine with a gentle tug, or you can snip the entire truss.
14 Best Varieties Of Cherry Tomatoes
This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are countless varieties of cherry tomatoes available and more being developed all the time.
Here are some of the best cherry tomatoes that are notable for their flavor, sweetness, or unique characteristic that makes them a practical yet exciting addition to any home garden.
1: Tiny Tim
This small cherry plant is only 20cm to 40cm (8-16 inches) tall, making them ideal for container growing.
They also perform better with less sunlight than many other varieties so they are good for balconies, yards, or tucking into unused spaces of the garden.
They have been around since the 1940s and produce 2cm (1 inch) round tomatoes that are known for their tart, but sweet, flavor.
2: Sweet Million
Sweet Million are a very tall vine that is very hardy. They grow in a variety of climates and are very prodigious with sweet 2-3cm (1 inch) round cherries on long trusses. They are fairly disease resistant and very tasty.
3: Bumble Bee
These beautiful red tomatoes come with pink, purple, orange, or green stripes. The 4cm (1.5 inches) tomatoes are as sweet and flavorful as they are colorful, but be sure to provide trellises for the large vines.
These cherry tomatoes can be grown in cool, wet conditions and can be harvested very early, yet they still have a surprisingly high sugar content.
The vines reach 1.8m (6 feet) tall and produce trusses of 15 to 20 cherries over a long growing season. The tomatoes are about 2.5cm to 4cm (1-1.5 inches) and are best when harvested full-colored and firm.
5: Supersweet 100
When many people think of a cherry tomato, they are thinking about the Supersweet 100. This classic cherry produces loads of sweet fruits clustered together on long trusses. The great tasting tomatoes average 15g to 20g (0.5-0.7 oz).
6: Midnight Snack
A true beauty of the tomato world, Midnight Snack ripen from a green with a bright purple top to a dark red with a deep-purple overlay. They are heavy yielders on tall vines so don’t forget to give them a study trellis.
When ripe, these cherry tomatoes are very flavorful and about 4cm (1.5 inches) across. On top of fresh eating, many gardeners use them for juicing, salsa, or other sauces.
7: Black Cherry
These dark cherry tomatoes ripen to a dark purply brown. Like most black cherries, they have a nice rich flavor, and their large plants are very prolific. A nice heirloom tomato, the Black Cherry are always highly praised.
The tallest tomato plant ever recorded reached 19.8 meters (65 feet) was a Sungold, though in the home garden they usually max out at a more reasonable 1.8m to 2.5m (6-8 feet).
The orange fruits have a unique flavor. The plants are very productive and will produce long trusses all until frost kill in the fall.
9: Gold Nugget
Gold Nugget are a dwarf variety that tops out around 60cm (24 inches) tall and are good for potted gardens. As the name implies, the tomatoes are nice and yellow and sweet.
They are an early maturing tomato that grows in cool weather and are ideal for the short season gardens of the north.
10: Yellow Mini
This yellow cherry tomato is sweet with excellent flavor. The nice round fruits weigh in around 15g to 20g (0.5-0.7 oz).
They are particularly resistant to splitting which is sometimes a blessing when growing cherry tomatoes, and they are also very resistant to tobacco mosaic virus.
11: Yellow Pear
Know for their unique pear-shaped fruits, Yellow Pear cherry tomatoes are an heirloom variety and are often described to have a creamy texture and are nice and sweet. The vines often reach 2.5m (8 feet) and are very prolific.
The JuaneFlamme is an orange cherry tomato that makes a beautiful and delicious addition to the garden. This French native grows on 2m (6 feet) vines. The golf ball sized fruit weighs roughly 9g (0.3oz) and grow in small clusters near the main stems.
The most unique feature of the JuaneFlamme is its flavor. Commonly called the “drying tomato” because it retains is deep orange color and citrus-like flavor when they are dried or roasted. In fact, many say their flavor becomes even more intense!
13: Green Doctors
Don’t let the color deceive you because the Green Doctors cherry tomatoes are very sweet, and have been ranked among the best tasting tomatoes. The fruits are a striking green like a peeled kiwi and the vines are very prolific.
For the sweetest fruits, harvest them when they are turning slightly soft.
14: Italian Ice
Aptly named, these 2cm to 3cm (1 inch) sized fruits ripen from green to a white or creamy yellow. The vines are a heavy producer of very sweet, mild flavored tomatoes that are low in acid. The tomatoes grow in large clusters and the vines will grow very large so will need plenty of sturdy support.
The bright white tomatoes are a very unique addition to your garden.
One of the most enjoyable parts of gardening is flipping through the seed catalogue to find new and exciting additions to your garden. But sometimes, there are so many choices that the decision seems overwhelming.
This is especially true with tomatoes where there seems to be new varieties being developed all the time. I hope this list will help narrow down the selection so you can find just the right cherry tomato for your garden.
Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.