If you are planning on growing large, exotic Cherokee Purple tomatoes in your garden this year, you might be wondering how big the plants and fruit will get. That way, you can plan the number of plants and the amount of space you will need for your crop of Cherokee Purple tomatoes.
So, how big do Cherokee Purple tomatoes get? Cherokee Purple tomato plants grow to a height of 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) tall and 18 inches (46 centimeters) wide, and produce fruit that is 5 inches across, 3.5 inches deep, and weighs 8 to 13 ounces (227 to 369 grams).
Of course, the quality of your fruit (if you get any at all!) depends on the care that you give your tomato plants. Let’s take a closer look at Cherokee Purple tomatoes, including size, growing conditions, and time to maturity.
-How Big Do Cherokee Purple Tomatoes Get?
The fruit of a Cherokee Purple tomato plant will grow into a flat globe shape, about 5 inches wide and 3.5 inches tall. When ripe, the fruit is dusky pink and weighs 8 to 13 ounces (227 to 369 grams).
The Cherokee Purple tomato is considered a “beefsteak” tomato, making it perfect for slicing onto sandwiches. It is juicy and the seeds inside are surrounded by green gel.
For more information, check out this page on Cherokee Purple tomatoes from the Burpee website.
A Cherokee Purple tomato plant will grow to a height of 4 to 6 feet (1.2 to 1.8 meters) tall, with a width of 18 inches (46 centimeters). As tomato plants approach 5 or 6 feet tall, you may want to support them with stakes or trellises instead of cages.
Are Cherokee Purple Tomatoes Determinate Or Indeterminate?
Cherokee Purple tomatoes are indeterminate, meaning that their maximum height is not predetermined by their genetics. They will continue to grow and produce fruit throughout the growing season.
For more information, check out this page on Cherokee Purple tomatoes from the Bonnie website.
You can also learn more if you check out this article on Cherokee Purple tomatoes from Wikipedia.
How Long Do Cherokee Purple Tomatoes Take To Ripen?
After transplanting into your garden, a Cherokee Purple tomato plant will take between 72 and 90 days to ripen. If you start a Cherokee Purple tomato from seed, it will take about 25 days longer to see mature, ripe fruit on the vine (for a total of 97 to 115 days from seed to ripe fruit).
So, how do you know when to pick Cherokee Purple Tomatoes? The fruit itself will look like a flat globe with “shoulders” or ridges at the top. The tomato will have a dusky pink color with some green or brown spots when it is ripe.
If you cut the tomato, you will see purple, brown, or green flesh inside. For more information, check out this page on Cherokee Purple tomatoes from Johnny’s Selected Seeds.
You can get dozens of Cherokee Purple tomatoes per plant in a single season. For more information, check out my article on when tomato plants produce fruit.
Cherokee Purple tomatoes are an heirloom variety. This means that if you save the seeds and plant them, you will get similar plants the next year.
For more information, check out my article on how to save seeds.
Are Cherokee Purple Tomatoes Hard To Grow?
Cherokee Purple tomatoes are a not difficult to grow, since they have reasonably fast growth. They also have less resistance than hybrid varieties to some common tomato problems, such as fusarium wilt and verticillium wilt.
They do require full sun, so a shady location will not work for Cherokee Purple tomatoes. Also, the fruit matures in 72 to 90 days after transplanting, which is in the middle of the road as far as time to maturity for tomato plants.
Remember that every day on the vine is another chance for diseases, such as blight, to infect your tomato plants. So, a faster time to maturity means that your plants are not exposed to these problems as long as other tomato varieties.
For more information, check out my article on tomato blight.
Of course, there are other factors to consider when deciding whether to grow Cherokee Purple tomato plants. The quality of care that you give your tomato plants will help to determine how much fruit you get each year. Some of the most important factors are temperature, watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
Temperature For Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
Early fall frosts or late spring frosts can spell death for your Cherokee Purple tomato plants. The threat is increased if you live in an area with a short growing season.
Cherokee Purple tomato plants may stop producing if temperatures drop below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius). If temperatures drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or lower, your Cherokee Purple tomato plants may die.
If nothing else, cold temperatures can make the fruit mushy and flavorless, which is why it is recommended that you not store tomatoes in the refrigerator!
There are some ways to protect your plants from frost, including the use of row covers. For more information, check out my article on protecting your tomato plants from cold and frost.
On the other extreme, your tomato plants may stop producing fruit if daytime temperatures are over 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). In addition, the hot, sticky days of summer can prevent proper pollination due to excessive humidity.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about high temperatures or humidity levels. Just be sure to insulate your tomato plants by putting a layer of mulch or compost over the topsoil around them.
If you encounter problems with pollination, check out my article on how to pollinate tomato plants by hand.
Watering For Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
Avoid letting the soil stay dry for too long, since uneven watering can lead to blossom end rot in tomatoes. If you find that you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on how to treat dry soil.
On the other hand, over watering your Cherokee Purple tomato plants (or any plants for that matter) can lead to root rot and eventual death. The best way to decide when to water is to feel the soil with your fingers.
If the soil feels dry 2 or 3 inches below the surface, then go ahead and water. For more information, check out my article on over watering your plants.
Try to water early in the morning, rather than at night, to allow water to soak into the soil. Avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent rot, mold, and diseases.
Fertilizing For Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
Before you plant tomato seeds or transplants in your garden, add some compost to your soil. It will provide organic material and nutrients for your plants as they grow. The best part is that you can make compost yourself from ordinary yard and kitchen waste!
For more information, check out my article on how to make your own compost.
It may be necessary to use fertilizers as a supplement to compost, in order to provide extra nutrients if your soil is lacking. The best way to tell if you need fertilizer is with a soil test.
For more information, check out my article on soil testing.
The soil pH should be between 6.2 and 6.8 – a soil test will also indicate the pH of your soil.
Finally, remember that it is possible to harm or kill your tomato plants by over fertilizing them. For example, too much nitrogen can prevent your tomato plant from producing any fruit.
Pruning For Cherokee Purple Tomatoes
Many gardeners choose to prune off the suckers, or side shoots, of tomato plants as they grow. The result is fewer, but larger, fruits on the vine.
Pruning away the lower leaves and branches of the tomato plant can also help to prevent the spread of disease in your garden. When you remove the lower leaves and branches, there is less chance of dirt splashing up onto leaves due to rain or watering.
Some Cherokee Purple tomato plants are already on the large side, there is more chance of them becoming too tall and overgrown. So, you may want to prune them at some point. This will avoid branches that are overloaded with fruit, which can lead to breakage.
For more information, check out this article on pruning tomatoes from the University of New Hampshire Extension.
By now, you have a much better idea of how big Cherokee Purple tomatoes get, in terms of both the fruit on the vine and the plant itself. You also know a bit more about the care that is necessary to ensure a healthy crop of Cherokee Purple tomatoes in this year’s garden.
I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone else who can use the information. If you have any questions or advice about Cherokee Purple tomatoes, please leave a comment below.
If you want to grow the best tomatoes every year, check out my article on common mistakes to avoid when growing tomatoes.