If you are planning on growing tasty, compact Roma 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 Roma tomatoes.
So, how big do Roma tomatoes get? Roma tomato plants grow to a height of 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 meters) tall and 18 inches (46 centimeters) wide, and produce fruit that is 3 inches (7.5 centimeters) long and weighs 2 ounces (57 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 Roma tomatoes, including size, growing conditions, and time to maturity.
How Big Do Roma Tomatoes Get?
The fruit of a Roma tomato plant will grow into an egg or pear shape about 3 inches long. When ripe, the fruit is red (or yellow for some varieties), and weighs 2 ounces (57 grams).
The Roma tomato is considered a “paste” tomato, making it perfect for canning or cooking for pasta and pizza sauces. For more information, check out this article on preserving tomatoes from the Penn State Extension.
Of course, you can still slice them up and eat them raw, but they are not as juicy as other tomato varieties. For more information, check out this page on Roma Tomatoes from the Burpee website.
A Roma tomato plant will grow to a height of 3 to 6 feet (0.9 to 1.8 meters) tall, with a width of 18 inches (46 centimeters). The shorter height of Roma tomato plants means that you can support them with tomato cages instead of stakes or trellises if you wish.
Are Roma Tomatoes Determinate Or Indeterminate?
Roma tomatoes are determinate, meaning that their maximum height is predetermined by their genetics. This also means that they will flower and produce fruit once for a short time during their growing season.
All of the fruit will mature around the same time, so it should be preserved immediately by canning or making sauces.
For more information, check out this page on Roma tomatoes from the Bonnie Plants website.
You can also learn more if you check out this article on Roma tomatoes from Wikipedia.
How Much Space Do Roma Tomatoes Need?
Roma tomatoes have a spread of 18 inches (46 centimeters), so plant then at least that far apart in your garden. It is better to leave a little more space so that you can move between the plants and have more room to water, weed, fertilize, and harvest.
If growing Roma tomatoes in containers, choose a pot that is at least 18 inches wide. That way, the plant will not overgrow the pot. Of course, you can always prune the tomato plant to remove any suckers that leave the container (more on pruning later).
How Long Does It Take For Roma Tomatoes To Turn Red And Ripen?
After transplanting into your garden, a Roma tomato plant will take between 70 and 80 days to ripen. If you start a Roma tomato from seed, it will take about 25 days longer to see mature, ripe fruit on the vine (for a total of 95 to 105 days from seed to ripe fruit).
The fruit itself will be long and egg or pear shaped, with red or yellow color when it ripe. It is not as juicy as other tomatoes, which is actually an advantage. When you cook Roma tomatoes, they get thick, making them perfect for making tomato paste or sauce.
You can get dozens of Roma tomatoes per plant in a single season. For more information, check out my article on when tomato plants produce fruit.
Are Roma Tomatoes Hard To Grow?
Roma tomatoes are not too difficult to grow, since they have reasonably fast growth. They also have resistance 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 Roma tomatoes. Also, the fruit matures in 70 to 80 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 Roma 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 Roma Tomatoes
Early fall frosts or late spring frosts can spell death for your Roma tomato plants. The threat is increased if you live in an area with a short growing season.
Roma 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 Roma 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 Roma 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 Roma 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 Roma 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 Roma 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 Roma tomato plants are already small (on the shorter end of the 3 to 6 foot height range) for tomato plants, so there is less chance of them becoming too tall and overgrown. Still, you may want to prune 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 Roma 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 Roma 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 Roma 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.