Grape tomatoes are the cutest form of tomato in the world! This variety is relatively new to the market but has taken over supermarket shelves and cookeries by storm.
Although it was first tried out by gardeners and chefs just for fun, Grape tomatoes have now become an indispensable part of gardens and pantries because of their unique shape and taste.
The scientific name for this variety is Solanum Lycopersicum and is characterized by its cherry-sized but grape-shaped tomatoes.
Many gardeners confuse Grape tomatoes with cherry tomatoes, but they’re not the same thing.
Grape tomatoes are firm and more egg-shaped but are more on the sour side than sweet cherry tomatoes.
The smaller size of Grape tomatoes means the average fruit yield per plant will not be as heavy as other varieties of tomato.
It takes much more time and effort to prepare the same mass amount of Grape tomatoes as other tomato varieties; however, the unique shape and taste are worth all the hassle.
And because it is a more demanding job for farmers to fill their buckets with Grape tomatoes, the hard work needed to harvest this tomato variety is translated into the high prices allocated to them in the supermarket.
But regardless of how unique or tasty this variety may be, the Grape tomato hybrid beats all other kinds of tomato when it comes to aesthetics.
This plant produces fruit in clutches, with a long stem with tomatoes hanging from both sides of it.
It is a beautiful sight, really like a string of pearls, only bright red in color and delicious to the taste.
Grape Tomato Plant Care
Grape tomatoes grow well when daytime temperatures are between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit (18-30 degrees Celsius). Like all tomato varieties, it needs well-draining and nutrient-rich loamy soil. It requires consistent watering, and the soil shouldn’t dry out. You will also need a trellis or stakes to support the plants.
Basic Grape Tomato Plant Care
Because the Grape tomato belongs to the same family as all the other tomato varieties, it is evident that caring for these plants will be the same as caring for any other variety of tomatoes.
This seems true, but not entirely.
You see different varieties of a fruiting plant display different growing and fruiting patterns.
While basic provisions like soil requirements, light requirements, and watering might be similar across different varieties, you will still need to take into consideration the differences.
Here is a detailed guide to caring for Grape tomato plants and making sure you get the most out of this fantastic variety.
Most varieties of tomatoes are not very choosy about the type of soil they like to grow. Grape tomatoes are one of them.
Because all tomato plants require a great deal of water, your Grape tomatoes will like soil that has good water retention.
However, they will not survive in overly soggy soil.
Here’s a little guide to the perfect soil conditions for growing Grape tomatoes.
The Grape tomato is one hybrid that can be grown equally well in pots or planters or in growing beds.
When plants grow directly in the ground, their roots grow deep into the soil to search for water and nutrients.
But when growing in pots, you must ensure that the potting mix contains adequate nutrition, water retention, and drainage ability for your Grape tomatoes to thrive.
This does not imply that your tomatoes do not require fertile soil or fertilizing supplements as they grow in grow beds. Just that plants growing in containers need richer soil.
Tomatoes like loamy soil, so look for well-draining and mostly organic loam. Tomatoes thrive in slightly acidic soil conditions, and a soil pH level of 6 is just what they need!
The phenomenon that the way your tomatoes taste depends on the soil they’ve grown in. This is every bit true.
To grow delicious Grape tomatoes, you need a nutrient-rich, well-draining organic soil mix. You can choose any suitable potting mix that is commercially available.
If you want to save money, then prepare your own potting mix using the following recipe:
- ¼ parts potting soil
- ¼ parts perlite
- ¼ parts sphagnum peat moss
- ¼ parts compost
Grape tomatoes need direct sunlight all day long, or at least 6-8 hours of it.
Make space for Grape tomatoes in one sunny corner of your garden or against a wall that gets ample sunlight.
The garland-like tomato clutches look very attractive and will add to the beauty of your place.
Because the plants can grow up to 6 feet tall (1.8 meters) and 3 feet wide (0.9 meters), they will require staking or some sort of support. This is also why this variety can not be brought indoors.
Grape tomatoes are susceptible to damage from harsh sunlight. They are not a bushy variety, and the foliage does not act to shelter the fruit.
Moreover, the small size of the fruit means you cannot allow it to be exposed to hot sunlight for extended periods.
If you live in a climate where the day can be too hot and sunny, choose a place that gets morning sunlight rather than midday and afternoon sunlight.
Abundant water is crucial for Grape tomatoes.
Now, abundant water does not mean dumping liters of water in the planters or growing beds; it means supplying your tomato plants with a consistent supply of adequate water.
The key to beautiful red garlands of tomatoes hanging at the edge of your garden is always keeping the soil reasonably damp and never letting it completely dry out.
If you manage to master the watering practice for this variety, you may as well manage to grow bigger Grape tomatoes than other gardeners.
Underwatering your tomato plants is a big no, but overwatering is a bigger no.
Underwatering may reduce the fruit yield, but the latter can instantly kill your plant.
Novice tomato growers should bear in mind that they are bound to make several watering mistakes, but that’s all part of the learning process.
The key is to frequently check the soil for moisture. Sticking your finger in the soil is the old reliable method to ensure you will not make a watering blunder.
Give your tomatoes a healthy watering if you think the soil is about to go dry.
Twice a week is the standard watering practice for Grape tomatoes, but you will have to tweak this routine depending on your climate.
The optimum daytime growing temperature range for Grape tomatoes is between 65-85 degrees Fahrenheit (18-30 degrees Celsius).
Nighttime temperatures need to drop for tomatoes to pick up on the red color.
Too high temperatures can make your tomato plants stop growing.
For instance, if daytime temperatures cross 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius), tomatoes will stop growing.
Similarly, Grape tomatoes will not ripen if nighttime temperatures do not drop below 85 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius).
Grape tomatoes are known to do well in the South American region. This variety will do exceptionally well in USDA Hardiness zone 10-11.
If you live in a warmer climate, this variety may not fruit later into the season as the summer gets hot.
Along with abundant soil moisture, tomato plants need atmospheric moisture to grow shiny and juicy fruit.
Humidity levels between 80-90% are ideal for Grape tomatoes.
Lower temperatures, as well as lower humidity levels, are needed overnight for tomatoes to ripen well.
65-75% humidity is just fine.
Like all tomato plants, Grape tomatoes are heavy feeders and require nutrient-rich soil to grow well and produce fruit.
If you want to maximize your yield of Grape tomatoes, here’s the science you need to know.
Nitrogen helps a plant produce healthy and robust foliage. The first couple of fertilizer doses should be high in nitrogen.
This will provide the plant a strong base to grow and then later produce fruit.
As the growing season progresses, keep an eye out for flower buds.
As soon as they appear, switch to a high-phosphorus-and-potassium fertilizer. There are two reasons for this.
One, excess nitrogen can lead to the plant growing lush green foliage and less fruit.
Phosphorus and Potassium encourage flowering, which in turn means more fruit.
If you want home-grown Grape tomatoes the next growing season, here is what you need to do.
Start off by germinating seeds in seed trays indoors. You should sow the seeds 5-6 weeks before the start of spring or the last frost of the winter.
Germination in cold weather can be challenging, so you can create a mini-greenhouse by covering your seed trays with a plastic film and increase the speed and chances of germination.
After the seeds have sprouted and the seedling is a week or two old, you can start to help them acclimatize to the outdoors by bringing them out into the sun for a few hours every day.
Once nighttime temperatures cross 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius), or once the last frost date has passed, you can finally transfer the young seedlings to their permanent home outdoors.
Pruning can help Grape tomato plants produce more fruit.
Grape tomatoes are vining plants and will naturally grow multiple stems from the main branch.
When a plant grows more stems, this usually means more fruit; however, the disadvantages outweigh the benefits.
When a plant grows side stems and is not pruned, the stems can start sprawling to the ground or in any other unwanted direction.
When the Grape tomato fruits, the weight of the many small egg-shaped tomatoes will weigh the stem down which leads to a range of problems.
An unpruned Grape tomato plant does not look as pretty as a well-maintained one. Not only that, but hanging stems can be destructive and will lead to more fruit dropping to the ground.
To maximize fruit yield, tomato plants should ideally be pruned back to one or, at most, two main stems.
Other branches stemming out from the lower parts of the plant should also be removed to reduce the chances of a mold infection spreading from the soil.
Grape tomato plants grow in a vining pattern.
Although there are smaller and larger sub-varieties of Grape tomatoes, some sort of support is needed for the plants to grow well without sprawling all over the ground.
Once the plants are 2-3 feet long, use a soft plant tie and tie them to the supporting structure. Each plant can grow 3 feet wide and up to 7 feet in height.
Common Problems With Grape Tomato Plants
The sweet Grape tomatoes hanging in your garden can look like an easy target for most tomato-attacking pests and diseases.
But if you are vigilant and swift to act, nothing can damage your sweet tomato garlands.
You’ll definitely have to use some form of natural insecticide to keep your sweet tomatoes safe from bugs.
To prevent mold infections and other diseases, make sure that you water these plants in the morning rather than later in the day.
Grape tomatoes lacking in calcium tend to develop blossom end rot, which look like brown leather patches on their bottom parts. Use fish emulsion fertilizer to provide ample soil calcium.
Frequently Asked Questions About Grape Tomato Plant Care
When can I harvest my Grape tomatoes?
You should be able to harvest your Grape tomatoes about 70 days after germination. Once the fruit’s fully ripened, you can easily pick it from the plant.
Are Grape tomatoes determinate or indeterminate?
There are several sub-varieties to Grape tomatoes. Smaller varieties are determinate, while taller Grape tomato types are indeterminate.
What to do if there’s frost on Grape tomatoes?
If you got unexpected frost overnight and the Grape tomatoes were not protected, you can still try and save them. Use a garden hose to get the ice off the young plants before they are exposed to sunlight. Getting all ice off the plants before sunrise may save them.
Grape tomatoes are surely a treat to eat as well as to grow in the garden.
With only a little extra effort, this tomato variety will surely gift you with delicious fruit but also add amazing color to your garden.
Good sun and consistent watering that is all you need to get buckets full of delectable Grape tomatoes, all under 70 days.
Marcel runs the place around here. He has a deep passion for houseplants & gardening and is constantly on the lookout for yet another special plant to add to his arsenal of houseplants, succulents & cacti.
Marcel is also the founder of Iseli International Commerce, a sole proprietorship company that publishes a variety of websites and online magazines.