The German Queen tomato, otherwise known as Heirloom tomato, is an old-fashioned tomato plant that produces large, meaty fruits throughout the summer months. The plant grows to around 3.9 – 5.9 feet tall (120-180cm) and the fruits can weigh up to 18oz (510g).
How to Grow German Queen Tomatoes?
German Queen tomato plants require direct sunlight, heat a good circulation of air, and just the right amount of water. The ideal temperature lies between 80-90 °F (27 – 32 °C). Humidity should range from 40-75% outdoors and 70-90% indoors. The soil should be kept moist but not soaking and fertilizer should be applied every 2-3 weeks once the plant starts to produce fruit.
German Queen Tomato Growing Guide
Where to grow your German Queen tomato plant
Tomato plants love full sun and to ensure a plentiful crop it’s important that you select a position that will get plenty of sun throughout the day.
The fruits are quite weighty so if there is no fence to support the plant you will need to make sure you insert stakes into the ground which you can secure your plants to as they develop.
When planting outside directly in the ground, the German Queen tomato is a good companion plant for beans, lettuce, peppers, basil, and onions.
As a heat-loving plant, it will also grow well in a greenhouse.
It’s important to apply water to the root zone of the plant and not the whole plant. Standing moisture on the leaves can scorch them or encourage rot.
Tomato plants love water so good soaking every few days will help produce fantastic yields and will help to encourage strong root growth.
This is far better than light watering on a daily basis. Your watering schedule will be determined by the amount of rainfall.
If the amount of water is not sufficient to soak into the soil and encourage the roots to flourish, your plant will struggle to anchor itself and will be less able to tolerate dry spells.
To check whether you need to water the plant, use your finger or a trowel to dig into the top of the soil. If the top 2-4 inch (5-10cm) of soil is dry, you should give the roots a good soaking.
Provided they get sufficient watering and are planted in well-draining soil, your German Queen tomato plants will tolerate lots of sun and high temperatures.
However, if the temperature is too low, it can stunt the production of fruits and lead to low yields. The minimum temperature your tomato plant will tolerate is around 40°F (4 °C).
If the overnight temperature regularly falls below this, it may be worth growing your plants in a greenhouse or putting them in pots and bringing them in when the sun goes down.
The ideal temperature for German Queen tomatoes is between 80-90 °F (27 – 32 °C).
Ideal humidity levels for German Queen tomato plants range between 40-75% outdoors. Humidity should be between 70-90% if grown indoors or in a greenhouse.
Keeping a close eye on humidity levels can help keep your plants in optimum condition and result in a better harvest.
Water from the air will be taken in by the plants as they cannot get sufficient amounts of water from the roots alone to provide the type of crop you wish for.
There is such a thing as too much humidity for tomato plants though. If humidity levels go above the recommended range, the air around the plants becomes saturated with water molecules.
This prevents the plants from functioning properly and will cause them to overheat by preventing them from evaporating.
The growth of the plant and its fruits will be stunted and your German Queen tomato will become stressed, making it more susceptible to pests and diseases.
German Queen tomato plants should produce vast crops of large fruits so they are very hungry plants. Even when grown in soil that is rich in organic matter, you will probably still need to fertilize them using a tomato feed from the gardening center.
You should add fertilizer when you transplant your German Queen tomato to its growing space and then again once it starts to produce fruit. Throughout the fruiting season, you should look to fertilize your plants once every 2-3 weeks.
Soluble fertilizers designed for fruiting plants should be fine. They will usually have a 24-8-16 formula.
You can also get fertilizers specifically for tomatoes with an 18-18-21 formula. Soil conditions, temperatures, and humidity will help determine which is best for your plants.
If you try one and don’t achieve the anticipated results, give the other a go and see if crops improve.
Tomatoes love the heat but they also need good air circulation to help them absorb all the nutrients they need and prevent fungal diseases.
Although they like a fairly high level of humidity, too much moisture in the air will increase the risk of the leaves becoming saturated, leading to rot or fungi developing.
Tomato plants ‘transpire’, which means they release moisture via their leaves (similar to sweating). Without a good flow of air, they are unable to do this and become stressed which is likely to stunt their growth.
Good airflow will also gently move the plants and encourage strong stem formation. German Queen, like all tomato plants, needs to absorb carbon dioxide from the air around it. A good flow of fresh air will aid your plant in taking up this vital gas.
The fruits of the German queen tomato are larger and meaty. It produces sweet tomatoes with a low acidity level. The fruits take around 80 days to mature.
If you’re growing German Queen tomatoes for the first time, you’ll need to buy seeds or seedlings from a garden center.
At the end of the growing season, remove the seeds from a few of your fruits and store them for the next year. This way you can have a steady supply of plants year on year.
You should begin the germination process around two weeks before the last frost. This will mean they will be ready to be planted out roughly 2 weeks after the last frost which gives you leeway in case of an unexpected extra frost.
To propagate your German Queen seeds, make sure you use sterile compost to start them off. Untreated garden soil which has not been sterilized can contain pathogens that are harmful to young plants.
Place a layer of compost in your chosen tray or pot and sow your seeds around 2.5cm deep. Cover them over and water.
It’s vital that your pot or tray drains well as young tomato plants are particularly susceptible to ‘damping off’, a fungal disease that forms as a result of the soil being too wet.
Be sure to start your seeds off in small pots and transplant them as they grow. Excess soil will remain wet as the seed or embryonic roots will not be able to soak it up and this can also lead to damping off.
The ideal location for seed germination is a greenhouse as it will provide the heat and high humidity required.
If you don’t have a greenhouse or a cold frame, you can replicate this effect by placing your seeds by a window that gets plenty of sunlight and placing a clear plastic film over the top of your pot or tray. A terrarium is another option.
Your German Queen tomato seedlings should begin to appear after around 7-14 days. Once they are big enough to handle, transplant them to a bigger pot.
The roots of tomato plants grow quite quickly so it’s important to move them early otherwise you will cause the root growth to become stunted. Once the seedlings appear, it’s vital they receive plenty of light to allow them to thrive.
When removing your plants, make sure you pull them by the stem otherwise you are likely to damage them.
Water your German Queen tomato plants once or twice a day while they are in their seedling pots, making sure the soil is moist but not soaking.
Once the seedlings begin to grow larger, you will need to thin them out. Keep only the strongest plants.
Once they have 2-3 leaves, your plants can be placed into their final pot before being planted out. Before planting out they will need to be hardened off to acclimatize them to outside temperatures.
Hardening off usually takes 2-3 weeks and changes the leaf structure of the plant to make it more able to deal with the extremes of weather it will be subjected to once outside.
The process is carried out in stages. Start by moving your seedlings to a cooler area of the home or leaving the greenhouse door open to allow temperatures to drop slightly. After a few days, you can begin to place your pots outside during the day.
At the start of the second week, your plants can be left outside, covered, overnight. Towards the end of the second week, you can leave them out overnight without a covering. If they display no adverse effects to being left out, they can then be transferred to their growing site after 3-4 nights.
German Queen tomato plants grown to a height of around 120-180cm so should be placed 90cm apart to give them plenty of space to grow and for air to circulate.
Common problems with German Queen tomato plants
Early Blight is one of the diseases affecting German Queen tomatoes. It causes irregular-shaped dark brown spots on the shaded lower leaves which get gradually bigger. You may also see dark lesions on the stem.
Early blight is a fungus that overwinters. Plants which are stressed or overwatered are most likely to be affected so good plant health is the best defense against this disease. Infected plants should be removed.
Young German Queen Tomato seedlings can become ‘leggy’ if given too little light or too much fertilizer. If you see the plants looking tall and spindly, it may be that they are reaching for the light.
Consider moving then to a better-lit location. If they are already well-lit, the issue is most likely excess nitrogen from over-fertilizing.
If this is the case, you will need to transplant your seedlings into more suitable soil or compost.
Remove the bottom few layers of leaves and plant your German Queen tomato deeper so that the lowest remaining leaves are just above the compost.
Frequently asked questions about German Queen tomato plants
Why are my German Queen tomato plants not producing fruit?
If your plants are not receiving enough fertilizer or the right type, they will struggle to produce fruit. Use a tomato feed according to the instructions on the bottle and see if that improves your yield. Excess heat can prevent fruiting too. If your German Queen tomatoes are growing in a greenhouse you can open the door or introduce a fan to cool them down. If they are growing outside and you are experiencing a period of unusually hot weather, you will just need to be patient. Continue to water and feed your plants as necessary to help keep them healthy for when conditions improve. The third option is that your plant is facing pollination issues. Gently shake it to help the pollen fall.
Why is my German Queen not producing flowers?
It is not uncommon to see seemingly healthy tomato plants failing to produce flowers – and without flowers, you won’t get those deliciously huge German Queen tomatoes. To rectify this, try pinching out some of the smaller leaves. These add little to the plant’s ability to produce the food necessary for growth and removing them will allow it to divert energy towards producing fruit.
Why are the leaves on my German Queen tomato plant turning yellow?
Lack of water can cause the leaves to turn yellow. Check how moist the soil is. If it is dry add water until the soil is moist. Common pests or diseases can also cause the yellowing of leaves. Help prevent disease by maintaining your plants in good health and making them more able to fight off infections. Make sure the leaves are dry and that there is good air circulation to prevent the stems and leaves from becoming damp. Diseased plants will need to be removed. If your German Queen is subject to a mild infestation of insects, you may be able to treat it with an approved insecticide.
German Queen tomatoes are delicious, meaty and a great source of lycopene and vitamins K and C. German Queen plants are simple to grow and just need plenty of light and not too much water. Treated well, your seeds should produce plenty of plants and the strongest plants should provide copious amounts of fruit for you to enjoy.
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.