How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomato Plants

Is Cherokee Purple tomato hard to grow?

No, not really. In fact, they are among the easiest heirloom tomatoes to grow. Read on for more information about how to succeed with Cherokee Purple tomato.

What do Cherokee Purple tomatoes taste like?

Cherokee Purple tomatoes have a sweet, rich flavor and it’s a great tomato for slicing and adding to a fresh salad or to a sandwich. Cherokee Purple fruits are, for many, high up in the taste testing charts.


How do you prune Cherokee Purple tomato plants?

Prune your tomato plants so that there’s a single stem, two at most. Snap off any suckers – the stems that grow where the ‘normal’ leaf stems join the main stem when they are a couple of inches in length.

What to do with Cherokee Purple tomatoes?

Slice the tomatoes and add them to a salad or to a sandwich. They are delicious when eaten straight off the bush. These tomatoes are also excellent when eaten dried, sautéed, or canned. 

How do you know when Cherokee Purple tomatoes are ripe?

Ripe Cherokee Purple tomatoes are a reddish-purple colour. The purple may look a bit more brownish in colour while at the top of the fruit it may be a little bit green. These tomatoes are ideal for harvesting.

Are Cherokee Purple tomatoes determinate or indeterminate? 

Cherokee Purple tomato plants are indeterminate. What this means is that the plant will keep producing fruit until the first frosts arrive in fall/ autumn. 



Cherokee tomato is among the most popular varieties that are of non-traditional heritage. With Cherokee, you’ll get a high-growing indeterminate plant that produces large-sized fruit.

It’s a very tasty fruit with its highly distinctive purple-red coloring.


Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes



What’s the Ideal Soil for These Tomato Plants?

Rich soil is best as is the case for every tomato plant. Ideally, you’ll want a soil that has plenty of nutrients. Dig down to six inches or more to prepare the soil for planting. Cherokee Purple has a deep root system. 

The soil should have a reasonably high amount of nitrogen to start out, while soil pH is good at around 6.0-6.8.



How to Grow Cherokee Purple Tomato Plants

You’ll want to start your seeds some eight weeks or earlier prior to the last springtime frosts. Even when these tomato plants are grown in good-quality potting soil they are quite slow to get going. 

If you’ve purchased seedlings keep them indoors for the first week or a little longer prior to placing outside to harden off. When they are small, Cherokee Purple tomato plants easily succumb to extremes of temperature so you should provide them with protection. 

At this point, plant the seedlings into the ground in a sunny spot. Make sure that each plant is given a minimum of 3 feet of space. Four feet is ideal. These tomato plants grow as high as 9 feet and they spread wide.

As a way of encouraging a strong stem and more root growth pinch out the earlier shoots. Water often and add compost or a light fertilizer every 30-45 days. If you did manage to add nitrogen to begin, use a balanced fertilizer at this stage.

The plants grow tall and the fruits heavy so use cages or at least staking. If you do use stakes it may be troublesome to keep the tomatoes on the vine when they are nearing ripeness. As such, cages are the better option. Teepee-type frames also work well.



When Should You Harvest Cherokee Purple Tomatoes?

For the most part, the tomatoes will take a minimum of 80 days before they are ready to be harvested. As is the case with many heirloom tomatoes it’s unlikely that these fruit will all ripen at the same time.

Once the tomatoes have a strong purple-black hue it’s probably time to harvest. The shoulder of these tomatoes (the top) tends to remain relatively green, though that colour may become lighter when the fruit are ripe.


How to Save Seeds

The seeds that Cherokee Purple produces are easy to dry and easy to store. You can hollow your tomatoes out, reap the seeds, then bake the fruit as stuffed tomatoes.

Separate and clean the seeds then slowly dry them over a period of time. In a place that’s cool and dry, Cherokee Purple seeds, as with most heirloom tomato seeds that are well dried will keep for up to two to three years.


Do Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato Plants Suffer from Pests and Diseases?

Generally, Cherokee Purple tomato plants demonstrate a resistance to Septoria (a fungus) and to Fusarium wilt. But if the plants are well kept – watered and fed appropriately, they will resist pretty much any disease and not become susceptible to pests either. 

Primarily in the U.S. the main problem is mosaic virus. After it sets in mosaic virus cannot be remedied. 

If you do think that any of your tomato plants have mosaic virus (a viral infection carried by insects and identified by wilt-like curling of the leaves), remove the plants fast and destroy them.

Keep the fruit off the ground and this will prevent the majority of blights. Most pests don’t pay much attention to Purple Cherokee tomato plants other than caterpillars. Caterpillars can completely destroy an entire plant – an entire crop.


Read: 7 Beneficial Insects for Tomato Plants


Further Tips for Growing Cherokee Purple

As far as heirloom tomatoes are concerned, Cherokee Purple is one of the easiest to grow. As with all tomatoes, they greatly benefit from a lot of care to get them going. Otherwise, it’s a matter of regular watering and some occasional addition of fertilizer. 



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