Plant Profile: Cherokee Purple Tomato

I originally purchased my Cherokee Purple Tomato seed from Baker Creek. Their description reads,

“80 days. An old Cherokee Indian heirloom, pre-1890 variety; beautiful, deep, dusky purple-pink color, superb sweet flavor, and very-large-sized fruit. Try this one for real old-time tomato flavor. Our favorite dark tomato and one of our best selling varieties.”

I found that these tomatoes did well in our climate with a couple caveats – the biggest being that they stopped setting fruit when we got into the worst heat of our summer. With that, I recommend watering twice a week during the summer’s worst heat and mulching heavily. Once things cooled off again, they made tomatoes like crazy! I had so many, I ended up just giving them to Taylor – he likes babying his “matos.”

These tomatoes need a good head-start indoors here. Even though they are supposed to be an 80 day tomato, they don’t enjoy our clay soils and need a little more time to get going. Using raised beds with amended soil or growing in pots will help a lot with this.

Even with those caveats, it’s easy to see why these tomatoes are one of Baker Creek’s best sellers. They are prolific producers of big fruits, and they are exceptionally tasty.

This past year I tried trellising them on twine tied to PVC. I found that the fruits became too heavy and the twine started cutting into the vines. This coming year I plan on staking them directly to a pole for better stability. The vines easily climbed up 6 feet, at which point I pinched them off so they could put more energy into the fruits.

I can’t wait to get them started inside!



  1. Oooo, I hope I can grow a whole bunch of these lovelies... I'm just now deciding I could be happy with them taking all the space of my front yard box.. maybe some lettuces and other little things interplanted amongst them... I'm getting so excited! I'd better start some soon!


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