Tomato

Solanum lycopersicum

Tamatie (Afr.)

profile iconSolanum lycopersicum 'Cronos', tomaat 'Cronos'
by Rasbak (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 11
Some red and green Solanum lycopersicum tomatoes in a garden
profile iconSolanum lycopersicum 'Cronos', tomaat 'Cronos'
by Rasbak (CC BY-SA 3.0)
1 of 11
Solanum lycopersicum is a perennial tomato species from the Solanaceae family. It originates from South America and was brought to Europe by Spaniards in the 1500s. It produces yellow flowers which develop into fleshy red fruits, called tomatoes. Though a perennial species, it is often grown as an annual for the most efficient vegetable production. Tomatoes are fruits but they are typically used as culinary vegetables. Growing tomatoes can be tricky but is very rewarding if done right. Grow more than one variety, as some will suit your area better than others. Tomatoes come in a wide range of cultivars suited to specific conditions and uses. From juicing, salad tomatoes, and just eating off the vine. They can come in a multitude of shapes, sizes and colours including striped varieties and even heart-shaped fruits!
Free download for your phone or tablet
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Planning

Difficulty

Moderate

Flowering time

Summer, Spring

Fruiting time

Summer, Autumn

Harvesting

Roughly 45-90 days until maturity. Ripe tomatoes are firm but slightly soft and a deep ripe colour and varying sizes. Fruit bruises easily so only "palm" the tomatoes, don't squeeze. Gently pick them off the stem once ripe or remove a branch and allow to dry while picking the fruit as they ripen.

Propagation

Seed

Sow indoors and transplant seedlings once they are 15-25 cm tall. Bury at least two-thirds of the stem to encourage root growth and a stronger plant. Space seedlings 60 cm apart and water thoroughly.

Cuttings

Cutting root easily if placed in a glass of water.

Special features

Crop rotation

Tomatoes are heavy feeders and require well-fertilized soil. Rotate annually to prevent nutrient depletion of the soil.

Pot plant

Can be grown in a container provided it is at least 60 cm wide and deep.

Attracts useful insects

Insects such as bees.

Attractive fruits

Special features

Origin

South and Central America, Mexico.

Natural climate

Temperate

Environment

Light

Full Sun

Soil moisture

Moist

Soil type

Loam, Sand, Compost, Clay

Soil PH preference

Neutral, Acid, Alkaline

Frost hardiness

Tender

Uses

Edible

The fruit is consumed in diverse ways, including raw, as an ingredient in many dishes, sauces, salads, and drinks made into juices, dried or preserved.

Medicinal

Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant. It contains vitamins A, B, C and K as well as minerals like potassium and calcium.

Personality

Family

Solanaceae

Flower colour

Yellow

Scent

None

Problems

Pests include cutworms, hornworms and bollworm, aphids, cabbage loopers, whiteflies, tomato fruitworms, red spider mite, slugs, and Colorado potato beetles. Diseases include the tobacco mosaic virus, blight and various forms of mildew.

Companion plants

Free download for your phone or tablet
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play

Knowledge and advice

Search our ever-growing knowledge base to find plants and information. Find out about pests and diseases you should be keeping an eye out for. Watch How to videos or follow step by step guides for tasks in the garden. Free download for your phone or tablet.
Download on the App StoreGet it on Google Play