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LYCOPERSICON esculentum 'Black Cherry'

Image of Lycopersicon esculentum 'Black Cherry'

James H. Schutte



Botanical Name

LYCOPERSICON esculentum 'Black Cherry'

Plant Common Name

Black Cherry Tomato, Cherry Tomato, Tomato

General Description

A disease-resistant selection, 'Black Cherry' is the only cherry tomato that develops deep purplish-red fruits. It's a vining or indeterminate tomato that yields fruits early in the season, about 68 to 75 days after planting seedlings. Start seeds indoors six weeks prior to the frost date and transplant seedlings outdoors after the threat of frost has passed. The cute, 1-inch (2.5 cm), unusually colored fruits have a rich, sweet taste with full tomato flavor.

The garden tomato is a short-lived tender perennial vine that is grown as an annual crop. Its compound leaves are medium green, hairy and have a strong fragrance. Some vines have thick, potato-like leaves while others have more delicate, dissected leaves. Mature vines produce star-shaped yellow flowers in clusters along the branches. Most modern types are self-fertile.

Tomato plants have two growth types, determinant and indeterminate. Determinant tomatoes have short bushy habits, do not vine, and set fruit over a four to six week period. They are easy to maintain and well-suited to container culture. By contrast, indeterminate vines grow very large and produce a huge crop of fruit over a longer period but require more care.

Tomatoes require full sun and perfectly drained, slightly acid to neutral garden loam. The vines root along the stems and should be planted deep for better establishment. They are cold sensitive, so plant after the danger of frost has passed. Production and fruit flavor are best when both nights and days are warm. The fruits themselves are cold sensitive and become tough and less flavorful under cool temperatures, so refrain from storing them in the refrigerator. In subtropical locations, tomatoes can be grown as a winter crop — if temperatures remain warm enough.

These veggies are heavy feeders, so it is important to fertilize and water them regularly and evenly for best growth and production. Be sure to choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for tomatoes, and avoid over-watering because too much water can reduce flavor and cause fruit cracking.

Tomatoes are susceptible to a wide range of pests and diseases. There are hundreds of varieties available, many of which are resistant. For more information on tomato diseases see Learn2Grow's general database entry for Lycopersicon esculentum.


  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type


  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    4'-8' / 1.2m - 2.4m

  • Width

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time


  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH


  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate


  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit


  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest


  • Flower Color


  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Dark Red, Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers


  • Fragrant Fruit


  • Fragrant Foliage


  • Bark or Stem Fragrant


  • Flower Petal Number


  • Repeat Bloomer


  • Showy Fruit


  • Edible Fruit


  • Showy Foliage


  • Foliage Texture


  • Foliage Sheen


  • Evergreen


  • Showy Bark


Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable, Vine

  • Sharp or Has Thorns


  • Invasive


  • Attracts


  • Self-Sowing