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Ornamental Tomato: Everything You Need To Know

Have you ever been envious of others’ gardens with marble-colored and shaped tomatoes? This time, you can boast maximum with ornamental tomatoes. 

Generally, ornamental tomato serves decor and fruits in multiple colors including red, yellow, orange, purple, and green. There are several varieties, such as tumbling tom, tigerella, purple pod, red robin, etc. Also, they are ready to harvest in 60-90 days after planting. 

If you are planning to garden ornamental tomatoes, this article is only for you!

What are Ornamental Tomatoes?

Ornamental tomatoes are grown for their beauty and fruits. True to their beauty, tomatoes come in multiple colors, including red, yellow, orange, purple, and green. 

ornamental tomatoes
Ornamental tomatoes look beautiful and are a great addition to any home or garden.

These tomatoes grow in different sizes ranging from small or cherry-like fruit to large or beefsteak-like ones. Also, some possess smooth skin, while others boast bumpy or ridged skin. 

One notable feature of ornamental tomatoes is that they never come in the usual shape. Some get hearts, stars, eggs and flowers in shape, while others have different patterns, including stripes or swirls.

There are hundreds of ornamental tomato varieties worldwide, and some popular examples are below.

  • Tumbling Tom: It yields small, cherry-like tomatoes in multiple colors including yellow and orange. Tumbling Tom plants are compact and get bushy, with trailing stems extending to 3 feet long. They are a good choice for hanging baskets and containers.
  • Tigerella: This variety is a type of heirloom tomato that produces orange and yellow striped tomatoes. Fruits are small to medium in size, around 2-4 inches in round to oval shape. These tomatoes are a good choice for the garden. 
  • Purple Pod: These purple tomatoes produce a sweeter, more complex flavor than the traditional tomatoes with notes of berry and smoke. These tomatoes often serve  salads or are used in cooked dishes.
  • Red Robin: It mimics cherry tomatoes and heart-shaped fruits. The plant is 8-12 inches tall with 1-inch fruits hanging. You can grow these tomatoes in the borders and patio pots.

Culinary Uses

Yes, ornamental tomatoes are edible, though they look adorable. However, they are not supposed to be eaten raw or fresh as they are tough and bitter, and flesh is often found as mealy. 

However, ornamental tomatoes are served in many cooked dishes, including sauces, soups, and stews.

Before you use these tomatoes, remove the skin and seeds. To perform this, you can blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for half minute and proceed with peeling and seeding them. 

How to Grow Ornamental Tomatoes?

You can grow ornamental tomatoes in both containers and in the ground easily; only you need to offer full sun and well-drained soil.

If you have already collected ornamental tomato seeds, sow the seeds indoors in the germinating tray 6-8 weeks before the last frost. 

Then transplant the seedlings when they are big enough with 3-4 leaves. Also, remember to plant them outdoors 2-3 feet apart.

After planting the seedlings, you need to water them regularly, especially on hot days and feed them every 2 or 3 weeks with balanced fertilizer. 

Additional Tips to Grow Ornamental Tomatoes

  1. Remember to prune and deadhead the tomatoes to boost new growth and fruiting. 
  2. To provide support to extend the vines, you can cage and stake the plants. 
  3. Also, mulch around the tomato plants to help absorb the moisture and dominate weeds.
  4. When winter comes, protect the tomatoes from frost and other cold exteriors. 

Once the ornamental tomatoes grow successfully, they are ready to harvest in 2- 3 months after planting. You can simply cut the fruits from the vines with a pair of scissors or a knife.

You can also pluck the fruits out with your hands manually.

From Editorial Team

Uses of Ornamental Tomatoes

Besides the home decor and food, ornamental tomatoes serve crafts and composting. 

Wreaths, centerpieces, and jewelry can be great crafts made of ornamental tomatoes. Moreover, composting these tomatoes helps improve the quality of your soil.

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