How Long Does It Take For Tomatoes To Grow? – Grow Your Pantry

How Long Does It Take For Tomatoes To Grow?

by Susan Grey on September 15, 2019
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How long does it take for tomatoes to grow? On average it takes between 50-100 days for tomatoes to fully mature enough to be harvested from seedlings. If you are growing tomatoes from seeds, you will need to plant the seeds inside. The seeds will take around 6-8 weeks to become seedlings. 
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Time To Grow By Stage

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Stage
Days To Grow
Seed to Seedling
42 - 56 days
Flowering
20 - 30 days
Fruiting
20 - 50 days
Ripening
7 - 30 days

The total amount of time it takes to grow tomatoes is dependent on many factors e.g. which variety you're growing, how you tend to them, temperature levels, availability of water, and fertilization, among others. This period is divided between three main stages of growth which include, flowering, fruiting, and ripening. The following guide is approximate; please be guided by the information on your seed packed.

Flowering 

20-30 days from the time the seedling is moved outside
This describes the time between planting the seedling, and when small yellow flowers start to appear. Flowers indicate that the plant is ready to begin forming fruits. By this time, the tomato vines will have grown to around 15 inches. 
Tomato flowers contain both male and female parts, so are self-pollinating. Therefore, you do not necessarily need to plant more than one to produce tomatoes. You can take advantage of this and try growing different tomato plants before settling on the one which produces desirable results. 

Fruiting

20-50 days 
In this period, you will witness small green tomatoes replacing the flowers on the tomato plants. They shall then grow to reach their full size which some people refer to as 'mature green'. Depending on the variety of tomatoes, you have grown the size of the mature green will differ. Some types produce small round sizes while others are quite large. 

Ripening 

7-30 days
Tomato ripening describes a change of color from green to red, orange, yellow, or pink depending on the type of tomatoes you have cultivated. After tomatoes begin to change color, you can either choose to pick and ripen them at room temperature or leave them on the vine to ripen. Check out our article When To Pick Tomatoes for more information. 
Temperature and sunshine are the main factors that determine how you should ripen your tomatoes. Tomatoes require a temperature of between 66 F – 77 degrees F (18 - 25 degrees C) and at least 6-8 hours of sunshine. In case they exceed or fall below the optimum, you can ripen your tomatoes at room temperature. The tomatoes will be just as sweet and juicy as those left to ripen on the vine. 
  

Days To Grow By Variety

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Variety
Days To Grow
Cherry
70 days
Beefsteak
73 days
Celebrities
65 days
Brandy Wine
90 days
Chocolate Stripes
80 days
It is advisable to choose one that is likely to do the best within your local region. Below are 5 of the most common varieties of tomatoes, including what they are best used for.

1. Cherry Tomatoes

70 days to grow and mature
This plant produces small round and sweet tomatoes which are believed to be an ingenious mixture between wild currant tomatoes and domesticated tomatoes (link).
They are available in several colors, including red, black, green, and yellow. If well catered to, they produce a lot of fruit. They are best used in salads and thrive with sufficient sunshine. You will find that cherries are quite easy to grow and resilient to factors like pests and harsh conditions. 

2. Beefsteak Tomatoes

73 days to grow and mature
They produce large, red, and juicy fruits which weigh up to 15oz (450g). They either come in pink or red and can be used to prepare salads, sandwiches or even cooking. They do well in places with lots of sunshine and a soil PH of between 6.2 to 6.8 (link).

3. Celebrities 

65 days to grow and mature 
They bear medium-large sized, 7oz - 8oz (198g - 226g), red tomato fruits with a fantastic flavor. These tomatoes go well with sandwiches and bruschetta. Their vines tend to carry many fruits so using stakes and supports is recommended. The plant produces fruits in all seasons until frost. Ensure to have at least 24-36 inches of space around each plant. Celebrities do well in areas which receive sufficient sunshine and have a soil PH of between 6.2-6.8 (link).

4. Brandy Wine Tomatoes

90 days to grow and mature
They grow to produce large, red, round, and meaty fruits which can weigh up to 24oz (700g). They sure take their time to grow, which can be attributed to their large size and nature. Many people like them due to their 'great tomatoey flavors' hence are commonly used in making salads and sandwiches (link). 

5. Chocolate Stripes

80 days to grow and mature. 
They produce 3-4 inches of reddish colored fruits with brown stripes. At sight, it is not only gorgeous to look at but also impressively large, which means you get more out of a single fruit. They possess a rich earthy flavor that goes well with salads, sandwiches, snacks, and cooking (link).
  

How To Encourage Your Tomatoes To Flourish

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Encourage Pollination

During the flowering stage, you can encourage pollination by gently shaking the flowers. A higher rate of fertilization will also translate into the number of fruits you shall harvest. This is especially applicable on warm and calm days as rainy and windy weather can be quite a nuisance to pollination. 

Remove Unwanted Fruits, Leaves, and Vines.

You should get into the habit of removing unwanted fruits, leaves, and vines as their presence only divides the attention of the plant. Remove any of these parts if, by your judgment, they do not match the rest of the plant. They could either be infected, too small, or appear weak. Once you remove them, the plant can focus its energy on the remaining fruit on the vine, which leads to improved quality. 

Water Your Plants

Ensure to water the tomatoes once or twice a week. Do not let the soil around them become completely dry as tomatoes need plenty of water to form healthy and juicy fruits. While watering, distribute the water equally to every plant. A spray bottle or sprinkler can come in handy.

Use A Fertilizer

Fertilizers boost the soil's fertility, thus rejuvenating your plants to grow healthier. You can apply fertilizers at various stages as the tomatoes continue to grow. For example, manure can be used two weeks in advance to receiving tomato seedlings. It provides sufficient nutrients to enable the seedlings to adapt to the soil and grow. Compost manure can also be added around the plants once they start flowering. To encourage the formation of fruits, you can add high phosphorous manure.

Treat For Pests

Pests can prove to be quite a nuisance. Like many other plants grown to produce fruits and seeds for human consumption, tomatoes are prone to pest attacks as well. You need to take precautionary measures such as carrying out regular inspections to ensure pests do not infect the plants. 
If you begin to notice tiny holes in the leaves, flowers, or fruits, it signifies the presence of the tomato hornworm. These can be picked off your plants. Spraying the plants with water from below eliminates fungal infections while spraying all over gets rid of aphids and whiteflies. To avoid transmitting to others, infected plants should be removed. 

Use Stakes and Supports

Supporting your plants on stakes enables them to get better access to sunlight as tomato vines are not considered strong enough to carry fruit efficiently. Stakes and supports keep them upright, especially when loaded with fruits. 
  

What To Consider When Selecting A Seedling

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Determinate Tomatoes (Bush Tomatoes)

Shorter growing time - 6 week to grow
This variety appear smaller compared to indeterminate tomatoes, so work well in a smaller vegetable garden. They grow to a fixed mature size and produce all their fruit within a short time. Once you get your first harvest, the plant may stop growing and produce little to no fruit. These plants grow to about 4-5 inches tall and do not need pruning as they stop growing by themselves. Though short, you still need to support them using stakes as they carry a lot of tomatoes. 
If you are planning to grow tomatoes only for a season and harvest them in large quantities, then these are the perfect deal. 

Indeterminate Tomatoes (Vining Tomatoes)

Longer growing time - 10 weeks to grow
They continue growing tall throughout the growing season hence needing stakes and supports. 
Unlike determinate, these produce smaller quantities of fruits but continuously. Their fruits also take longer to ripen as the plants focus more on growing. If you are looking to have a steady supply of tomatoes, then indeterminate tomatoes are the ones to choose. They only stop growing and producing when frost appears (link).

 

 

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