Not the plant you're looking for? Search over 300,000 plants

Solanum lycopersicum

tomato

This is the original plant from which all know varieties of tomato have been bred. The original species is quite a large, branching and climbing plant growing up to 2m tall that is perennial subshrub in its native tropical habitat. The stems and leaves are covered with short hairs. The plant flowers with yellow, star-shaped flowers, 1-2cm across, that produce green berries, ripening to variable-sized tomatoes. There are many different cultivars that bear fruit differing in size, shape and colour

Other common names
love apple
purple calabash tomato
Synonyms
Lycopersicon esculentum
Buy this plant
Size
Ultimate height
1.5–2.5 metres
Time to ultimate height
1 year
Ultimate spread
0.5–1 metres
Growing conditions
Clay
Loam
Sand
Moisture
Moist but well–drained
pH
Acid, Neutral
Colour & scent
StemFlowerFoliageFruit
Spring Yellow Green
Summer Yellow Green Red Orange Yellow Brown
Autumn
Winter
Position
  • Full sun
Aspect

South–facing or West–facing

Exposure
Sheltered
Hardiness
H1C
Botanical details
Family
Solanaceae
Native to the UK
No
Foliage
Evergreen
Habit
Bushy, Columnar upright, Climbing
Genus

Solanum can be annuals, perennials, evergreen or deciduous shrubs or twining climbers, with simple or pinnnately lobed leaves and star- or bowl-shaped, 5-lobed flowers with prominent stamens, followed by fleshy fruits

Name status

Correct

How to grow

Cultivation

Start from seed or buy as small plants and grow on in a heated greenhouse or warm windowsill. Move to an unheated greenhouse or outside once all risk of frost has passed. Water regularly to keep the soil evenly moist, feed every 10-14 days with a balanced liquid fertiliser before switching to a high potassium liquid feed once the first fruits have set. Provide support for cordon tomatoes. See also tomato cultivation for more advice

Propagation

Propagate by seed. See sowing vegetable seeds or sowing seeds indoors for further advice

Suggested planting locations and garden types
  • Patio and container plants
  • Edible fruit
  • Conservatory and greenhouse
Pruning

Remove all side shoots as they appear. Pinch the growing tip when the plant has formed seven trusses under cover or four trusses outdoors

Pests

May be susceptible to glasshouse whitefly and tomato moth

Diseases

May be susceptible to honey fungus (rarely), blossom end rot, magnesium deficiency, tomato spotted wilt virus and grey moulds under glass

My Garden

Your free RHS gardening coach

Keep track of your plants with reminders & care tips – all to help you grow successfully

My plants
My calendar

My plants

My calendar

My ideas
Manage membership

My ideas

My advice

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.