Black Plum tomato: cultivation, care & harvest


I studied horticultural sciences at university and in my free time you can find me in my own patch of land, growing anything with roots. I am particularly passionate about self-sufficiency and seasonal food.

Favourite fruit: quince, cornelian cherry and blueberries
Favourite vegetables: peas, tomatoes and garlic

‘Black Plum’ tomatoes are a dark, egg-shaped variety. Find out below how to plant and care for these special tomato plants.

Ripe Black Plum tomatoes
‘Black Plum’ tomatoes are an eggshaped tomato [Photo: Denis Pogostin /]

The unique dark, oval tomato ‘Black Plum’ is characterised by its robust nature, tangy-sweet taste, and high yield. Here is our in-depth guide to this beloved Russian tomato and how to cultivate it.

‘Black Plum’ tomato: profile

FruitSalad tomato; dark red with dark brown to green shoulders
TasteSweet, tangy, and fruity
Ripening timeMid-season
GrowthIndeterminate, up to 2m in height
LocationGreenhouse, outdoors, in containers

Origin and history

The ‘Black Plum’ tomato originates from Russia. It is said to have been introduced into the collection of the Seed Savers Exchange association around 1990 by Marina Danilenko from Moscow. In 1994, the variety was first brought to market in the USA, where it was sold in supermarkets as a grape tomato. It is still hugely popular there today, just as it is in Europe – a firm favourite of tomato enthusiasts!

Description and taste of the ‘Black Plum’ tomato

‘Black Plum’ tomato plants reach a height of up to two meters tall. ‘Black Plum’ tomatoes are oval fruits that grow to about five centimeters in length and turn dark red when they ripen around the end of July. The fruits also have a dark brown to greenish tinge around the base of the stem, even when ripe. The more sun the tomatoes receive, the darker their colour. Each ‘Black Plum’ tomato can weigh up to 70 grams. ‘Black Plum’ tomatoes are sweet, fruity and tangy – typical of many dark tomato varieties. Most dark tomatoes are heirloom varieties, and ‘Black Plum’ tomatoes are no exception. This means you can harvest ‘Black Plum’ tomato seeds and use them to grow new plants every season.

Black Plum tomatoes on vine
‘Black Plum’ tomatoes ripen around the end of July [Photo: Timelynx/]

Planting and caring for ‘Black Plum’ tomatoes

The ‘Black Plum’ tomato is a wonderful variety for hobby gardeners new to growing tomatoes, because it is hardy, disease-tolerant, and easy to care for. At the same time, these tomato plants reliably bear fruit and are generally low-maintenance. Read our article on the five common mistakes when growing tomatoes to learn how to avoid them. ‘Black Plum’ tomato plants are equally happy planted in a greenhouse or in a bed outdoors but do just as well in a container on terraces and balconies. For planting in a bed, dig a deep hole and place your young tomato plant deep inside, with about half the plant still above the surface. Remove all shoots and leaves below the soil surface. Mix a slow-release fertiliser, such as our Plantura Tomato Food, into the dug-up soil and pour the mixture back into the planting hole. Press the soil down and water generously.

Plantura Tomato Food
Plantura Tomato Food

With a long-lasting effect, for healthy soil, child & pet friendly

The ‘Black Plum’ can grow up to two meters tall and needs some form of support. The high yielding, egg shaped tomato grows best with two or three shoots. To do this, leave side shoots low down on the plant stem and remove all others. Make sure to prick out the tomatoes every few weeks.

If you choose to keep your ‘Black Plum’ tomato as a balcony tomato, start fertilising in June. Once the first flowers have been pollinated and the fruit begins to grow, the nutrient requirements of the tomato plants also increase. A liquid fertiliser, such as our Plantura Liquid Tomato Food can be applied easily: simply apply the tomato food when watering once a week.

Plantura Liquid Tomato Food
Plantura Liquid Tomato Food

Liquid fertiliser with an NK ratio of 4-5, for tomatoes & other vegetables, promotes healthy plant growth, child & pet friendly

Harvesting and using ‘Black Plum’ tomatoes

The ‘Black Plum’ tomato is a wonderful snack tomato and is best enjoyed fresh. The fruits can be cut in half and dried – this way they will keep through the winter. Drying really enhances the sweet and tangy flavour of ‘Black Plum’ tomatoes.

In some years, tomato plants can suffer from infestations of pests, some of which cause great damage. Using beneficial tomato insects offers an effective and environmentally friendly way to control these pests without the use of chemicals. Our article walks you through different tomato pests and their predators and gives advice on purchasing and using them.

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