Oxheart tomato: tips for cultivating the beef tomato


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

‘Oxheart’ tomatoes are known for their large and fleshy fruits. Here is what to pay attention to when planting and caring for ‘Oxheart’ tomatoes.

Two oxheart tomatoes on a table
‘Oxheart’ tomatoes can be heart-shaped and smooth, or ribbed like in this image [Photo: KarepaStock/ Shutterstock.com]

‘Oxheart’ tomatoes are popular among many hobby-gardeners. They are low-maintenance and can produce enormous fruit. In this article, we will tell you everything there is to know about tomato ‘Oxheart’.

‘Oxheart’ tomato variety: profile

FruitBeef tomato; various colours
FlavourAromatic, sweet, slightly tangy
Ripening timeMiddle to late
GrowthIndeterminate, up to 2m in height
LocationGreenhouse, outdoors in bed or pot (with shelter from rain and south-facing)

Origin and history

The ‘Oxheart’ tomato probably originated in Russia (where it was first mentioned) towards the end of the 19th century. It reached the USA later, where it is still widely cultivated today. ‘Oxheart’ tomatoes are also very popular in France and Italy, where the fruits are often sold at farmer’s markets.

‘Oxheart’ tomato: characteristics and taste

As the name suggests, ‘Oxheart’ tomatoes are reminiscent of bull’s hearts, both in shape and size. With fruit weighing between 100 to over 1000 grams, ‘Oxheart’ belongs to the beef tomato group. While some of the fruits are heart-shaped and smooth, others display deep ribs. ‘Oxheart’, like most beef tomatoes, have only a few seeds. Most varieties are heirloom, though newer varieties are hybrids and produce sterile seeds. If you do find an heirloom variety, you will be able to propagate your ‘Oxheart’ plant from its own seeds. You can find tips for obtaining tomato seeds in our article.

Very often, ‘Oxheart’ tomato plants look rather sickly. Their leaves tend to be twisted and droop. But don’t worry, this is totally normal. ‘Oxheart’ fruit, once ripe, turns soft quickly, so be sure to eat or process the fruit soon after harvesting it. The tomatoes are delightfully aromatic, with a sweet, slight acidic taste.

A cut oxheart tomato on a table
The best known variety of ‘Oxheart’ tomatoes is ‘Coeur de Boeuf’ [Photo: Picture Partners/ Shutterstock.com]

The best ‘Oxheart’ tomato varieties

‘Oxheart’ tomatoes are delightful, both visually and in taste. Here are five of the best ‘Oxheart’ tomato varieties for your garden.

  • ‘Anna Russian’ produces heart-shaped, large fruit that turn a deep pink when ripe. Other areas of the fruit are light beige. The fruit has a mild taste and is ideal for tomato sauces.
  • The ‘Bulgarian Oxheart’ tomato grows numerous pink, heart-shaped fruits in summer. The robust tomato plants can grow up to 180cm tall.
  • ‘Coeur de Boeuf’ is probably the best known ‘Oxheart’ variety, forms light red fruit with strong ribs. ‘Coeur de Boeuf’ tomatoes are from France, and ripen from mid-July. The plants can reach a height of 200cm and are suitable for outdoor cultivation with some rain protection.
  • The ‘White Oxheart’ produces light-yellow fruits that, like most off-white tomatoes, are fruity and sweet. The plant grows to a height of 200cm and produces high yields in the greenhouse.
  • ‘Orange Russian’ develops beautiful, heart-shaped, orange-red marbled tomatoes. The fruits weigh up to 300g and taste wonderfully fruity, sweet and spicy. Be sure to grow this variety in a greenhouse.
'Orange Russian' tomato variety with ripening fruit
The tomato variety ‘Orange Russian’ will appreciate a warm spot in your greenhouse [Photo: Swetlana Wall/ Shutterstock.com]

Growing ‘Oxheart’ tomatoes

‘Oxheart’ tomatoes require a lot of warmth and should not be kept outdoors without some type of protection from rain. They also grow well in a pot by a south-facing wall. Be sure to use a soil that is specially designed for tomatoes. Our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost is a great choice. It will provide your tomatoes with all the nutrients they need for a great start and rich harvest.

Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for tomatoes & other vegetables such as chillies, courgettes & more
  • For strong & healthy plant growth as well as an abundant vegetable harvest
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

How to care for ‘Oxheart’ tomatoes

‘Oxheart’ tomatoes grow best with only one main shoot. Remove all side shoots, and support the plant with a pole to support the weight of the fruit. A natural, slow-release fertiliser, such as our Plantura Tomato Food, will also provide the plant with sufficient nutrients. And for potted tomato plants, a liquid fertiliser is best. The Plantura Liquid Tomato Food is perfect for potted tomatoes. Three weeks after planting your tomatoes, apply the fertiliser weekly, following the package instructions.

Tomato Food, 1.5kg
Tomato Food, 1.5kg
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  • Perfect for tomatoes, chillies, courgettes, cucumber & more
  • For healthy plants & an abundant tomato harvest
  • Long-lasting fertiliser that is free from animal products - child & pet friendly

What can you use ‘Oxheart’ tomatoes for?

Large beef tomatoes ripen from the end of July to the beginning of October. ‘Oxheart’ tomatoes are ideal for salads, but they also work great in soups and sauces.

Yellow tomatoes of the variety 'White Oxheart' on a table
The tomato variety ‘White Oxheart’ will add a lovely splash of colour to your summer salads [Photo: Alina Demidenko/ Shutterstock.com]

Tomatoes are not always yellow or red. There are also black and blue tomato varieties. You can find out more about these colourful tomatoes in this article.