The lack of sun is a major issue for those who want to grow tomatoes.
If you want your tomatoes to grow in lower light conditions (even in shade) but are not sure what variety will be best for you, we have listed 13 of our favorite tomato varieties that can thrive even in the shade.
Do Truly Shade Tolerant Tomatoes Exist?
Is there such a thing as a shade tolerant tomato?
Tomatoes are not known to produce fruits in the shade, so they are called full sun plants. Full sunlight is required to ensure that the plant has enough energy to produce large fruits.
There is a misconception about the term shade- tolerant-tomato. When not planted in the desired six hours of direct light per day, shade- tolerant tomatoes will still produce some fruit.
They may have smaller fruits to produce, or have shorter maturing periods that allow the plant to adapt better to lower light levels. Tomatoes with high yields ensure the best chances of fruiting in less optimal conditions.
These varieties will still grow best in higher sunlight, and will produce much more fruit if they get direct sun during at least the first part of the day. The sunnier your location, the less hours of direct sun needed. A few hours of dappled light will also help.
The biggest problem with the cherry tomato is that it requires plenty of light, lots of water, and regular aeration to produce many fruits. It also needs to be near a warm, consistent temperature in order to grow and produce fruit.
When choosing your next tomato plant variety, keep the following in mind. When you’re ready to harvest your tomatoes, choose from these 13 varieties. Remember, they’re all delicious!
14 Shade Tolerant Tomato Varieties
The Roma tomato is an early season variety that is particularly well adapted to hot weather. Its oblong shape is a key factor in its success in the marketplace, and it is resistant to some common fungal diseases.
Growing these tomatoes requires little special equipment or knowledge, making them ideal for home gardeners.
Fruits that are ripe and well developed should give some signs of their presence through a few more leaves beginning to emerge from the ground.
A few leaves might be able to peek out of the foliage, even in slightly shaded areas.
2. Black Krim
The Black Krim tomato is a heirloom variety that comes from Russia. It’s an early-ripening tomato that can be found in markets and specialty food shops across America.
The color of the fruit is unusual, giving it a kind of “black” appearance.
Heirloom tomatoes are a type of tomato bred to provide a longer growing season and more reliable production.
These heirlooms also tend to grow larger and be less susceptible to diseases than other varieties of tomato. Heirlooms are ready to eat as soon as they are fully ripe.
3. Campari Tomato
This is a sun-loving cherry tomato that can be planted as early as May. They can tolerate some shade and a little water in the heat of summer.
This variety can produce fruit at temperatures as low as 38F. It is great for growing in partial shade because it is quick to grow.
Siberia fruits will be ready to harvest in less than 2 months. The large fruits require plenty of water and fertilization throughout the season. They can be eaten fresh or used for sauces. Even with a lower yield in the shade you will still have plenty of tomato to eat.
5. Black Cherry Tomato
The Black Cherry is a large deciduous tree with a dark brown, round crown and glossy foliage. These trees produce fruit in early summer, peaking in July.
Black Cherry trees are best suited to warm climates, but they are also very resistant to cold climates.
A lot of people grow these varieties in their home gardens. Fruits and flowers are very delicious.
6. Golden Sweet
These new hybrids have a unique appearance and produce a nice bright, flavorful fruit. They’re also great for late summer and fall growing as they mature quickly from seed to fruit, but don’t ripen until the first frost.
Golden Sweet has a slightly sweet flavor and a wonderful balance between juiciness and firmness, unlike the previous two tomatoes. They’re resistant to both leaf mold and fusarium wilt.
7. Early Wonder
Early Wonder is a popular tomato variety that is generally available from early July until mid-September.
The fruits are usually ready to pick at about 55 days after they’ve been planted and can be stored for up to two weeks at room temperature, but the best are eaten fresh.
A determinate variety will ripen all at once, closer to 70 days when planted in a shady spot. Enjoy them fresh in sandwiches to make the most of their delicate flavor.
The bright yellow Ildi tomato is the only high-yielding tomato mentioned. You cannot choose a better partial shade growth type.
This plant produces large clusters of small yellow fruits in 54 days. Each season, Ildi can produce hundreds of tomatoes. The sweet taste of fruits is almost like a candy, so you will have no problem using them.
9. San Marzano
San Marzano tomatoes are a variety of plum tomatoes considered by many to be the best in the world.
They are perfect for salads, sandwiches, pizza, pasta and sauce. They’re also easy to grow in your garden or container garden.
The following is the complete list of plants and their uses, along with some tips for growing each plant: *Tomatoes:
The tomato is one of the best summer vegetables and requires a sunny location with good drainage.
Beauty heirloom tomatoes, also known as slicing tomatoes, are the quintessential summertime tomato. They have thick, firm skins with a deep orange blush across the fruit’s surface.
This is the cherry tomato of the tomato world. It’s incredibly easy to grow and has a mild taste.
Tomatoes don’t actually take 80 days to ripen from green to red. The color can appear earlier or later depending on how they are stored and picked.
While most people know tomatoes start to change color when they are ripe, the exact time is not fixed.
Growing Tip: This is a best high-yielding tomato for beginners.
11. Mama Leone
Another heirloom tomato, Mama Leone is an outstanding variety of tomato grown for sauces and tomato paste production.
The fruit is very large and ready to be picked in about 80 days. This plant is suitable for growing in partial shade because of its high yield.
The fruit may be slightly smaller than they would in full sun but still make a great base for your famous tomato sauce recipe.
Growing Tip: This variety does well in pots and is easy to grow. It will tolerate light frosts and moderate temperatures. Plant in late winter or early spring and keep the plants covered with a floating row cover during cold weather.
12. Gold Medal
For an eye-catching crop of tomatoes, try Gold Medal. These tasty fruits are a golden yellow, dotted with spots of red and orange to create an attractive patchwork of color.
This is a very hardy plant that can tolerate partial shade and a variety of soil conditions.
It has great yield and an excellent fruiting pattern that can be quite productive in a single growing season. This makes it ideal for growing in containers or hanging baskets.
Harvesting Tips: You can expect a good harvest of tomatoes from Gold Medal as early as 70 days after planting. Harvest fruits by pinching the bottom leaves off.
13. Cherokee Purple
The Cherokee purple variety is very popular among tomato growers. The plant has a high yield and large fruits.
The fruits will retain their wonderful flavor and color even if they don’t reach their massive size. The plants are resistant to some tomato diseases.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Will tomatoes grow in a shaded greenhouse?
Greenhouses have many benefits, including the ability to shelter plants from direct sunlight.
However, some tomato varieties, especially those from cooler climates such as the black varieties, prefer diffused sunlight on a hot summer’s day.
Q: Can cherry tomatoes grow in shade?
Cherry tomatoes can grow in partial or complete shade, but will produce less fruit.
Q: Will tomatoes grow in 4 hours of sun?
Larger, determinate patio tomatoes will do well in 4 to 6 hours of sun, and cherry tomato varieties can grow with even less sun.