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Cherokee Purple

Cherokee Purple Stats

Height: 48 - 96" (1.22-2.44 m)
Plant Spacing: 18 - 36" (0.46-0.91 m)
Row Spacing: 36 - 48" (0.91-1.22 m)
Days to Maturity: 70 - 80
Growing Habit: Indeterminate
Sun: Full Sun
Color: Bi-Color, Black, Purple, Red
Size: Medium, Large
Shape: Medium, Large
Genetic Type: Heirloom
Variety Type: Paste/Canning, Really Big Ones, Slicers
Disease Resistance: F

Common Uses

Salads, sauces, soups, tomato tarts, jams, bruschettas, canned or eaten fresh, roasted

Other Names


Information for Cherokee Purple

Named after the Native American Cherokee tribe, Cherokee Purple tomato originally came from Tennessee via John Green. Green sent Craig LeHoullier of West Chester, Pennsylvania seed packets containing unnamed tomato seeds. Along with the packet was a note that said the Cherokee Indians gave the seeds to Green's neighbors a century ago. Upon growing them, LeHoullier cultivated the seeds which grew unique purple-colored tomato fruits, hence the name Cherokee Purple.

From its colorful history, Cherokee Purple tomatoes became widely developed. They are noted for their nice tomato flavor and heavy production. They grow at an average rate making them ideal picks for most home growers. As an indeterminate plant, the Cherokee Purple grows quite large and should be held by stakes to support the weight of the fruits and increase production.

The plant is a regular leaf beefsteak variety that produces brownish-purple fruits with deep olive green shoulders and darkish-red bottoms. The fruits are beefsteak-shaped and medium to large in size. They also have watery and seedy characteristics that are perfect for concocting soups and fixing sauces.

This tomato variety is a rich-tasting, heirloom tomato. It has a mild, fruity, and sweet flavor with a hint of tartness. Even with its unusual color and odd shape, Cherokee Purple tomatoes are great slicers. They do not get mushy and hold nicely together compared to other large tomato varieties. As most cases with heirlooms, they can have some issues with plant diseases. Cherokee Purple however, is resistant to fusarium wilt.

In the United States, this type of tomato is commonly grown across the country with cool and humid climate conditions. Due to being thin-skinned and soft-textured, Cherokee Purple tomatoes do not store well. They are mostly homegrown so they are not as readily available commercially.

Photo Credit: Megan
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