How Long Does It Take For Tomato To Grow?

Tomatoes are probably the most popular vegetable grown in gardens. That’s probably no surprise, since they’re delicious, versatile, and easy to grow in a wide variety of climates.But once your tomato plants start growing, you’ll start wondering how long does it take for tomato to grow?

Depending on the variety, tomatoes can take anywhere between 2 to 3 months of warm climate (ideally 75 – 85 degrees F) to reach harvest from transplanting. Depending on the cultivar, the harvest season may last for several weeks before the fruit production declines.

Two main factors affect how long tomatoes take to harvest:

  • Environmental conditions & the kind of care the plants receive.
  • Different varieties/cultivars have different days-to-harvest.

If you know your climate, you can choose the ideal tomato varieties that’ll thrive where you live, & plan when you’ll be able to harvest them.

How Many Days Does It Take For Tomatoes To Grow?

Tomatoes take little space to grow and can produce an abundant crop if you give them the right conditions and some maintenance throughout the season.

Though they’re tender perennials in tropical climates, they’re usually grown as an annual warm-season vegetable for the beautiful, juicy red fruits they give through the end of the growing season.

There are hundreds of varieties to pick, varying in their shapes, sizes, color, taste, uses, and the time they take to grow.

Gardeners choose varieties based on their preferences and the kind of climate they live in.

Cooler zones can benefit from cultivars that take fewer growing days and mature fast before the temperatures start dropping in the fall.

So how many days does it take for tomatoes to grow?

Generally, tomato seeds are started indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the expected date of the last spring frost.

The seedlings are transplanted outdoors 2 to 3 weeks after the last spring frost.

From the time of transplanting, tomatoes can take anywhere between 50 to 80 days or more to reach maturity and deliver their first harvest.

To get a closer estimate of the length of time they’ll take to grow, you should know which variety you are growing.

Also, you’ll probably want to check out the complete article on how long tomato plants will produce.

Types Of Tomatoes Based On Growing Days

Categorized by their growing time, there are three types of tomatoes:

1. Early Season Tomatoes

Early season tomatoes will take 65 or fewer days to grow from transplanting to harvest.

Tomato growers in cooler regions prefer early season tomatoes since they have shorter growing seasons.

2. Main Season Tomatoes

Main season tomatoes require between 70 to 79 days with warm temperatures to grow to maturity and produce their first harvest.

3. Late Season Tomatoes

Late season tomatoes are the ones that take the longest to grow.

They’ll need more than 80 days of warm temperatures to produce a good crop.

These varieties are only suitable if you’re living in a warm climate.

You should probably check our full article with tips & tricks for how to grow more tomatoes.

Do Heirloom Tomatoes Take Longer To Grow?

Over the years of tomato cultivation, many hybrids have been developed for faster growth and more productive results.

Nevertheless, many gardeners still treasure the classic flavors and textures of heirloom tomatoes.

Gardeners who have been growing tomatoes for years continue saving the seeds from last season’s crop to grow the same variety over and over.

Some priceless heirloom tomatoes have been passed down generations in families through this approach.

However, you might wonder whether these traditional varieties take the same length of time as the hybrids to reach harvest?

It’s easy to assume that heirlooms take longer to grow than hybrid varieties since hybrids are bred for faster production.

However, this isn’t always the case.

There are tons of heirlooms to select from.

Growing days vary with different varieties of heirloom tomatoes and the kind of growing conditions they receive.

If you give them the best care and the climate is ideal for them, they’ll mature faster.

Fast Growing Heirloom Tomatoes

Heirloom tomatoes aren’t always slow to grow.

There isn’t a rule that suggests that modern hybridized varieties always mature faster than heirlooms.

In fact, some heirlooms even beat many hybrids as far as the number of growing days is concerned – not to mention the superior taste of heirloom tomatoes.

Here are some of the fastest-growing heirloom tomatoes you can grow:

1. Bloody Butcher

Don’t let the name put you off because this heirloom is known to produce clusters of 2 to 3 inches ripe tomatoes in as little as 55 to 60 days from the time of transplanting.

2. Sub Arctic Plenty

Perfect for cooler climates, this variety produces fruits surprisingly fast.

In just about 45 days from transplanting the seedlings in the yard, you’ll see clusters of fresh, ripe tomatoes, slightly bigger than cherry tomatoes.

3. Juliet

Also known as Mini San Marzano, this short season plum tomato produces clusters of small, sweet, meaty tomatoes in as little as 60 days.

How Long Do Tomato Plants Take To Bear Fruit?

Tomatoes are warm-season crops.

They won’t bear fruit if the nighttime temperatures drop below 55°F.

The transplants are set in the garden around mid-spring.

For the next few weeks, the plants concentrate their energy on producing foliage and attaining height until, finally, temperatures are suitable for fruit development.

It will take 30 to 45 days for the plants to give flowers from the time the transplants are set out for most varieties.

Once those yellowish flowers appear, you know that fruits will follow soon after.

As expected, in just about 9 to 12 days, you’ll see a small bump on the center of the tomato flowers.

That’s a tiny tomato!

But don’t get too excited because the process that follows is a slow one.

It will take some time for that tiny bump to develop into the ripe fruit that you’re so fond of.

Give the fruits a good 20 to 30 days to grow bigger and ripen before you can actually sink your teeth in them.

To sum it up, it can take between 39 to 57 days for the plants to bear their first tiny fruits once you’ve set out the transplants in the garden around mid-spring.

However, those tiny fruits should be allowed to stay on the vines and develop for over a month to turn into big, juicy, red tomatoes.

Generally, experts recommend picking tomatoes when the fruits develop at least 80% of their ripe color.

If you leave the fruits on the vines to ripen completely, they may over-soften or crack.

How Long Does It Take For Tomatoes To Grow After Transplant?

The growing days for a specific tomato variety are generally counted from when the transplants are set out in the garden after the last spring frost.

So the growing days that you see on the seed packet aren’t, usually, the total time from planting the seeds to harvest; it is the time taken by the transplants to reach maturity.

Different tomato varieties take different amounts of time to reach maturity.

Early season tomatoes are generally ready for harvest in 65 or fewer days, while mid season and late season tomatoes take longer.

Climatic conditions can’t be overlooked either.

Tomatoes need constant temperatures between 65°F and 90°F to set flowers and fruit on time.

When nights are too warm, and humidity is high, pollen grains tend to burst, and there will be no fruit set.

If you live in a cooler climate or want to get an early start with your tomatoes, check out the answer for whether 40 degrees F is too cold for tomatoes.

Days To Harvest for Different Varieties

Here are the expected lengths of time that the most common tomato varieties take to grow to harvest from the time the seedlings were transplanted in the garden:

VarietyDays To Maturity For Transplants
Tiny Tim45
Early Girl60
Champion65
Sweet Million65
Super Sweet 10070
Yellow Pear70
Husky Gold70
Better Boy72
Supersonic79
Celebrity70
Roma75
San Marzano80
Brandywine80
Viva Italia80
Beefmaster81

How Long Does It Take For Tomatoes To Grow In A Pot?

Even if you don’t have an expansive yard to plant rows of your favorite vegetables, tomatoes are the perfect choice for a container garden.

You can keep them on a patio, balcony, or a sunny windowsill, and they’ll produce abundant fresh tomatoes as long as they’re getting enough warmth and sunshine.

Smaller varieties work perfectly for containers, with the added benefit that many of these mature earlier than the full-sized ones.

The length of time that container-grown tomato plants will take to mature greatly varies with the variety you’re growing, amount of sunlight, temperature, and how well you tend to it through the season.

Since tomato plants aren’t always getting the best conditions growing in the pot as they would in an outdoor garden, growth tends to slow down.

For example, if sunlight is limited or the plants have exhausted the soil nutrients, they may take more time to mature and may produce a much smaller crop than your in-ground tomato plants.

The growing time largely depends on the growing conditions.

If you give the seedlings a strong start with rich, light potting soil and maintain an ideal soil temperature between 75°F and 85°F, you’ll find abundant fruits in the shortest possible time.

In addition, replenish the nutrients with fertilizers every month or so and move them to a bigger container as they grow. 

Lighting is also crucial for their development.

If optimal sunlight isn’t available, use grow lights to make sure plants can photosynthesis adequately.

Time To Harvest For Different Potted Tomato Plant Varieties

Even with the optimal conditions, time to harvest will vary with the variety.

  • Bush Early Girl comes to harvest in just about 54 days from the time the seedlings are planted in containers.
  • Tumbling Tom, a cherry tomato variety perfect for hanging planters, takes about 70 days to come to harvest.
  • Patio F1 Tomatoes thrive in container gardens on patios and balconies and reach maturity in 70 days.
  • Better Bush can be grown in a large flower pot and is ready for harvest in just between 65 to 70 days.

How Long Do Cherry Tomatoes Take To Grow?

Cherry tomatoes are a favorite of vegetable gardeners since they take little space to grow and produce clusters of bite-sized tomatoes, perfect for eating right off the vines!

What’s more attractive is the fact that since the fruit sizes are smaller, you can generally expect to harvest them much sooner than the full-sized tomatoes.

However, as with the full-sized varieties, there are tons of varieties of cherry tomatoes to choose from.

The length of time to grow will vary with the different varieties of cherry tomatoes.

Generally, they’ll bear fruit within 55 to 65 days.

Some varieties can be harvested in as little as 45 days.

However, there are also some late season varieties for cherry tomatoes that can take over 80 days to mature after being transplanted.

Time To Harvest For Some Popular Cherry Tomatoes

VarietyTime To Harvest From Transplanting (days)
Baby Boomer50 – 55
Black Cherry64
Sun Gold57
Power Pops45
Midnight Snack65 – 70
Tiny Tim45 – 60

How Long Do Tomato Seeds (& Seedlings) Take To Germinate?

Starting tomatoes from nursery transplants is faster, but many growers choose to start from seeds.

Though it takes a little more commitment to nurture the tiny plants indoors before they are ready to go in the garden, you get the opportunity to explore a range of varieties that aren’t available as transplants.

Since seeds cost much less than transplants, you’ll spend very little to enjoy the fresh, homegrown tomatoes at the end of the season.

So once you’ve sown some tomato seeds in the soil, how long does it generally take before you see sprouting?

Depending on the variety and conditions, tomato seeds can take anywhere between 6 to 12 days to germinate.

How To Help Tomato Germinate Faster

Here are a few tips to help speed up germination:

How Long Does It Take For Cherry Tomatoes To Germinate?

Cherry tomatoes aren’t very different from regular tomatoes.

In fact, they are the same species.

You can think of them as smaller sized variants of regular tomatoes that are popular throughout the world for their delightful appearance and sweet taste.

The germination of cherry tomatoes isn’t different from the rest of the tomato varieties.

Just like all other varieties, gardeners prefer to start cherry tomatoes indoors 6 to 8 weeks before the last spring frost.

Cherry tomato seeds will take between 6 to 12 days to germinate.

Once seedlings sprout, they’ll need several weeks to develop into strong transplants before they are set out in the yard.

Plant one or two cherry tomato seeds in every cell of the seed starting tray filled with moistened sterile seed starting mix.

Cover the tray with plastic wrap and place it over a heat mat.

Once seedlings have sprouted, remove the wrap, switch off the heat mat, and place the tray at a sunny spot or under grow lights.

Let the seedlings develop in optimal conditions until they are ready to go in the garden.

How Long Does It Take Tomatoes To Grow From Seed?

Growing tomatoes from seeds is undoubtedly a time-consuming process.

It involves some additional steps and a little more waiting before you can actually start enjoying the harvest.

Those who don’t have the capacity for this level of commitment choose to grow nursery transplants.

With nursery transplants, you’ll be able to feast on those juicy treats in just over a month.

Even so, there are many expert gardeners who have been growing tomatoes from seeds for years.

They save seeds from each harvest to plant them the next season, and the cycle continues with years of fresh, homegrown tomatoes.

Tomato seeds take about 6 to 8 weeks from sowing into the soil to grow into healthy transplants ready to move into the garden.

Timing is crucial when it comes to growing tomatoes from seeds.

You should aim to start the seeds indoors such that they can go in the garden one or two weeks after the last spring frost. 

How Long To Grow Tomatoes From Seed To Harvest?

So by now, you have some idea for the time required for different stages of growth of tomato plants.

Now, adding up all that you’ve learned above, what’s the total wait time involved in growing tomatoes from seeds?

From the day that you sow those little tomato seeds in the ground, how long will you have to wait before picking juicy, ripe tomatoes off the vines?

Depending on the variety, tomatoes take between 90 to 140 days to come to harvest from seeding.

Early season tomatoes mature faster than others.

Conclusion

Tomatoes can take anywhere between 2 to 3 months (60 – 90 days) to come to harvest once you transplant the seedlings in the garden.

Plant varieties that are suitable for your climate and give them the best conditions to harvest loads of fresh, ripe tomatoes at the end of the season.

About the author

Greg Volente

Greg Volente holds a Naturalist Certificate from the Morton Arboretum, worked for The Nature Conservancy leading environmental education programs and doing natural areas restoration, and worked in the soil science research & testing lab at Michigan State University. Besides gardening, he's an avid wildflower enthusiast, and loves botanizing, hiking, and backpacking.

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