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Cherry tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common – they love sunlight. But what if your garden doesn’t get enough sun? Does that mean you can’t grow your favorite little snacks?
So, can you grow cherry tomatoes grow in the shade? Cherry tomatoes can grow in the shade but need at least four to six hours of sunlight per day to thrive (Source: University of Florida). Without enough sun, cherry tomatoes may not grow to their full size and may not produce harvestable fruit. When growing tomato plants in the shade, ensure you provide them with rich, fertile soil or, if necessary, fertilize them appropriately.
But don’t give up on growing tomatoes in your shady garden; let’s explore how to grow juicy cherry tomatoes in the shady for a bountiful harvest. You might also enjoy reading: What You Need to Know About Cherry Tomato Sun Requirements.
What We Mean By “Shade.”
Shade can range from partial shade, where sunlight filters through trees or other obstructions, to full shade, where there is no direct sunlight whatsoever. While cherry tomatoes thrive in full sun, they can still grow and produce fruit in partial or dappled shade.
So, what’s the catch? Well, cherry tomatoes grown in the shade may take longer to ripen and produce a smaller yield. In addition, they may be more susceptible to diseases and fungal issues because of the increased moisture that comes with shade. However, with proper care and attention, you can still have a bountiful harvest.
Can You Grow Cherry Tomatoes In The Shade?
Yes, cherry tomatoes can grow in partial shade. But, it is important to know what constitutes partial shade and what growing conditions are best for cherry tomatoes. Cherry tomatoes require at least 4 to 6 hours of sunlight a day to thrive.
Generally, partial shade is about 3 to 4 hours of sunlight a day. So as long as they get their daily dose of sunlight, they should do fine.
How To Grow Cherry Tomatoes In The Shade?
Growing cherry tomatoes in the shade requires some careful planning and monitoring of environmental factors. If you can provide just enough light, water, and nutrient-rich soil, your cherry tomato plants should yield fruit no matter where they are planted.
Here are the best tips on growing cherry tomatoes in the shade:
1- Choose Containers That Can be Easily Moved
You can maximize your cherry tomato growth in the shade by selecting containers or pots that are easy to move around, which will allow you to follow the sun and give your plants the best possible chance to soak up some rays.
Choosing 3 to 5 gallon containers with holes drilled into the bottom is recommended because they will have enough room for any support the plants may need. Choosing a large container with drainage holes is essential to allow enough room for sufficient root growth to support your cherry tomato plants (Source: Clemson University)
2- Soil Selection Matters
Cherry tomatoes require well-draining soil that is rich in nutrients. In shady areas, the soil might remain wet or damp for longer periods, causing root rot and other issues. To counter this, I encourage you to mix the soil with compost, peat moss, or other organic materials to improve soil structure and drainage.
Even though tomatoes can grow in almost all soil types except heavy clay, loam and sandy loam soils are generally best for tomato production. If your garden site has a lot of clay, you can amend your soil with sand, peat moss, sawdust, or other matter (Source: Southern Living)
3- Watering Requirements
Watering cherry tomato plants in the shade is also important. Water them a little less than if they were in full sun. Too much water in the shade can lead to root rot and fungal diseases.
I encourage you to water cherry tomatoes once or twice a week, depending on how hot the weather is and the amount of rainfall.
4- Supplement Your Natural Light With Artificial Light
You can also supplement natural light with artificial lighting to help your plants grow and ripen more quickly. However, if you want to grow your cherry tomatoes in the shade, make sure that there is enough light penetrating through the shade to feed the plant.
I suggest you place your cherry tomato plants where they receive morning and early afternoon sun, followed by a period of complete shade in the later part of the day, which will allow for even light distribution and prevent overheating or sunburned tomatoes.
5- Proper Environment Settings
When planting your cherry tomatoes in the shade, ensure that they have plenty of room to grow and are not overcrowded.
A proper environment setting will help to reduce the risk of fungal issues and allow each plant to receive the adequate light and moisture it needs. Plus, focusing on healthy soil and regular feeding will help build strong roots and healthy plants that can better withstand the challenges of growing in the shade.
6- Choose Varieties Of Tomatoes That Grow Well in The Shade
The choice of cherry tomato plant variety also plays a role in the success of growing tomatoes in the shade. I suggest you choose varieties that thrive in shade or that have smaller fruits. “Black Cherry,” “Green Zebra.” and “Sun Gold” are popular varieties of tomatoes that can thrive in partial shade.
If you’re committed to growing cherry tomatoes in the shade, I encourage you to choose a variety that is known for its adaptability to lower light conditions because they have been bred to handle less-than-ideal growing conditions and may produce a higher yield than other varieties.
The table below contains varieties of cherry tomatoes that grow well in the shade:
|Varieties of Tomatoes That Thrive in The Shade|
|– Black Cherry|
– Vernissage Yellow
– Evans Purple Pear
– Principe Borghese (Red)
– Golden Sweet
– Isis Candy Cherry
– Ildi (Yellow)
– Juliet Hybrid (Red)
What to read next:
- How to Successfully Germinate Tomato Seeds Faster: a helpful guide.
- 23 Best Tomato Companion Plants In Raised Bed.
- Can Tomatoes Grow In Indirect Sunlight: Here’s a definite answer!
While cherry tomatoes may prefer full sun, growing them in the shade is entirely possible with the right care, planning, and variety selection.
Remember to select adaptable varieties, use containers that can be easily moved, and supplement your natural light with artificial light to help get the most out of your cherry tomato plants.
With a little extra love and attention, you can have your tasty little snacks even in the shadiest of gardens.