Campari tomatoes are some of the most popular out there. From their sweet, tangy flavor to their firm texture, Campari tomatoes are easily one of the most enjoyable varieties and better tomato cultivars to come out of modern growth.
Of course, not all modern veg can be grown from seed. Or at least not from the seed that grows in the vegetable itself. What about Campari tomatoes? Can you grow a delicious Campari at home? And can you seed save, or do you need to purchase a seed ready for germination?
Campari tomatoes might not be the most accessible tomato variety to grow, but they sprout readily from seeds. You can get seeds from a local nursery, online, or from ripe tomatoes, whichever you prefer. It’s essential to seed-save from tomatoes at peak ripeness if you want to have a success rate, though, and there can be challenges raising this cultivar from sprout to fruiting plant.
Don’t worry; Campari tomatoes reward diligent gardeners with good crop size and some of the best-tasting tomatoes around. These little red delights are relatively versatile, being both a great salad tomato and a good sauce tomato.
Campari tomatoes also reward persistent gardeners by being excellent when preserved, either canned or turned into sundried tomatoes.
So, if you’re looking for a delicious new challenge to add to your vegetable garden, we’ve got the details you need to grow your very own Campari tomatoes.
How Do You Plant Campari Tomatoes From Seed
Planting tomatoes from seed might present a little extra challenge, but it’s one of the best ways to get the exact cultivars you want in your gardens. Since most nurseries only raise sprouts in a few more popular and common varieties, it’s harder to find specialty tomatoes like Campari or heirlooms.
But, before you even get your seeds, the first thing you need to know is where Campari seeds are hardiest so you can plan for when and where you’ll plant them.
Campari Tomato Hardiness and Soil Requirements
Campari tomatoes, like most tomatoes, can be a little picky about their growing conditions. They have a relatively broad hardiness range, compatible with USDA zones 3-11, but they aren’t frost tolerant.
Even a mild frost can quickly kill off baby plants or harm more mature ones.
With that in mind, this is a tomato variety that can benefit from starting indoors and then getting moved to an outdoor garden plot when the temperatures warm up, and the plant has reached sufficient size.
Regardless of whether you’re planting indoors or outdoors, you should look for loose, well-drained soil. Like many tomatoes, Campari tomatoes don’t like a lot of water hanging around their roots, even though they have relatively high water requirements.
Ideally, you should also choose a soil with a high percentage of organic matter. Traditionally potting soil can work indoors, especially with a bit of compost or used coffee grounds added to boost the nutrient content. Outdoors, consider ameliorating nutrient-poor soil with compost or fertilizer a week or two before planting and fertilizing every couple of weeks throughout the growing season.
Campari Tomato Spacing And Water Requirements
Campari tomatoes should be planted at least 6 inches apart in a garden bed, and eight may be better for a better per-plant crop. Like other tomato varieties, Campari tomatoes can benefit from having a sturdy tomato cage once they’re tall enough to start climbing.
This variety is a little different from other tomatoes when it comes to watering. Unlike most tomatoes, Campari tomatoes don’t need to be watered generously. However, they do benefit from regular deep watering.
Ideally, your soil should almost dry out between watering to help prevent root rot and fungal infections but never actually get completely dry. Watering 1-2 times per week is a good idea if you aren’t getting a good soaking rain at least that often.
As seedlings, Campari should be watered; however, often, their soil requires to stay lightly damp between waterings. If the soil ever gets completely dry, it may slow down seedling growth and make it take longer before the Campari plants are ready to be planted permanently.
Even watering is another must for Campari tomatoes. Individual plants can suffer if only part of their root systems gets sufficient water, and you can have radically different yields across a garden plot if one side gets more water than the other.
What Kind Of Fertilizer Do Campari Tomatoes Need?
Getting a good crop out of Campari tomatoes means giving them plenty of fertilizer. The flavor and color of these plants also rely on having good nutrient access throughout the growing cycle.
Early in their growth cycle, Campari can benefit from having a balanced or nitrogen-heavy fertilizer that helps encourage leaf and stem growth.
However, once your Campari tomatoes are starting to flower, it’s a good idea to switch to a fertilizer with more potassium and phosphorous to help encourage fruiting and help the tomatoes develop faster and with better color and taste.
Constantly water your Campari tomatoes after fertilizing to help prevent root damage and ensure the nutrients are well dispersed in the surrounding soil. Aim for soaking watering, but not so much that the fertilizer starts running off the garden beds where the tomatoes can’t reach it.
Are Campari Tomatoes Open-Pollinated?
Yes, Campari tomatoes are typically open-pollinated.
That’s good news for growers because the tomatoes are typically true to type and unlikely to develop new or unwanted traits even if you’re growing them in close quarters with related plants.
It also means that you should typically have at least 2 Campari tomatoes next to each other to help make sure you have plenty of pollination opportunities. Like other tomato varieties, Campari tomatoes can be hand-pollinated, but bees and other insect pollinators will likely get the job done anytime Campari tomatoes are planted outdoors.
However, it’s worth noting that Campari tomatoes can hybridize overtime when planted with other varieties of tomatoes consistently for several years, especially if you seed save and replant.
That’s not necessarily bad, especially if you seed save from the most successful plants. After a few generations, you may end up with a version of Campari tomatoes that does particularly well in your soil and climate.
How Long Does It Take Campari Tomatoes To Grow?
It takes Campari tomatoes between 70-and 80 days to reach full maturity and fruiting in good growing conditions. In adverse growing conditions, it may take Campari tomatoes a little longer to reach full maturity, or they may take longer to start fruiting even after reaching full size.
Campari tomatoes are relatively large when it comes to tomato plants. A fully mature plant is typically between 5-8 feet tall and can be very bushy with a thick leaf cover. However, the full height of the plant might not be immediately apparent since the vines don’t grow straight up.
A typical tomato cage will usually work well for Campari tomatoes, but you may want to get a sturdier version if you anticipate a heavy crop. Healthy Campari tomatoes can produce a lot of fruit, making them a little heavier than less prolific tomato varieties.
You can keep Campari tomatoes until they either stop fruiting or are damaged or killed in the season’s first frosts. They will continue producing fruit for however long conditions are favorable.
Can You Grow Campari Tomatoes Indoors?
Campari tomatoes can be grown indoors, but they need favorable growing conditions and may need help pollinating to produce fruit successfully.
The main consideration for growing Campari tomatoes indoors is light and temperature. Campari tomatoes usually need 6 hours of direct or mostly direct sunlight (except during the hottest parts of summer where partial shade may protect the plants from temperature shock).
LED lighting can be used as a substitute for direct sunlight when grown indoors, but a timer is recommended to make sure they get consistent light hours.
Campari tomatoes also do better indoors when kept at consistent temperate to warm temperate temperatures. Aim between 70-80 degrees Fahrenheit at all times.
Consistent watering, well-drained containers, and weekly fertilization are critical to helping your Campari tomatoes succeed indoors.
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