Growing Roma tomatoes in your home vegetable garden is easier than you might expect. These plum tomatoes are widely popular and prized for their use in various tomato pastes and sauces.Growing Roma Tomatoes

This article will list the necessary steps that you can take to grow Roma tomatoes in your garden so you can have fresh tomatoes to make sauces at home.

Roma Tomato Growing Guide for a Rich and Tasty Harvest

1. Choosing the Best Tomato CultivarsChoosing the Best Tomato Cultivars

Best properties
  • Dense
  • Fleshy
Important factors to consider
  • Climate
  • Resources
  • Overall vision
Popular varieties
  • Plum Regal
  • Heinz
  • Martino’s Roma
Notable characteristics
  • Dark red color
  • High yields
  • Sweet taste

Roma tomatoes are dense and fleshy, with little moisture and few seeds. These properties make them the perfect raw material for tomato pastes. But if you want to grow them in your garden, you have many options to choose from. This choice will depend on your local area’s climate, your time and resources, and your vision for your garden.

There are a lot of different varieties and cultivars of Roma tomato plants that have slightly different characteristics that help them stand out from each other. Thus, choosing a variety that will be the best one for your use case is the ideal first step. Different types of Roma tomatoes have varying sizes, textures, shapes, and colors.

Plum regal is one of the determinate varieties of Roma, which means these plants grow into a vegetable bush that does not keep on growing. Plum Regal tomatoes have a thick skin and texture. The tomatoes have a dark red color, and their skin has earthly tones. These vegetable bushes have high yields and produce very flavorful tomatoes.

Heinz is the most well-known paste tomato variety, the one you often see in advertisements for tomato sauces. This cultivar produces large reddish-orange tomatoes that are bustling with flavor and are rich in lycopene, which is a powerful antioxidant.

Martino’s Roma produces pear-shaped tomatoes that have an orange-red color. These richly flavored tomatoes are semi-determinate and are an heirloom variety. They have a sweet taste when consumed raw, but they can be cooked to enhance their flavor even further. They have signature Roma properties like a meaty texture and few seeds.

2. Considering the Type of Growth and Planting TomatoesConsidering the Type of Growth and Planting Tomatoes

Classification of Roma
  • Determinate varieties
  • Indeterminate varieties
Determinate characteristics
  • Bush-like growth
  • Small size
Indeterminate characteristics
  • Vining plants
  • Continuous growth
Planting time
  • 6-8 weeks before the last frost

Before planting tomato seeds, another important concept to keep in mind is the difference between determinate and indeterminate varieties. Determinate varieties grow into a limited bushy plant, while indeterminate varieties are vines that continue to grow throughout the season.

Roma seeds can be bought from your local nursery, or you can try growing Roma tomatoes from seeds indoors. If you are planting them indoors, you can start the process about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost of the season (this is the best growing season).

If you want to provide the seeds with their ideal conditions, sow them in a moist starting mixture at a temperature of 65-90 degrees Fahrenheit near a window that receives sunlight, or you can use artificial growth lights.

3. Hardening the PlantsHardening Tomato Plants

Hardening requirements
  • Young plants
  • In shade
  • Seedlings grow thicker
  • Seedlings are prepared for planting outdoors
  • Mid to late April

Once the seedlings have been somewhat established, the next step is to harden the new plants. The process of hardening refers to introducing the young plant to the outdoor environment gradually before it is ready to be replanted in a container or garden. When your plants are ready for hardening, you can place them outdoors in the shade during the daytime for a few hours daily.

This process can be done between mid to late April, and they will be ready for replanting once the danger of frost disappears. However, during this time, you can gradually increase their time of exposure to the outdoor environment and finally introduce them to direct sunlight.

Although hardening is important for the survival of the plant when it is replanted outside, it is necessary that you keep an eye out during the hardening process. The winter winds are one of the many dangers that can cause the young plants to wilt and die in extreme cases. During windy days, you can use a windshield or place them inside near an open window.

Another important thing is to make sure that you do not harden them by exposing them to the cold, as it can be fatal for the plants. If you take precautions and harden your plants properly, they will be ready to be replanted after a week.

4. Growing Tomatoes in Tomato Cages and ContainersGrowing Tomatoes in Tomato Cages and Containers

Container dimensions
  • 15 inches long
  • 24 inches across
Soil requirements
  • Standard potting mixture
  • Rich organic matter
Candidates for replanting
  • Sturdy dark green seedlings
  • Avoid tall yellow seedlings
Other considerations
  • Keep 14-20 inches between pots

After the hardening process has been completed, the plants are ready to be replanted in containers, garden beds, or raised beds. If you are planting tomatoes in a container, the best option is to use a terracotta pot. This will help the plant with its good drainage and better aeration for the roots. But you can also use regular plant containers that have plenty of holes at their bottom.

You can use containers that are about 15 inches deep and have a diameter of about 24 inches. After choosing your container, use a potting mix that is rich in organic matter, which will help the tomato plants to grow healthily.

When the risk of the last frost has disappeared, it is safe to transplant your Roma seedlings into your chosen containers. Look for short and sturdy dark green seedlings, as they are the best ones to replant in containers. Avoid the tall, yellow-colored younglings or those that have already started flowering.

Thoroughly water the young plants before transplanting them. Install the plant supports in the container of your choice, and remove some of the lower branches from the plant. Bury the roots until only the lower leaves are above the surface of the potting mix. Place the plants about 14 to 20 inches away from each other, and press the soil around the plants to strengthen it around the base of the plants.

5. Growing Conditions and CareGrowing Conditions and Care

Soil requirements
  • Moist and well-draining
  • Slightly acidic
Sunlight exposure
  • Limited exposure in the early days
  • Full sun after replanting
Climate and temperature
  • Warm climate
  • Ideally, 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit
Water requirements
  • Consistent watering
  • Avoid waterlogged soil

Roma tomatoes grow easily and do not have excessive care requirements. Once you have met their basic requirements and accommodate them according to your local climate, these plants can easily thrive and produce a plentiful harvest.

Roma plants require moist soil that can be easily drained. The drainage is very important so that excessive moisture does not result in root rot. The soil should also contain organic matter as it will help meet the nutrient requirements of the plants. Roma plants can thrive in slightly acidic soil, but the ideal pH level is 6.0-6.5.

Like other tomatoes, they also need sunlight throughout their growth cycle. They need limited sun exposure during the hardening process and immediately after they have been replanted. Afterward, they require at least 6 hours of daylight every day to grow healthily.

In addition to sunlight, Roma plants prefer warm weather and are very vulnerable to frost and cold. Their ideal temperature conditions include 55-90 degrees Fahrenheit. This is why it is advised to plant them indoors and avoid hardening them too early as they will most likely die.

Roma tomatoes need constant watering, especially during their fruiting season, to produce a good yield. Inconsistent or inadequate water will result in low yield, and the fruit they do produce will not be healthy or flavorful.

6. Maintaining Roma TomatoesMaintaining Roma Tomatoes

  • Healthy growth
  • Protection against threats
  • Not required
  • Look out for dead branches
  • Important to remove unwanted plants
  • Avoid cutting too deep
  • Beware of damaging the plant

Once you provide the necessary growing conditions for these plants, you have to make sure that you take the necessary steps to encourage growth and the fruiting process. Proper maintenance of the plant will lead to not only better results with their fruit but also decrease any potential threats to your plants. It will also lead to less hassle than if you leave your plants unmaintained.

One of the plus points of these bushy plants is they do not require any pruning. But make sure that you are on the lookout for dead branches and remove these damaged parts of the plants regularly. This trimming will help the plants remain healthy and produce the best flavoring fruits. Make sure you do not trim too much, as it can negatively affect the yield.

Weeding is important to get rid of unwanted weeds and plants before they grow to a considerable size. Pull out the weeds carefully and only dig deep enough to remove them. If you are not careful during this process, you may accidentally dig too deep and damage the roots of the Roma plants, which is obviously not a good idea.

7. Harvesting Roma TomatoesHarvesting Tomatoes Carefully

Harvesting time
  • 70-80 days after planting
Special benefit
  • All fruits ripen at once
Visual clues
  • Firm structure
  • Even color
Factors that speed up harvest time
  • High temperature

Once you have met all the growth requirements for the plants, they will be ready to be harvested after about 70 to 80 days of planting them. One major advantage of Roma tomatoes over other fruiting plants is their determinate nature. All the fruits of these plants ripen at the same time and are ready to be picked.

When you see the fruits have a firm structure and even color throughout, it is a good time to harvest. If the temperature rises too much, you can even pick them up and ripen them indoors. These tomatoes have a rich sweet flavor when they are eaten raw, but this flavor is even more enhanced when you cook them.

8. Control Plant Diseases and PestsControl Plant Diseases and Pests

Common problems
  • Diseases
  • Pests
Common pests
  • Hornworms
  • Tomato fruit worm
Common diseases
  • Black mold
  • Anthracnose
  • Choose the right varieties
  • Use pesticides
  • Manually remove pests

Even though some Roma tomatoes are heirloom plants, the majority of them are hybrid plants developed in 1955 to be resistant to diseases and wilting. That being said, it is still best to keep an eye out for certain tomato pests and diseases that can be harmful to the health and yield of your vegetable bushes.

Many of these problems can be easily avoided by choosing varieties that are hardy and resistant to most pests and diseases. Another good way of avoiding such a situation is companion planting the tomato plants with other suitable plants that repel these pests and protect them against diseases.

Tomato hornworms are common pests that are large green caterpillars. They camouflage themselves on the plant stems and eat their leaves and fruits. This can easily cause significant damage to the plant if they are left unchecked.

To avoid this damage, keep a close eye on your plants to make sure they do not have large green bugs lying on their stems. If you see some, pick them up and dispose of them immediately.

Black mold is a fungal infection that attacks ripened tomatoes during late-season rain. The fungi produce black lesions on the surface of the fruits that look like black velvet. They affect the fruits deeply. If your garden has a black mold problem, the solution is to pick healthy fruits as soon as they ripen.


Planting Roma varieties is a great way to have fresh sweet tomatoes that can be eaten raw or made into pastes for different dishes. If you are considering planting them, keep in mind that:

  • You can plant tomato seeds or get seedlings from a gardening center or nursery.
  • Do not expose tomatoes to frost in any stage of their life.
  • Make sure you keep tomatoes in rich and moist soil with sun exposure.
  • You can grow Roma tomatoes in containers, pots, raised beds, or even straight in the garden.
  • Choose the Roma varieties that are resistant to most pests and diseases.

Have you decided on which variety of Roma tomato you will add to your garden? Let us know how your tomato garden is going!

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