Oxheart tomato: tips for cultivating the beef tomato

Oxheart tomato: tips for cultivating the beef tomato

Oxheart tomatoes are known for their large and fleshy fruits. In the following, we will explain what to pay attention to when planting and caring for oxheart tomatoes.

Oxheart tomatoes are popular among many hobby-gardeners because they are low-maintenance and can grow enormous fruits. In this article, we will tell you everything there is to know about the bull’s heart tomato.

Oxheart tomato: origin & history

The oxheart tomato probably originated in Russia (where it was first mentioned) towards the end of the 19th century. It later reached the USA where it is still widely cultivated today. Oxheart tomatoes are also very popular in France and Italy, where the fruits are often sold at farmer’s markets.

Oxheart tomato: characteristics & taste

As the name suggests, oxheart tomatoes are reminiscent of bull’s hearts in their shape as well as size. With their fruit weighing from 100 to over 1000 grams, they belong to the beef tomato group. While some of the fruits are heart-shaped and smooth, other are strongly ribbed with many folds. They only have few seeds inside, which is common in beef tomatoes. Most oxheart tomato varieties are open-pollinated, however, some of the newer varieties are hybrids which do not produce seeds that can be sown again. If you do select an open-pollinated variety, though, you can grow oxheart tomatoes from their own seeds. You can find tips for obtaining tomato seeds in this article.

Very often, oxheart tomato plants look rather sickly. Their leaves tend to be twisted and hang downwards noticeably. But don’t worry, this is totally normal. Their ripe fruits turn soft quickly and should therefore be eaten or processed fast after harvest. The bull’s heart tomatoes are delightfully aromatic and taste sweet with a slight acidity.

The best oxheart tomato varieties

Oxheart tomatoes are a treat, both visually and in terms of taste. We will introduce you to the five best oxheart tomato varieties for your garden.

  • ‘Anna Russian’ is an oxheart tomato variety which produces heart-shaped, large fruits that turn a deep pink colour when ripe. Some parts of the fruits are of a light beige. They have a mild taste and are ideal for making tomato sauces.
  • The ‘Bulgarian Oxheart’ tomato grows numerous pink, heart-shaped fruits in summer. The robust tomato plants can grow up to a height of 180 centimetres.
  • ‘Coeur de Boeuf’ is probably the best known oxheart tomato variety with its strongly ribbed, light red fruits. The ‘Coeur de Boeuf’ tomatoes originate from France and ripen from mid-July onwards. The plants can reach a height of up to 200 centimetres and are suitable for outdoor cultivation with some rain protection.
  • The ‘White Oxheart’ variety has a light-yellow colour and, like most almost white tomatoes, has a very fruity and sweet taste. It grows to a height of 200 centimetres and produces very good yields when grown in a greenhouse.
  • ‘Orange Russian’ is a heart-shaped, beautifully orange and red marbled ox-heart tomato. The fruits weigh up to 300 grams and taste wonderfully fruity-sweet and spicy. The tomato should be grown in a greenhouse.

Growing oxheart tomatoes

Oxheart tomatoes require a lot of warmth and should not be kept outdoors without some type of protection from rain. They also grow well in a pot by a south-facing wall of a house. You should use a substrate that is specially adapted for the needs of tomatoes. In this way, your tomatoes are provided with all the necessary nutrients for a good start and a rich harvest.

Many tomatoes can benefit from mulching. Read more about mulching and watering tomatoes here.

How to care for oxheart tomatoes

Oxheart tomatoes are grown with only one main shoot, all side shoots should be removed. As the plants grow very tall, they need a pole to support the weight of the fruit. A primarily organic slow-release fertiliser provides the plants with all the nutrients it requires.

Oxheart tomatoes: what can you use them for?

The large beef tomatoes ripen from the end of July to the beginning of October. Oxheart tomatoes are ideal for salads, but they also work great in soups and sauces.

oxheart tomatoes
Oxheart tomatoes are absolutely delicious in salads, soups or filled and baked [Shutterstock.com/Patrick Daxenbichler]

Our tip: try filling the tomatoes and baking them in the oven – oxheart tomatoes are delicious when prepared this way!

If you would like to add more colour into your tomato garden bed, have a look at our articles on yellow tomato varieties and green tomato varieties.

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