The sun sugar tomato (Lycopersicon lycopersicum ‘Sun Sugar’) has a sweet flavor unlike any other in the tomato world. It’s an undeniably captivating fruit and by far the best of the cherry tomato family.
Another remarkable fact about these yellow cherry tomatoes is that they can thrive in various conditions and places. These fruits:
- Are not winter hearty, blooming from early summer to the first frost.
- Flourish in partial to full sun.
- Survive in all USDA zones.
Growing your very own sun sugar tomatoes can be just as satisfying as their taste. But like many other tomatoes, these wonderful and delicious fruits need some tender love and care.
So, how do you make sure your sun sugars live up to their reputation?
Read on to learn how to grow and prune the sun sugar tomato in your lovely garden.
How Do You Grow Sun Sugar Tomatoes?
Sun sugar tomatoes are easier to cultivate than their other tomato cousins.
The first step in growing this variety of cherry tomato plants is identifying the preparation process you want to follow:
- Do you want to sow the seeds?
- Do you buy seedlings ready to plant?
Keep in mind that you can’t save and plant seeds from sun sugars from the last year as these are a hybrid variety.
Once you’ve decided whether to sow seeds or buy ready-made seedlings, you have to start planting at the right time of year. Planting in your garden is best done after the last frost is expected.
If you prefer to sow your seeds, start doing so between 6 and 8 weeks to the last day of frost. Plant them in a small container indoors, using a well-draining potting mix, and place them in a well-lit area to support germination.
Place the seeds ¼ inch within the soil and ensure that you water it gently without overdoing it.
You want to maintain a soil temperature between 70℉ and 85℉ while letting the seeds germinate for one to three weeks.
Transplant your seedlings into your garden one or two weeks after the last frost has passed, once true leaves develop. The temperature in your garden should be at least 65℉.
When planting them in your garden, place these cherry tomatoes at least 24 inches apart. Give them space as sun sugar plants provide an abundance of fruits. One plant can produce hundreds of sweet and tiny tomatoes.
If you decide to go with ready-to-plant seedlings, plant them deep into the ground. Two-thirds of the plant’s stem should be in a soil full of nutrients.
The ideal soil pH is between 6.2 and 6.8. Here’s how to make sure your garden is prepared to support your cherry tomato sun sugar plants.
Identifying Soil Nutrients
The sun sugar tomato plant will grow in most soil types, however, it needs nutrients for the production of tasty sweet fruits laden with flavor. You can determine the quality of your soil and what it needs by testing it.
Here are the different types of nutrients a tomato plant needs to flourish.
The Starring Trio
There are three primary nutrients needed for these sweet tomatoes to develop as they should, including:
- Nitrogen: Supports the growth of the plant as a crucial provider of vitamins, chlorophyll, and enzymes.
- Phosphorous: Supports energy production, boosts tomato growth, and helps the plant cope with stress.
- Potassium: Fights diseases, improves the quality of the fruits, and aids photosynthesis.
The Supporting Cast
Apart from the three main nutrients, tomatoes need lesser amounts of:
- Calcium: Helps protect against bruises and diseases, and improves cell health.
- Magnesium: Supports photosynthesis and chlorophyll, for improved fruit quality and flavor.
- Sulfur: Helps the production of proteins and amino acids and prevents yellowing of leaves
Tomatoes need micronutrients in smaller amounts, although, they still play a huge role in growth and production. These include:
- Molybdenum: Promotes the efficient use of Nitrogen within the plant.
- Zinc: Regulates tomato growth while promoting proper sugar consumption.
- Boron: Promotes the proper use of other nutrients and seed development.
While these nutrients should already be present in the soil, they reduce as the plant grows. How do you ensure there are enough nutrients to last your plants the whole season?
Adding Fertilizer and Compost
When you want to add the supportive nutrients and micronutrients to your soil, apply organic matter like compost.
- Low Nitrogen
- High Phosphorus, and
- Medium to high Potassium composition
If you are fertilizing before transplanting, mix the soil at the bottom of each hole with fertilizer. That way, the fertilizer will not burn the roots of your transplants.
To fertilize after planting, make sure you water the soil around the plants first. Then, apply fertilizer about 6 inches from the bottom of the stem.
This is to ensure the fertilizer dissolves in the water and does not run off to the stem and burn it.
Once your plants start growing, caring for tomatoes is crucial, and pruning is one of the most important practices.
How to Prune Sun Sugar Tomato
Sun sugar tomatoes are an indeterminate variety, which means they don’t stop growing. If you don’t control their growth, you’ll end up with an unruly plant.
Pruning reduces strain on the main stem by removing suckers that might weigh down the plant.
It also reduces competition for the sugars that are vital in rapid and quality fruit production.
A good pruning practice is to remove the suckers that form below the first flower cluster. Suckers form in the crotch between the primary vertical stem and the branches.
When they are still small, suckers have a succulent stem and are easier to remove.
You only need to get a hold of the bottom of the sucker and twist it from side to side to snap it off.
Once they are more prominent, and the stems are not as succulent, you will need to clip them off using clippers. There are mainly three types of tomato pruners you can use:
- Bypass Pruners (Best): As the name suggests, the blades of these pruners pass over each other (bypass) in a scissor-like motion. They make a cleaner cut than most, and they’re easier to hold and maneuver.
- Anvil Pruners: These have a blade on one arm and a board-like surface on the bottom. Anvils are heavy and are best used for dead stems. Because of their weight, they easily crush soft stems.
- Ratchet Pruners: These are similar to anvil pruners but have a cutting system that is gentler on weak stems.
Pruners will become blunt after some time, but you can sharpen them. A file does the best job and is easier to use than other tools.
Before sharpening your pruners, you’ll need to clean them thoroughly. Warm water and dish soap do the job, after which you’ll need to dry the pruners and scrub off the rust with steel wool.
It’s important to clean and sanitize your tools before, during, and after pruning your plants. This keeps diseases at bay and ensures you don’t transfer pathogens from one plant to the other.
Learn More About Gardening
Knowing how to grow and prune sun sugar tomatoes is just the beginning of your green journey.
At the Gardening Channel, we’ve assembled all the knowledge you need to transform your green space into a sweet paradise of:
- And much more…
We equip you with the skills, steps, tips, and tricks that will make you an expert gardener.
Read more about growing your very own tomatoes today.
Photo from pixabay.com