Tomato San Marzano: Growing & Care

There are many varieties of tomatoes in the world, although some are specific for fresh consumption, others for canning, and others for drying. The San Marzano tomato is a well-known type of tomato that is commonly used to make Italian sauces, particularly for pizza. Continue reading to know all about growing San Marzano tomato.

In this article, we want to tell you about the main characteristics and qualities offered by the San Marzano tomato variety, typical of the Italian region of Campania and highly valued for canning. You will also learn how to grow San Marzano tomatoes correctly to have an abundant harvest.

Characteristics of San Marzano Tomato

The best-known Italian tomato worldwide is the Roma tomato or also known as the Italian tomato. The traditional Neapolitan paste is made with the best tomato varieties, providing an extraordinary flavor and a perfect ratio between acidity and sugar.

The San Marzano tomato is a derivation of this type of tomato, special for canning and making sauces. It has been cultivated in different Italian areas since 1770 when its seeds were a gift from the Viceroyalty of Peru (the origin of many Solanaceae) to the Kingdom of Naples.

This variety of tomato has a medium size, although what characterizes it is its elongated shape, in the shape of a stretched pear, similar to that of a bell pepper, and that has nothing to do with the concept we have of a round tomato.

This type of variety, like many of the current hybrids that have been designed for industrial tomatoes, tends to have a disorderly and chaotic growth, with a lot of bunch and stem production.

However, in this case, the San Marzano tomato is not a creeping variety like the industrial tomato. It is usually grown in greenhouses or outdoors and needs stakes to maintain its verticality.

The San Marzano tomato plant is quite productive and can produce up to 10 fruits per bunch, which, in a long cycle, is a lot of pounds of production per square foot of surface area. Continue reading to learn about growing San Marzano tomato.

characteristics san marzano tomatoes
Growing San Marzano Tomato Step by Step.

How To Grow San Marzano Tomatoes

Growing San Marzano tomato is not difficult, but you must keep in mind that it is a process that takes time to obtain the first tomatoes. It is also essential to use stakes or trellis for the correct growth of San Marzano tomatoes and to obtain a good production.

Get quality San Marzano tomato seeds to ensure a high germination rate. You can sow the seeds in seedbeds indoors a few weeks before the last frost. Do not bury the seeds deeper than 1/4 inch (0.6 cm) and use a nutrient-rich substrate.

Sowing San Marzano tomato seeds in March (spring in the Northern Hemisphere) will allow you to harvest the tomatoes approximately in June. Of course, these times may vary depending on the weather conditions and nutrients the plant gets.

The ideal temperature for the growth of San Marzano tomato is from 68 °F to 86 °F (20 °C to 30 °C).  Temperatures below 59 °F (15 °C), will have problems with growth and pollination. Above 95 °F (35 °C), pollination is affected, and pollen quality drops considerably.

San Marzano tomato plants should be located in a site that receives at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight for proper plant and fruit development. The substrate should be rich in nutrients and have a pH between 6 and 7.5. Apply tomato fertilizer NPK 3-4-6 or similar the moment you observe the first flowers on the tomato plant. This will ensure that the tomato plant gets all the nutrients needed for fruit development.

Following all these steps and tips you will obtain an abundant harvest of San Marzano tomatoes to make exquisite sauces or delicious dishes. San Marzano tomatoes are my favorite for sauces and canning.

Survival Garden Seeds - San Marzano Tomato Seed for Planting - Packet with Instructions to Plant and Grow Tomatoes in Your Home Vegetable Garden - Non-GMO Heirloom Variety - 1 Pack
  • Classic Flavor - San Marzano tomato is famous as the base for a complex and flavorful tomato sauce. It is used extensively in Italian cuisine.
  • Amazing Tomatoes - 5-6 oz tomatoes have meaty walls and small seed cavities. San Marzano plants are prolific and disease resistant.
  • Grow Now or Later - Plant now or store for future growing seasons. Will remain viable for years if stored in a cool dry location. Each packet has instructions for saving seeds so you can perpetuate your harvest and share with others.

Are San Marzano Tomatoes Hard to Grow?

It is not at all hard to grow San Marzano tomatoes. The most important thing to consider when growing San Marzano tomatoes is to use stakes and trellis to support the growth of the plant. By using a trellis or stakes the tomato plants will grow properly, and the fruits will be separated from the soil.

Finally, it is also essential that the location of the San Marzano tomato plants be in a place where they receive abundant sunlight for the correct development of the plants and fruits. I recommend at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight for the correct development of tomato plants.

How Many Tomatoes Does a San Marzano Plant Produce

San Marzano tomato plants produce a lot of fruit. A single San Marzano tomato plant can provide up to 100 tomatoes during its production cycle. In addition, if you grow San Marzano tomatoes in a greenhouse, it is possible to extend the production cycle a little longer.

Not all tomatoes will be ripe at the same time. Never pull the tomatoes off the plant to avoid damaging the plant. I recommend reading our article on harvesting San Marzano tomatoes for information on harvesting.

how many tomatoes does a san marzano plant produce
How Many Tomatoes Does a San Marzano Plant Produce? A single San Marzano tomato plant can produce up to 100 tomatoes.

Pests and Diseases of San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes are not usually affected by many pests. Should pests such as aphids appear, they can be controlled using ladybugs or neem oil. However, it is important to watch for blossom end rot, a disease caused by a lack of calcium in the fruit. To prevent this rot, crushed eggshells or lime can be added to the soil. I recommend you read our article on how to use neem oil on tomato plants.

Final Conclusions

The San Marzano tomato crop is one of the favorites that I have every year in the garden because it gives me fruits in abundance to prepare my favorite sauces for pizzas and plates of pasta. I hope this article on growing San Marzano tomato will greatly help you and that you will have excellent tomato plants.

growing san marzano tomato
Growing San Marzano Tomato.
About Henry Morgan

We are the Morgans, Henry, and Julia, both agronomists from the University of Michigan, where we met. We are experts in putting our hands in the soil and developing organic foods and improving production processes for decades. Likewise, we have worked for companies such as Mondelez International, BASF, Monsanto, etc. currently in our role as science writers for as well as advisors in promoting large scale food growing in urbanized areas. In this website, we share what we are most passionate about, gardening and farming. Enjoy and see real photos on our website.