Oxheart tomatoes are large, old-fashioned, very fragrant heirlooms. Heirloom, or heritage, tomatoes have come back into fashion because they are easy to grow and pack a wallop with their production. Oxheart tomatoes come in many varieties and sizes, and their shapes are not your traditional round fruit. These tomatoes are a favorite for slicing and sandwiches.
Oxheart tomatoes come in heart, strawberry or oblong shapes. They range in color from yellow to pink to red. The oxheart tomato plant has fern-like foliage. Oxhearts are indeterminate tomatoes, which means they will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost. The plants can get as tall as 10 feet, thought most reach only 6 feet.
Oxheart tomatoes need full sun, well-drained soil and lots of fertilizer. They prefer soil with a relatively neutral pH of 6.5 to 7. Before you plant your tomatoes, add a general purpose 8-32-16 or 6-24-24 fertilizer to the soil. After planting, apply 1 lb. per 100 square feet and work it well into the upper 6 inches of soil. Because oxhearts are indeterminate, sprawling plants, they will need a tomato cage or trellising. The diameter of the cage should be at least 20 inches and up to 5 feet tall.
According to the University of Illinois Extension, lack of nutrition or lack of water will cause your oxheart vines to stop growing and flowering. Tomatoes should be watered twice per week if there is not adequate rainfall, and they should be fertilized every 10 days. If the temperature drops below 55 degrees F, oxheart tomatoes will drop their blossoms.
Oxheart tomatoes generally take from 70 to 85 days from planting to fruit harvest, depending on the variety. Check the back of your seed packet to determine exactly how long it will take.
There are many different oxhearts to choose from. Some include the Amish Paste, which has an oblong oxheart shape and grows to 8 oz.; German Red Strawberry, which are large, strawberry-shaped and slightly acidic; Japanese, a pink variety known for extra high yields and rich flavor; or Shilling Giant, which produces giant, heart-shaped red fruit with a meaty texture.