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Cherokee Purple vs. Black Krim: ¿Cuál cultivar?

If you’re into gardening, you already know that most gardeners love growing tomatoes because of their health benefits and fantastic taste. From healthy soups to vegetable salads, most of us love to have tomatoes in our daily food. Apart from their delightful taste, tomatoes contain some essential nutrients for our bodies and can also be used topically for facial care.

When choosing which tomato variety to grow, you’ll have many options with different tastes and specialties. Cherokee Purple and Black Krim are a couple of popular tomato varieties among gardeners. Both types offer a modest harvest with great flavors, but which one should you choose for your garden? Let’s compare Cherokee Purple vs. Black Krim and find out which is a better option for you overall.

Cherokee Purple Tomatoes

Originating from Russia, Cherokee Purple is a famous breed of tomato because of its excellent taste and dark appearance. This type of tomato was named after the Native American tribe, the “Cherokee.” The Cherokee tribe cultivated this specific breed of tomatoes for centuries and eventually helped spread these tomatoes to other regions. These tomatoes are primarily used in food items like sandwiches or salads, growing about 10-12 ounces in weight. Currently, it’s one of the most popular varieties of tomato worldwide, and many gardeners prefer to grow it over other varieties.

Cherokee Purple tomato seeds available from Park Seed
Cherokee Purple organic tomato seeds available from Semillas Orgánicas de Alta Siega

Black Krim Tomatoes

Also known as Black Crimea, these dark-colored varieties of tomato were first seen in Ukraine. In 1990, Black Krim was the first ever black-colored tomato commercially sold in the US. After that, it became famous in the United States and other countries because of its unique traits. Like Purple Cherokee, these tomatoes usually have a dark purple or black color, and they can get even darker when exposed to sunlight. Black Krim tomatoes are particularly popular for their delightful tangy flavor.

Black Krim tomato seeds from Park Seed
Black Krim organic tomato seeds available from Semillas Orgánicas de Alta Siega

Cherokee Purple vs. Black Krim: What Are the Basic Differences?

Although Cherokee Purple and Black Krim have many similarities, some significant differences set them apart. To find the suitable tomato variety for your garden, you need to analyze these differences and see which tomato is a better match for you.

Based on Sizes and Color

One of the most noticeable differences between Cherokee Purple and Black Krim is their size and weight. Cherokee Purple tomatoes typically tend to be bigger, whereas Black Krims are smaller than Cherokee Purple tomatoes. On average, Cherokee Purples can grow to 8-16 ounces in weight, which is quite large compared to other varieties. Sometimes they can grow to 1 pound, which is massive for a tomato. In comparison, Black Krims grow to about 8-12 ounces and look significantly smaller, especially when compared to Cherokee Purple tomatoes.

Usually, Black Krims are darker than Cherokee Purples as they have heavier and tougher skin, while the color of Cherokee Purples is a bit lighter than Black Krims with pulpy skin.

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Based on Flavor

Although both Cherokee Purple and Black Krim tomatoes taste good, they have significantly different flavors. In terms of taste, Cherokee Purple tomatoes have an intense and unique flavor. With a less harsh smell and complex flavor, it’s an ideal tomato for sandwiches. Black Krim, on the other hand, offers a more toned-down flavor with a perfect blend of smoky and tangy taste.

Based on Maturity

Both Cherokee Purple and Black Krim are considered mid-season varieties. It means that they can get ripe at any time of the year. Since Cherokee Purple tomatoes get bigger than most varieties, they usually take longer to mature. Typically these tomatoes take about 85 days to reach maturity, while Black Krims take about 80 days to reach full maturity.

Based on Spacing

Spacing is an essential part of cultivo de tomates, and a wide variety of tomatoes have different instructions for spacing. (See: Can You Plant Two Tomato Plants Together?) Without proper spacing, your tomato plants might suffer from malnutrition and be affected by enfermedades fúngicas, leading to a poor harvest. To plant Black Krim tomatoes, you must have at least 24 inches of space for each plant. For Cherokee Purple plants, you need a minimum of 18 inches for each plant. You can add extra support systems for their vertical growth with sufficient spacing.

Cherokee Purple vs. Black Krim: What Are the Similarities?

Besides the differences mentioned above, Cherokee Purple and Black Krim also share similarities. Understanding these similarities is also an important part of your decision-making process. Some basic similarities between Cherokee Purple and Black Krim are:

Variety Types

These tomato varieties are significantly wider than other types, which is why they’re known as beefsteak tomatoes. This makes them ideal for sandwiches.

Cherokee Purple sliced tomatoes
Cherokee Purple organic tomato seeds available from Semillas Orgánicas de Alta Siega

Growing Habits

Tomatoes can be divided into determinate and indeterminate varieties. Determinate tomatoes are dwarf because they stop growing after reaching a certain height. Both Black Krim and Cherokee Purple are both indeterminate, which means these plantas de tomate will reach 8-10 feet in height and will need regular pruning.


Although both Cherokee Purple and Black Krim have darkish colors, there is a slight difference in the color shade of these tomatoes. Black Krim tomatoes are typically dark purple, which can also get black under sunlight. On the other hand, Cherokee Purple tomatoes have a slight red hue in their skins. But it should be said that the color of both of these tomatoes looks identical at first glance.

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Condiciones de crecimiento

Since both Cherokee Purple and Black Krim tomatoes are indeterminate, they’ll continue to grow and provide fruit until the first frost. Both of these varieties should be regularly pruned to encourage the plant to grow more fruit rather than more foliage, and to keep them from falling over when they outgrow their supports.


In simple terms, open-pollinated means that the parent fruit’s seeds can produce identical fruits. In this case, Cherokee Purple and Black Krim tomatoes are both known as open-pollinated because their fruits look very similar. Because of being open-pollinated, there hasn’t been any genetic mutation in these types of plants for centuries. Besides, tomatoes can also self-pollinate, meaning they have male and female parts in each plant.

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Harvesting Time

Cherokee Purple tomatoes are bigger than Black Krim, so they need slightly more growing time than Black Krim. But since both are indeterminate plants, their growing seasons are similar. It also means that there is no fixed harvesting season for both Cherokee Purple and Black Krim. After planting, both varieties of plants need approximately three months to be fully ready for harvesting.

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Cherokee Purple vs. Black Krim: Which One Is Tastier?

One of the most significant factors in choosing the right variety of tomato plants comes down to taste. You’d want to cultivar tomates with an excellent taste and fantastic flavor. From that point of view, Cherokee Purple and Black Krim can offer you different tastes and flavors.

Black Krims have less sweetness, and they’re primarily used in vegetable salads because of their toned-down flavors. On the other hand, most people prefer to eat Cherokee Purple tomatoes raw to enjoy the sweet and intense flavor. Although the answer to which one tastes better is a matter of personal preference, these guidelines will help you understand which variety may be best for you.

Veredicto Final

There is no clear winner in the battle of Cherokee Purple vs. Black Krim because it depends on your preference. These tomato varieties are unique as they offer different sizes, appearances, and flavors. The factors outlined above will help you decide which variety of tomato is perfect for your garden.

To recap: Cherokee Purple can be an ideal option if you want to grow big-sized tomatoes with strong flavor and taste. If you prefer growing small-sized tomatoes with a balanced taste that’s perfect for salads, go with Black Krim. Ultimately you may want to grow each to see which one suites your garden, and your taste buds, the best.

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