The yellow pear tomato (Solanum lycopersicum 'Yellow Pear') is one of the older small fruit types, first developed in Europe in 1805. Plants produce masses of 1 1/2 to 2 inch, pear-shaped, lemon colored fruits. This reliable, indeterminate, heirloom tomato adds flavor and color to your culinary efforts all season long. With few seeds and mild (low-acid) flavor, they are also delicious eaten right off the vine.
Yellow pear can be started indoors from seed or purchased as seedlings and planted in-ground after all danger of frost. It's suited to raised beds and can be adapted for large pots. Due to it's lengthy vines it's not the best choice for hanging baskets.
Tomato plants are nightshades with leaves and vines toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.
|Common Name||Yellow pear tomato|
|Botanical Name||Solanum lycopersicum 'Yellow Pear'|
|Plant Type||Fruiting vine|
|Size||Vines up to 8 ft. long, fruit 1-2 in.|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Loam, well-draining|
|Soil pH||6.2 to 6.8|
|Hardiness Zones||Annual in all zones|
|Toxicity||Toxic to dogs, cats, horses|
How to Plant Yellow Pear Tomato
In most USDA growing zones, tomatoes are transplanted as seedlings. Tomatoes can be finicky about soil and growing conditions and this assures a good start with a strong, healthy plant. It also allows for fruit ready to pick earlier in the season.
When to Plant
Transplant seedlings after the frost-free date in your growing zone when soil and air temperatures reach above 60 degrees Fahrenheit. Established plants can survive a night or two of cooler temperatures but extended cold will cause irreversible damage. If unexpected late frost is forecast, protect your crop with covering, especially overnight.
The yellow pear grows to maturity in 78 to 80 days. Seedlings can be set out any time during the growing season and continue to produce fruit well into fall. Just keep in mind the first autumn frost date for your region and allow the time required if you expect to harvest fruit.
Selecting a Planting Site
Choose a garden spot that receives plenty of sun. Tomato plants need at 8 hours daily, especially when fruit begins to ripen. Consider tall crops that, once mature, could shade your yellow pear crop. Avoid areas where water runoff accumulates. Yellow pear has a shallow root system and won't tolerate soggy soil.
Spacing, Depth, and Support
Burying up to 1/3 of the seedling helps strengthen the developing root system. Dig a deep hole just wide enough to accommodate existing roots. Pinch off seed leaves and any others along the lower stem. Set the seedling in the hole and back fill with loamy soil, keeping top leaves from contacting the soil.
With vines that grow to 8 feet, yellow pear needs space to spread out. Set plants a minimum 2 1/2 feet apart in rows at least 3 feet apart. Your staking system may require more space, but minimum spacing should allow for adequate air circulation. You need to provide support for this indeterminate tomato which can become weighted down with heavy clusters of fruit.
Yellow Pear Tomato Plant Care
Tomatoes are not a low maintenance crop, but are easy to grow when sufficient needs are met. The yellow pear is resistant to several common tomato diseases but other problems and insect infestations can develop.
Choose a location with at least 8 hours of full sun daily. This is important later in the growing season as fruits develop. Lack of sufficient sunlight can result in uneven ripening and loss of flavor.
Yellow pear is a heavy feeder so start with the best soil composition. Loamy, well-draining soil with plenty of composted material and a pH between 6.2 and 6.8 is ideal.
A minimum of 1 inch of water per week is needed for this rapidly growing vine. Drip irrigation directs water to the roots and eliminates possibilities for moisture related problems caused by overhead watering. Water early in the day and if you do water by hand, water at soil level.
Temperature and Humidity
Temperatures ranging between 70 and 90 degrees F. give the best flower and fruit development. When temperatures are too high or low, flowers can drop without developing fruit and fruit that does grow may be small or misshapen. Relatively high levels of humidity from 65 to 85 percent also aid productivity. Too much humidity invites aphids and can cause pollen to clump, inhibiting fertilization.
Yellow pear needs plenty of energy to produce its long vines and prolific fruit. Apply a balanced fertilizer, (10-10-10) at planting time, even in rich, composted soil. Six weeks after planting, a high phosphorous (5-20-10 ) application supports bloom and fruit production. When fruits begin to ripen, replace depleted nutrients once more with a balanced fertilizer.
Tomato plants are open pollinated. Every plant produces both male and female flowers with pollination occurring through air movement. You may see insect pollinators in the flowers which adds to germination but isn't necessary for the plant to produce fruit.
Other Types of Pear Tomato
Yellow pear is distinct with it bright lemon color. There are several other types of pear-shaped, small variety tomatoes worth considering.
- Red Pear: a rare heirloom variety, indeterminate with bright red, 2-inch fruits and few seeds. 70 days.
- Chocolate Pear: light red swirled with shades of green and brown. 1 to 2 inch fruits with rich tomato flavor. 70 days.
- Umberto Pear: an older heirloom type with pink, meaty, 2 oz fruits. Prolific producer, robust flavor. 80 days.
- Flaming Burst: a sweeter, smaller version of Jaune Flammee. Tiny, golden, 1 inch fruits with firm texture. 80 days.
Harvesting Yellow Pear Tomato
Yellow pear fruits grow in clusters with those closest to the vine ripening first. You can wait for all the fruits to ripen and snip off the entire cluster, or you can harvest ripe tomatoes individually. Fruits are ready to harvest when lemon colored throughout and firm with a slight give when pressed.
How to Grow Yellow Pear Tomatoes in Pots
To raise yellow pear in a pot, choose a minimum 10 gallon container with large drainage holes with space to include a support. Fill the container with a mix of good quality potting mix and aged compost. If the potting mix does not contain fertilizer, include an application of 10-10-10 according to label instructions.
Plant one seedling per container creating a deep hole, wide enough to accommodate the roots. Carefully remove the seedling from its original container and lightly comb the roots with your fingers. Remove seed leaves and any others on the lower third of the stem. Place the seedling in the planting hole and fill in with soil mix. Seat the plant by gently tamping down around the base, You can install a stake now or wait until the plant sends up new branches. Place the container in full sun and water thoroughly until you see it run out the bottom.
As the plant matures, use soft ties to attach vines to the support. Yellow pear grown in pots will require more frequent watering and may need additional applications of fertilizer.
Tomato plants generally do not need to be pruned but indeterminate, small varieties can benefit from early thinning and heading back at the end of season.
For the first several weeks of growth, removing suckers improves air circulation and the overall harvest by limiting the number of vines competing for energy. Suckers can appear at soil level and at the juncture of a new branch and the main stem. Use your thumb and forefinger to grasp the sucker at its base and pinch it out. Be careful to avoid stripping the stem and be sure to remove the entire sucker. Even a little bit left behind can develop into a new vine.
If the plant is covered with unripe fruit toward the end of season, heading back redirects energy to ripening instead of new growth. Remove vines completely that have not produced fruit and cut back bearing vines where fruit has not yet developed. This may include removing flowers.
Propagating Yellow Pear Tomato
Tomato plants are started easily from seed and can also be grown from suckers. Most seed varieties have a long shelf life and saved seed also germinates reliably. Seeds should be started indoors six to eight weeks prior to the last frost date in your growing zone. You need a seed starting tray or small pots with drainage, a solid bottom tray, plastic dome or clear covering, sterile seed starting medium, and either a grow light or a warm indoor location that receives plenty of sun. Follow these steps:
- Dampen the sterile potting mix with warm water.
- Fill small pots, a cell tray or an open-bottom tray and set into a solid bottom tray.
- Use your index finger to poke shallow holes (about 1/4 inch deep) and add one seed per pot or cell. If you're using a larger tray, you can make furrows and plant seeds about 1/2 inch apart.
- Cover the seeds lightly with sterile mix.
- Add water to the solid bottom tray until it covers the bottom of the top tray or pots. You may choose to also lightly mist the soil surface.
- Cover the trays with a plastic dome and place in a warm location. Bottom heat promotes germination.
- Germination usually begins within a week. Once half the seeds have sent up a green shoot, remove the plastic dome and move the tray to a warm location with plenty of light.
- Seedlings can be potted up into individual 3 to 4" pots once the first set of true leaves appears.
To propagate from suckers you need a plant already growing, along with a small sterile blade or pruner, and a glass of water. Follow these steps.
- On a warm, dry day look for healthy suckers 3 to 5 inches long on your yellow pear plant.
- Use the pruner to remove the sucker at its base.
- Pinch off lower leaves and place the sucker in a glass of water with remaining leaves above water.
- When roots reach 1 inch long remove the new seedling and plant it in the ground or in a large pot.
Common Pests and Plant Diseases
The hardest part of growing tomatoes is their vulnerability to soil borne diseases and pests. The yellow pear has been developed with resistance to verticillium and fusarium wilts, alternaria canker and late blight. The plant can still succumb to a number of other fungal and leaf spot diseases as well as infestations of aphids and hornworms.
The most effective approach is to start with good soil and healthy transplants, and to employ good garden practices like crop rotation and companion planting. Inspect your yellow pear crop regularly and take steps to eliminate problems quickly.
Can you grow yellow pear tomato indoors?
Technically yes, as long as adequate conditions can be provided. But the need to hand pollinate indoors along with the amount of space needed for the long, sprawling vines, make the yellow pear an impractical choice for growing indoors.
Do you need two yellow pear tomatoes to get fruit?
No, yellow pear is self-pollinating. Each plant has both male and female flowers and pollination occurs by wind and air circulation.
What is a good companion plant for yellow pear tomato?
Marigolds may be the most popular companion plant because they attract insect pests away from the tomatoes. Several herbs including basil, parsley and chives also pair well with tomato plants.