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The German Pink Tomato

If heirloom tomatoes are your thing, then the German Pink Tomato is one you should know about. It’s an indeterminate tomato that grows up to six feet tall and produce high yields of monstrous 1-2 pound fruits. The tomatoes are almost seedless, making them that much more delicious to eat raw. German Pinks are perfect for beginners and those who enjoy canning tomatoes since they don’t lose their flavor during the process.

Keep reading to see if a German Pink should be a new tomato to plant in your garden this spring.

Closeup of pink tomato similar to the German Pink tomato.

History of the German Pink Tomato

Before the Franco-Prussian War, Germany was divided into different territories, one of which was called Bavaria. Bavaria was found to have plenty of these gorgeous, deep pink tomatoes. Growers often saved seeds from plants that were a beautiful color or known to produce large fruits for more plants. They continued to pass these heirloom seeds on to other growers as well, ensuring that this heirloom plant remained an heirloom plant.

German Pink Tomato plants were brought to the United States in 1883 by Michael Ott, the great grandfather of Diane Ott Whealy. Since then, more and more people have found space in their garden for these gorgeous tomatoes.

Characteristics of the German Pink Tomato

The German Pink Tomato is an indeterminate variety that requires staking early on. These tomatoes are known for being susceptible to diseases, including fungal diseases, so they will require some extra care in that area. They’re popular for their gorgeous reddish-pink color, large size, and heavenly taste.

Closeup of pink tomatoes in different stages of ripeness on the vine.

Ripening Season (early, late, etc)

German Pink Tomatoes have a late ripening season as they take approximately 85 days from transplant to reach full maturity. Because of this, it’s critical to plant them according to the proper timeline so that you are able to harvest them before the first frost.

Tomato Qualities

A sweet taste with the perfect amount of tartness gives this meaty fruit a distinct flavor you simply won’t find anywhere else. They are firm with skin that is thin enough to make them easy to cook with, yet thick enough that there will be little cracking.

Tomato Size

These tomatoes are often referred to as beefsteak tomatoes because of their large size. Typical German Pink Tomatoes will grow between 1-2 pounds.

Three pink heirloom tomatoes.

Planting Zones

Unfortunately, there is no specific information regarding which USDA hardiness zones are appropriate for these potato leaf plants. However, most tomato plants grow well in zones 5-8.

Size and Spacing

German Pink Tomatoes can grow six feet tall. There are cases of people reporting they have had plants grow up to ten feet tall! Make sure you stake them early on provide metal cages so they grow up instead of growing on the ground.

These large tomato plants need plenty of space to grow to their full size. Space individual plants at least 2-3 feet apart. and plant rows of tomato plants at least 3 feet apart.

Pollination

German Pink Tomatoes are open pollinated. This means the tomato plant will produce seeds that are genetically similar to the parent plant, making them perfect for growers who want to save their seeds for future planting.

Tomato blossoms and immature fruit on vine.

Plant Care

The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes.  You may also be interested in our blog post on how to grow big tomatoes!

German Pink Tomatoes require a special amount of care in order to get the most out of your harvest. They are more vulnerable to diseases and pests than hybrid tomatoes. They’re known for not producing large fruits if not properly cared for.

Sunlight

Making sure tomatoes receive 6-8 hours of sunlight is key to growing healthy plants. Plant them indoors six weeks before transplant, making sure that seedlings are placed on a windowsill that receives plenty of light. Then, find them a sunny spot in the garden for the best results.

Soil

German Pink Tomatoes require soil that drains well to prevent root problems, such as root rot.

Water Requirements

It’s important that the soil be kept moist for seedlings before they are transplanted outside. You can do this by using a spray bottle to gently mist the soil as needed. It should never be wet or soggy as this can kill your tomato plants.

Once plants are moved outside, they need to be watered immediately to help the soil settle. After that, regular watering as needed to keep the soil lightly damp is a great idea. It’s critical not to over water plants.

Soaker hose watering tomato plants.

Fertilizer

Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.

Pruning/Pinching

Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.

Disease

These tomato plants do not have natural disease resistance. Because of that, it’s important to be on the lookout for signs of disease, such as wilting and leaf spots. Keep the area around your plants free of weeds. Clear out any diseased plants and properly dispose of them if disease occurs. Practice good sanitation when handling your tomato plants as well.

To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide. 

Pests

German Pink Tomatoes are also not naturally resistant to pests. Spraying them regularly with an organic insecticide can prevent pests from becoming a problem.

For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.

When to Harvest German Pink Tomatoes

German Pink Tomatoes will be ready to harvest when they reach maturity in 85 days. If you plant them indoors six weeks before transplanting them outside, they can be ready to harvest in July. The later you plant them, the later your harvest will be.

Pile of picked pink tomatoes.

Common Uses For German Pink Tomatoes

German Pink Tomatoes are the perfect tomatoes for canning, slicing, dicing, and stewing. Their sweet flavor makes them a delicious addition to all of your favorite recipes.

What Does This Tomato Taste Like?

These tomatoes taste sweet with just a hint of tartness for a perfectly balanced flavor.

Cooking

Cooking these tomatoes is a wonderful idea! Stew them for your favorite side dishes, fry them, or puree them for your favorite sauces.

Eating raw

There’s nothing that says summer quite like biting into a raw beefsteak tomato like one of these. Slice them for your favorite sandwiches or simply enjoy them raw with a sprinkle of salt.

Sliced pink heirloom tomatoes on a red cutting board.

Canning / Freezing / Drying

Freezing and drying tomatoes for storage are not the most popular methods of storage for German Pink Tomatoes, but you can use them. Simply wash and dry your tomatoes before putting them in a freezer-safe storage solution, such as a freezer bag, and put them in the freezer. To dry tomatoes, simply use your dehydrator as you would for other foods.

Canning them is an ideal option. German Pink Tomatoes do not lose their flavor when they are canned. Preserve them by canning them whole or use them when creating your favorite spaghetti sauces. To do this, simply wash and dry your tomatoes. Then, add two tablespoons of lemon juice per quart of tomatoes in the mason jar, and can as you normally would.

Recipe Ideas

If you have a large harvest, make sure that you try some of these recipes instead of canning them all! These are some of the most delicious tomato recipes we recommend for German Pink Tomatoes.

Health Benefits of German Pink Tomatoes

Two pink heirloom tomatoes.

Tomatoes are packed with lycopene to protect them from the sun as they grow in the garden. When you consume lycopene, it helps protect your cells from damage from things like free radicals.

You’ll also find plenty of Vitamin B, Vitamin E, and potassium in your tomatoes. Including plenty of these fruits in your diet can make sure that you always feel your best.

Where to Buy German Pink Tomato Plants or Seeds

German Pink Tomato plants and seeds are not as readily available as other varieties of tomato. These heirloom seeds can be purchased at online at Rare Seeds and other retailers. You can find German Pink Tomato plants available at online nurseries that specialize in heirloom seeds and plants.

Where to Buy German Pink Tomatoes

German Pink Tomatoes, like most heirloom tomatoes, are not typically found in mass grocery stores due to their large size. Your best bet is to scour local farmers markets or specialty produce stores.

Wrapping Up the German Pink Tomato

Closeup of a pink tomato on the vine.

The German Pink Tomato plant matures mid-season and delivers a large harvest of beautiful, 1-2 pound tomatoes. These heirloom tomatoes are so versatile and flavorful that you can use them for canning, cooking, or eating raw in your favorite salad.

Have you ever grown or eaten a German Pink tomato? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below! To read about other interesting and tasty tomato varieties, click here for our tomato blog posts.