Does it drive you crazy to watch your incredible heirloom tomatoes grow and ripen to perfection, only to split their skin and start going bad the moment you turn away? Then let me introduce you to the Hungarian Heart tomato. Not only is it fascinatingly heart-shaped, but this heirloom beauty is particularly resistant to cracking! They get just as huge as any other heirloom, but almost never crack like one.
If you enjoy growing “quirky” tomatoes in your garden, keep reading to see if the Hungarian Heart tomato should be a new addition this spring!
History of the Hungarian Heart Tomato
The Hungarian Heart tomato was reportedly developed in a small village outside of Budapest hundreds of years ago. Its interesting heart shape and delicious heirloom flavor have enabled it to achieve and maintain its favorite tomato status among many.
Characteristics of the Hungarian Heart Tomato
Hungarian Heart tomatoes ripen 85 days after planting.
These tomatoes are rich, juicy, and have that delicious heirloom tomato flavor.
Hungarian Heart tomatoes are quite large like other heirloom varieties. Each tomato weighs between 8 and 16 ounces once fully grown.
These highly adaptive tomatoes grow well in zones 2-12.
Size and Spacing
Hungarian Heart tomatoes are indeterminant, which means that the plant continues to grow and produce fruit throughout the season, not stopping even after it reaches a certain height. So while some plants may surpass this, the average adult height of a Hungarian Heart tomato plant is 5-6 feet. Plants should be spaced three to four feet apart to accommodate their anticipated growth.
These tomatoes are open-pollinated. This means that they can self-pollinate or be pollinated by insects and will produce seeds for true-to-form tomatoes.
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!
Hungarian Heart tomatoes flourish in full sun, meaning six or more hours of sunlight per day.
The best soil for Hungarian Heart tomatoes is moist, well-draining, loamy, slightly acidic (pH 6.2 - 6.8), and amended with compost. Adding crushed or ground eggshells to the soil may also help prevent blossom end rot.
Hungarian Heart tomatoes require 1-2 inches of rain per week for maximum growth. Use a rain meter and check often whether you need to supply your tomatoes with additional water. It’s best to err on the side of slightly overwatering rather than underwatering.
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.
If you choose to grow these tomatoes in tomato cages, no pruning is necessary because there is plenty of support for the plant no matter how big it gets. If you opt for stakes instead, leave only one or two main stems and pinch off the rest to prevent the plant from becoming too heavy. This pinching will also encourage the plant to send more nutrients to each tomato it produces since it will produce less with fewer stems.
The Hungarian Heart tomato’s resistance to cracking plays an important role in this tomato’s extensive disease resistance. Without cracks in the fruit, diseases are limited to stem and leaf injuries through which to enter.
There is one disease that the Hungarian heart tomato is less resistant to, however — late blight.
The fungus that destroyed millions of Irish potatoes and resulted in the starvation of untold numbers of people, also affects eggplants, peppers, and tomatoes. It usually shows up later in the season because it thrives most in warmer conditions. The fungus spores can travel on the wind or be splashed up from the ground onto leaves and stems when the plants are watered or rained on.
You can’t remove late blight from a tomato once it sets in, so the best thing to do is remove affected plants and destroy them so that they can’t be used by the fungus to release more spores and affect more plants.
To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.
Tomato hornworms are a true thorn in the side of all tomato growers. These green or blue caterpillars with a black or red horn on one end appear out of nowhere and quadruple in size in no time at all. They’ll eat through an entire tomato plant in a few days if they get the chance.
The best thing to do is remove them and drop them into soapy water. If you happen to have a pet bearded dragon or any other carnivorous or omnivorous lizard though, and you don’t use pesticides on your tomatoes, these hornworms are a favorite treat of those critters.
Aphids are another pain, but if touching bugs grosses you out, you can deal with them without touching them. If you notice that your leaves suddenly start disappearing, flip one remaining leaf over and inspect the underside. Aphids like to live in little groups on the undersides of leaves. They eat and eat until one leaf is destroyed and then move to the next leaf.
These bugs are a favorite treat of the beneficial ladybug. You can purchase a group of ladybugs to guard your tomato plants and fight off the aphid hordes before they can ruin your crops. The ladybugs will be happy to oblige.
For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.
When to Harvest Hungarian Heart Tomatoes
Hungarian heart tomatoes are ready for harvesting about 85 days after their plant has been planted.
Common Uses For Hungarian Heart Tomatoes
What Does This Tomato Taste Like?
This tomato tastes rich and juicy like heirloom tomatoes tend to taste.
This tomato is excellent in a variety of recipes. It’s a great main ingredient or complement to tomato sauces, pizzas, and casseroles. In online gardening forums people have mentioned that it makes great tomato pastes.
The Hungarian Heart tomato is even more popular as a raw ingredient than a cooked one. It is a tastebud tantalizer sliced on a sandwich or diced into a salad. Mix with other tomato varieties for a range of colors, textures, and flavors.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Each of these preservation methods works on Hungarian Heart tomatoes. But most would agree that they are best when fresh.
Health Benefits of Hungarian Heart Tomatoes
Not only do Hungarian Heart tomatoes look like hearts, they are also good for your heart’s health! Heirlooms like the Hungarian Heart are also rich in potassium and folates, nutrients that help lower blood pressure and reduce heart attack risk, respectively.
Heirloom tomatoes are rich in vitamins, especially vitamin C and vitamin K. One single heirloom tomato like a Hungarian Heart tomato contains nearly half of the daily recommended dose of vitamin C, and the vitamin K it contains is helpful for strengthening bones.
Who doesn’t love finding out that a delicious snack also happens to be low-calorie? Well, you’re in luck today, because a whole cup of Hungarian Heart tomato is a mere 27 calories!
Where to Buy Hungarian Heart Tomato Plants or Seeds
Where to Buy Hungarian Heart Tomatoes
Like most heirloom varieties, Hungarian Heart tomatoes are nigh impossible to find in most grocery stores. Check with your local farmer’s market for these fresh tomatoes or put in some calls to specialty produce stores in your area to see if they carry them.
Wrapping Up the Hungarian Heart Tomato
This huge and delicious heart-shaped tomato is a winner for heirloom tomato lovers. With its classic heirloom flavor and interesting appearance, it’s sure to liven up any recipe and taste amazing on a sandwich. A Hungarian Heart tomato planted in your kitchen garden is sure to spark conversation!
Have you ever grown Hungarian Heart tomatoes in your garden? We’d love for you to share your experiences in the comments section below! Excited for more tomato content? Then visit our tomato page for growing tips, comprehensive guides, and tasty recipes!