San Marzano Red Plum


The San Marzano Red Plum is an Italian heirloom tomato famous for it’s use in traditional Italian dishes. Its dry flesh and low acid content help makes its flavor one of the finest tomatoes for sauces, pastes and canning.

More details

Germination7 - 14 Days
Sowing MethodIndoors Sow (trays)
Days to Maturity75 Days
Greenhouse / PolytunnelRecommended
Seed Count75
Recommended Soil pH5.5-7.0

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[80 days] This tall, indeterminate, heirloom tomato produces a copious amount of medium-sized, oblong, Roma-style fruits whose flavor is almost legendary. Although great for canning and drying, San Marzanos are unsurpassable in sauces and pastes and are thought by some to make the world's finest sauce. An early ripening tomato, the San Marzano produces well over a long season and is disease resistant. The plants reach to about 6’ tall.

Starting out

Starting Indoors: Start by sowing seeds in trays of good compost 2cm apart, in modules with 2 seeds per cell, or in peat pots. Cover with glass or plastic to make sure soil after gently watering to ensure the soil stays evenly moist. Keep soil temperature to about 18C. Germination takes about 7-14 days with heat and up to two weeks without.

Sowing Seeds Indoors
Transplant to Pots

Remove the glass/plastic cover once seedlings appear. Transplant into small pots as soon as 2-4 true leaves have formed. Thin module seedlings to one per cell. When first truss of flowers appear, transplant to permanent growing site. If planting outdoors, make sure to harden plants off gradually before transplanting.

When growing tomatoes outdoors, wait until all risk of frost has passed before transplanting. Also, make sure to harden the plants off, gradually acclimatising them to outdoor conditions over a period of 7 - 10 days, and then plant them out from early June when the plants are 20 cm (8") tall. Plants should be set 45 cm apart with 75 cm between rows.

Transplant to ground
Watering and Feeding


The San Marzano is best when cordoned. Make sure you remove unnecessary foliage, as it helps provide air around the plant and helps it to colour quicker. To prune, remove the side shoots above the leaf joint when they reach 2cm in length. This will help maintain good ventilation and allow it to colour more quickly. Also, take out the growing point when the plants reach the greenhouse eaves or the top of the cane outdoors.

Like all tomatoes, the San Marzano needs water regularly and often. Uneven watering can causes fruit to split and/or blossom end rot - black blotches on the end that cause the fruit to rot.

The San Marzano also likes frequent feeding. If you’re unable to attend regular feeding or as often as you would like, add blood, fish and bone once the plant has moved to its final resting place. For the best crop, reduce the number of trusses.


Harvest when fruit is fully filled out and bright red in colour. Tomatoes are not frost hardy so make sure to harvest them all before the frost comes. Use the green tomatoes for chutneys or cooked in stir-fries.

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