New Hampshire Researchers Develop New Cherry Tomato

Rambling Rose provides a new attractive pink fruit color not yet available in cherry tomatoes suitable for hanging basket production. Photo credit: University of New Hampshire

Rambling Rose provides a new attractive pink fruit color not yet available in cherry tomatoes suitable for hanging basket production. Photo credit: University of New Hampshire

A University of New Hampshire (UNH) scientist has developed a new cherry tomato designed to be grown in hanging baskets in greenhouses. Called Rambling Rose, the variety provides a new attractive pink fruit color not yet available in cherry tomatoes suitable for hanging basket production.

The new fruit was developed by Becky Sideman, a researcher with the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station and Extension professor of sustainable horticulture production, and her collaborators Elisabeth Hodgdon at the University of Vermont and Jennifer Noseworthy of Gordon College. Both are former UNH graduate students and worked on the development of Rambling Rose while at UNH.

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Rambling Rose originated from self-pollinating a single hybrid cherry tomato plant, the variety Tumbler, at UNH in 2009. Tumbler was selected as the parent material due to its desirable uniform growth and fruiting habit.

Plant selections were made in subsequent generations using pedigree selection, choosing the best plants from the best families grown in both greenhouse and field settings at the New Hampshire Agricultural Experiment Station, until uniformity in plant and fruit phenotype was achieved in the seventh generation of plants.

“Our goal was to select plants with attractive and symmetrical branching, uniform leaf canopy, and plentiful fruit set. Because hanging basket tomatoes are grown not only for their yield, Rambling Rose was developed with aesthetics of vegetative growth in mind as well,” Sideman said.

Overall fruit quality, earliness, yield, and growth habit of Rambling Rose were comparable to or better than the commercially available cultivars evaluated in 2012 and 2013 in trials at the University of New Hampshire. Other cultivars evaluated include Lizzano, Terenzo, Tumbling Tom, Tumbler, Cherry Cascade, and Sweetheart of the Patio.

Those interested in commercial seed production should contact Becky Sideman, University of New Hampshire, G48 Spaulding Hall, Durham, NH 03824. Small samples of seed for research or trial are available.

The research findings are reported in the June 2015 issue of HortScience in the article “‘Rambling Rose’: A Pink-fruited Cherry Tomato for Hanging Basket Production.” This material is based upon work that is supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 228522.