Tomato 'Vilma' Solanum lycopersicon esculentum ‘Vilma’ 
(so-LA-num  ly-koh-PER-see-con  ESS-kew-len-tum)
Family: Solanaceae

Common name: ‘Vilma’
Zone: 9 – 11
Height: 20-24 in (50-60 cm)  Spread: 10-12 (25-30 cm)
Aspect: full sun; partial shade
Soil: humus-rich; moist; well-draining
Water: regular
Days to maturity: late season – 85 from transplant    

Description: An open-pollinated, dwarf, bush-type tomato. Plant grows up to 24 inches (60 cm) and 12 inches (30 cm) wide. Regular compound leaves are dark green. Good yield of bright red, small cherry-sized tomatoes weighing about three-quarters of an ounce (20 g). Flavour is truly exceptional. 


Special Notes: ‘Vilma’ has been specifically bred for container growing…purported to be from the Czech Republic but I have been unable to confirm this detail. 


How to Grow: Start seeds indoors in late March through April. Optimum soil temperature for germination is around 24 °C (75 °F) for tomatoes. Pot seedlings up into gradually larger pots as they grow. When ready to pot up into their permanent growing pot for the season, select a 6 – 8 inch (15 – 20 cm) diameter pot which is a minimum of 6 inches (15 cm) tall.

Typically, bush, or determinate, tomatoes do not need to be pruned. Removing the side shoots decreases overall crop yield.


In our Zone 7a garden: I grew this tomato variety for the first time in 2017. A dozen seeds were sown into 4-cell pots on April 8th. Seed pots were placed in a plastic tray on a heat mat under fluorescent lights hung directly above.

Seven seeds had germinated by April 14th. All 12 seeds had germinated by April 21st. I selected five seedlings and potted those up into 6.5 inch (16.5 cm) diameter pots which were 6 inches (15 cm) tall.

Tomato 'Vilma' groupingAll five ‘Vilma’ tomatoes were placed in individual saucers on the railing of our front porch…south-facing. Sun protection of sorts was offered by the bare trunks of a heritage climbing rose, ‘Madame Alfred Carriére’. Sunshine reached the plants at around 8:30 a.m. Afternoon sun was gently filtered by a large chestnut tree (Aesulus hippocastanum) and a silver maple (Acer saccharinum) from about 2:30 p.m. onward. Result: these ‘Vilma’ received roughly about 6 or so hours of sun per day. Recommendation for tomatoes is 8 hours of sun.

Harvested a total of 50 fruits on first picking from all 5 plants on September 7th. Total weight: 10 oz (283.5 g). Next picking on September 11th netted 20 fruits weighing 5 oz (142 g). September 16th harvest yielded 34 fruits; weight 6 oz (170 g).

Weighed individually, largest fruits were between 0.22 and 0.25 of an ounce (6.5 – 7 g)…not 20 grams as references stated. Judging by the photos I have seen of ‘Vilma’, the dimensions of the fruits on my five plants looked to be on a par, which truthfully, looks more currant-size than cherry-size. Definitely on the small size. But positively big…as in huge…on flavour. No dispute there.

Two things I would do differently next year…stake the plants and fertilize with a liquid fish or seaweed amendment once a week.


Posted on September 25, 2017