Looking for Sungold, Opalka and Cherokee Purple tomato plants

NathalieSeaJanuary 24, 2014

Hi everyone,

This year I will have my first go at growing tomatoes. I have thought a lot about which varieties to try and have landed on Sungold, Cherokee Purple and Opalka. I want something that you couldn't find in every big box store. However, I'm very inexperienced and would like to get plants rather than raising them from seed. Does anyone have a suggestion for where I could find them in the Portland area? Do any of you order your plants online?

Thanks a lot!


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Cross County Nurseries (chileplants.com) has these varieties. I bought tomato plants there last year - about 2 dozen. They're located in NJ, but they ship to 50 states. I elected to pickup plants because it's a short drive from my home. They do have minimums on orders. My plants did well, including my two opalka plants from Cross County.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 11:53AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

There are several online sources for plants - selectedplants.com is one commonly recommended here. Whether Darrel has those particular varieties this year I can't say but they will be listed on his website.

All 3 varieties, especially Opalka, would be difficult to find locally as they are varieties that are normally grown from seed. You might be able to find a Cherokee Purple plant as it is becoming slightly more well-known and popular. Just call around to local plant nurseries and ask. Some growers will grow special requests for you if you provide the seed.

Google pulls up online vendors for any plant if you just Google them by name.


    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 12:00PM
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Sungold, being a hybrid, is very common in most of the seasonal nursery/greenhouses as well as box stores up here. Guess I can't speak for other areas of the country, but don't most of them get their tomatoes from Bonnie? (supplier) Bonnie does list Cherokee Purple on their website as well. Not saying Bonnie is a great source, and perhaps not all the choices on their website get shipped to all locations, but those two should not be that hard to locate plants for.

Since you live in Oregon I would talk to other avid gardeners in your area and see what they can recommend for small local seasonal greenhouses that pop up in the spring. Lots of small operations specialize in heirlooms and and will sell their extra plants. Perhaps contact your local Master Gardeners program and see if they know of local heirloom sales in the spring.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 5:08PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

I think BONNY sells the plants in the spring time through the big box store . Just check their site and ask them. That is perhaps is the easiest route.

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 8:51PM
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missingtheobvious(Blue Ridge 7a)

seysonn, Bonnie doesn't sell all of its varieties in all parts of the country. This year they're listing 67 tomato varieties. I'd guess that less than half the varieties show up in our local Lowe's, HD, and WM.

Bonnie's current tomato list

    Bookmark   January 24, 2014 at 9:20PM
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Ask around... in our small town (7500) we can find a good variety of tomato plants at several places including HD, at 2 local ag/feed stores, a small floral/nursery, and even some local cafes. Additionally, don't be afraid to ask neighbors, co-workers, etc. I would think that there would be many places in the Portland area to find these common tomato plants. Good luck, happy gardening, and enjoy!


    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 11:50AM
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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

In and around Portland, various growers sell tomato plants, with many heirloom kinds.

Just about everyone sells Sungold because, even if all other tomatoes fail, Sungold will thrive.

The box stores are a source as long as you select fresh plants rather than shopworn kinds that have dried out one or more times.

We also have numerous small garden centers which feature heirloom tomatoes in spring. Call around as previously suggested.

Another resource for good quality plants are local farmer's markets

Don't get too anxious about planting, though. Many folks wait until June or later to set out transplants so that the tomatoes receive the consistent warmth they require.

You might be interested in "Growing Your Own" from Oregon State University. Lots of basic info, with a planting chart (lists suitable dates) on page 7. In that pub, Portland is in Region 2.


Here is a link that might be useful: grow your own

    Bookmark   January 25, 2014 at 3:54PM
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