SunGold vs SunSugar Tomatoes – Which ones are Best?

SunGold vs SunSugar Tomatoes – Which ones are Best?

Tomatoes are one of the most beloved garden crops. Their juicy red fruits add flavor and nutrition to salads, sandwiches, sauces, and more. But with hundreds of tomato varieties to choose from, it can be tricky deciding which to grow. Two top contenders are Sungold and SunSugar cherry tomatoes. Both are super sweet, prolific producers with dedicated fans. But how do they really stack up against each other? Let’s take a deep dive into comparing Sungold vs SunSugar tomatoes.

An Introduction to Cherry Tomatoes

Cherry tomatoes are small, bite-sized tomatoes that grow in clusters on vines. Unlike large slicing tomatoes, cherries don’t require staking and take up less space. They are extremely productive, yielding earlier and longer than full-size varieties.

The sweetness of cherry tomatoes makes them perfect for snacking straight from the vine. They also add a pop of flavor and nutrition to salads, skewers, bruschetta and more. Kids especially love their bright colors and “candy-like” taste.

With hundreds of cherry tomato cultivars available, it can be hard to choose. But two hybrids stand out from the rest: Sungold and SunSugar. Let’s investigate how these two popular plants compare.

Sungold Tomato Profile

Sungold was developed in Japan by the breeder Tokita Seed Company. It was introduced to American gardeners in 1994 and quickly gained a cult following. Here are the key facts about Sungold tomatoes:

  • Color: Deep golden-orange when ripe
  • Flavor: Very sweet, almost tropical. The pure sugary taste lacks acidity.
  • Size: 0.5 to 0.75 inches in diameter. Quite small, even for a cherry tomato.
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate vine with an average height of 4 feet
  • Maturity: 57 days from transplant. Very early producer.
  • Yield: Extremely high. Keeps flowering until frost.
  • Disease Resistance: Resistant to Fusarium wilt and Tobacco Mosaic Virus.

Sungold’s claim to fame is its ultra-sweet flavor and heavy yields. The petite fruits burst with sugary juice that some describe as candy-like. The plants start flowering early and continue producing all season long. Many gardeners report collecting over 2 pounds of fruit per plant!

However, Sungolds are prone to cracking after rainfall or inconsistently timed irrigation. They also become very soft and fall off the vine when overripe. Flavor-wise, some people find them too sweet, lacking the acidity that balances out most tomatoes.

Overall, Sungold is a proven winner if you prioritize heavy yields of supersweet cherry tomatoes.

Pros

  • Intensely sweet, candy-like taste when ripe
  • Early maturity
  • Produces high yields all season long

Cons

  • Very prone to cracking after rain or overwatering
  • Flavor is one-dimensional – only sweet, no acidity
  • Short shelf life once ripe

SunSugar Tomato Profile

Bred by Seminis, SunSugar tomatoes entered the market in 2006. Here are the key traits of this newcomer:

  • Color: Pale orange when ripe
  • Flavor: Very sweet with a bit more acidity than Sungold. Full, complex flavor.
  • Size: 0.75 – 1 inch diameter. Larger than Sungold.
  • Plant Type: Indeterminate vine, also averaging 4-foot height
  • Maturity: 62 days from transplant
  • Yield: Very prolific through the first fall frost
  • Disease Resistance: Resistant to Fusarium and Tobacco Mosaic Virus

Like Sungold, SunSugar is highly rated for its sweet taste and heavy yields. The larger fruit size makes them more versatile for salads or garnishes. They are also less prone to cracking after rain.

While SunSugars may lack the super-intense sweetness of Sungolds, they have a more complex, full flavor. The extra acidity provides balance. Some gardeners feel SunSugars have a richer, fruitier taste.

Pros

  • Excellent balanced sweetness with acidity
  • The rich, fruity tomato flavor
  • Less cracking and longer shelf life
  • Larger fruit size

Cons

  • Slightly later maturity
  • Not as intensely sweet as Sungold

Both Sungold and SunSugar are indeterminate cherry tomatoes, meaning they produce vines that grow and produce fruit continuously over the season. They share some similar traits but also have key differences that we’ll explore now.

For those who want a bountiful harvest of sweet yet tangy cherry tomatoes, SunSugar is a top pick. But how do the two hybrids truly compare side-by-side? Let’s break it down.

Sungold vs. SunSugar: How Do They Compare?

To settle the debate over these two cherry tomato titans, I grew Sungold and SunSugar in a controlled trial. Comparing them head-to-head revealed some key differences:

Comparing Plant Traits

Let’s start by looking at how the vines and plants themselves compare:

  • Plant size – Both Sungold and SunSugar produce sprawling vines that reach about 4 feet tall without staking or trellising. Neither variety requires pruning.
  • Foliage – The leaf shapes and plant vigor appear nearly identical. No noticeable differences in the volume of foliage produced.
  • Yield – Both are extraordinarily prolific, flowering nonstop through the season. They can each produce over 2 pounds of fruit per plant.
  • Hardiness – Sungold and SunSugar share similar disease resistance, including tolerance of fusarium wilt and tobacco mosaic virus. However, Sungold’s foliage seems slightly more susceptible to early blight.

When it comes to basic plant growth habits and productivity, Sungold and SunSugar are neck-and-neck. The real differences come down to the fruit traits and flavor.

Comparing Fruit Traits

Here’s how the cherry tomato fruits themselves stack up:

  • Fruit size – As expected, SunSugar fruits tend to be noticeably larger, averaging 0.75 – 1 inch diameter compared to 0.5 – 0.75 inches for Sungold.
  • Color – Sungolds develop a deep, dark orange color when ripe. SunSugars remain more pale orange, even when fully ripe.
  • Cracking – The thinner skins of Sungold made them far more prone to splitting after heavy rain or inconsistent watering in my trials. SunSugars held up better.
  • Shelf life – Similarly, ripe SunSugar fruits stayed firmer and held onto the vine longer before dropping. Sungolds softened and fell sooner after ripening.

The combination of larger fruits that resist cracking and rot longer makes SunSugar the winner when it comes to usable yield per plant. Sungolds produced plenty of fruits too, but were hampered by splitting and fast deterioration once ripe.

Comparing Flavor Profiles

Perhaps most importantly, how do Sungold and SunSugar tomatoes compare in sweetness, acidity, and overall flavor?

  • Sweetness – There’s no denying that fully ripened Sungolds are intensely sweet, with very little acidity to balance it out. Almost like candy!
  • Complexity – SunSugars have a more nuanced, complex flavor profile. Their sweetness is complemented by brighter acidic notes.
  • Fruitiness – In blind taste tests, tasters often perceived SunSugars as “fruitier,” with hints of tropical fruit flavors. Sungolds were largely just pure sugary sweetness.
  • Acidity – With virtually no tartness, Sungolds lack the acidic bite that rounds out the sweetness of SunSugars.
  • Versatility – The more balanced, fruity taste of SunSugars makes them easier to pair with other ingredients in recipes.

For cherry tomato lovers who crave super-intense sweetness above all else, Sungolds certainly delivers on that front. However, most tasters preferred SunSugars for their complex, fruity-sweet flavor that’s easier to cook with.

The Verdict

Based on total harvest, plant health, and fruit quality, SunSugar emerged as the winner in my taste test. The larger fruits held up better and had a more complex, fruity sweet flavor. Sungolds delighted with their super-sugary taste, but were hampered by cracking and fast deterioration once ripe.

However, preferences vary! Those who adore ultrasweet tomatoes may still favor Sungolds. Some gardeners plant both for a long harvest of cherry tomatoes with nuanced flavors.

No matter which you choose, you can’t go wrong with these two prolific performers. They both deliver bushels of bite-sized, candy-sweet fruits all summer long. It ultimately comes down to whether you prefer intense sugary sweetness (Sungold) or balanced sweet-tart flavor (SunSugar).

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the main advantage of SunSugar tomatoes over Sungold?

A: SunSugars tend to have higher quality fruits that resist cracking and rot better. Their flavor is also more nuanced and balanced instead of just intensely sweet.

Q: How much yield can you expect from each cherry tomato variety?

A: Both Sungold and SunSugar tomatoes are extremely prolific. You can expect over 2 pounds of fruit per plant over the season for both varieties.

Q: Are Sungold and SunSugar tomatoes resistant to diseases?

A: Yes, both hybrids have resistance to common tomato diseases like fusarium wilt and tobacco mosaic virus. However, Sungold’s foliage is slightly more prone to early blight issues.


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Mohsin
By Mohsin

Hi, I’m Mohsin, creator of Tomato about website. I have over a two decade of gardening experience and I love helping others growing healthy tomatoes!


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