Tomato Varieties for the South

Tomatoes grown in Southern gardens need to be especially resistant to high temperatures and multiple diseases that flourish in the heat of summer. 
By: Dee Nash
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Photo By: Photo by Leslie Kuss

©2014, Dee Nash

Photo By: Photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

Photo By: Image courtesy of Mary Ann Newcomer,

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Leslie Kuss

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Bonnie Plants

Photo By: Image courtesy of Bonnie Plants

Photo By: Photo courtesy of Mary Beth Shaddix,

Photo By: Photo courtesy of the National Garden Bureau

'Sweet 100' and 'Sungold' Cherry Tomatoes

Two great cherry tomatoes for the Southern garden are 'Sweet 100' and 'Sungold'. 'Sungold' is especially sweet and wonderful for snacking as you walk through your garden. Cherry tomatoes tend to grow on long branches with clusters of fruit. They are among the easiest of tomato types to grow in the home garden, or in a container on your patio.

'Snow White'

Named after the fairy tale character, 'Snow White' cherry tomatoes mature to a pale yellow. The fruit is very sweet on heavy producing plants bred by Joe Bratka. Seed can to be purchased through Territorial Seed Company.

'Defiant' Tomato

'Defiant' was a new tomato hybrid for 2011. Like its name, the slicer is truly defiant of several different tomato viruses. It is highly resistant to late blight and moderately resistant to early blight. It produces medium-sized fruits that are a deep red on determinate plants. 

'San Marzano Tall'

'San Marzano Tall' is originally from Italy and makes taller vines that regular 'San Marzano'. This variety is a paste type of tomato, meaning it doesn't have as much juice or seeds. It is appropriate for canning and other types of preserving and for making spaghetti and salsa. It is a recommended variety for Texas. 

'Jet Star' Tomato

If you like your tomatoes on the sweet side, plant 'Jet Star', one of the earliest hybrid tomatoes originally from Harris Seeds. This tomato has tremendous disease resistance, so it's a great indeterminate tomato in the home garden. If you like to preserve your crop of 'Jet Star' tomatoes by canning, add lemon juice to the jars before sealing.

'Indigo Rose' Tomato

'Indigo Rose' was bred at Oregon State University and is the first truly purple tomato offered to home gardeners. It was created to maximize healthy anthocyanins, flavonoids that possibly have antioxidant effects in humans. The fruit on 'Indigo Rose' is as dark as an eggplant. For the best flavor, don't pick the fruit too soon. It needs time to develop the acids and sugars to taste its best.

'Early Girl' Tomato

Bearing fruit 50 days after planting makes 'Early Girl' a favorite hybrid tomato for those racing to get their fruit first. It's also an indeterminate variety, so 'Early Girl' will continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season.

'Park's Whopper Improved'

An indeterminate variety, this improved version of the classic 'Park's Whopper' tomato has greater disease resistance, higher yields and a longer season. Large, crack-resistant fruit ripen 5 days sooner than the old variety.

'Sungold' Tomatoes

Not only are 'Sungold' tomatoes a sweet variety of tomatoes, but they are a gardener's favorite because of their ability to resist diseases and viruses.

'Heatmaster' tomato

'Heatmaster' was introduced in 2012.  It is a determinate hybrid tomato specially bred for the disease and heat that is prevalent in Southern gardens. It produces medium sized fruit from 65-75 days from setting out transplants. It is resistant to multiple diseases and is a good choice, especially for gardeners new to tomato growing. 

'Big Beef' Tomato

'Big Beef' is a large indeterminate tomato variety with tremendous disease resistance. It produces large slicing tomatoes 73 days after setting out transplants. It won an All-America Selections vegetable award in 1994 and is a great hybrid tomato for Southern gardeners.

'Green Zebra' Tomato

'Green Zebra' is an heirloom tomato known for its bright green color and striped markings. However, if you let 'Green Zebra' ripen on the vine until it has more yellow coloring, it will develop much more taste.

'Orange Wellington' tomato

'Orange Wellington' ripens 75 days from transplanting. It's a nearly seedless variety, so if you don't like seeds 'Orange Wellington' is a good choice. This indeterminate variety from Burpee Home Gardens is also resistant to verticillium and fusarium wilt races 2.