Growing tomatoes in the South can be a challenge because as soon as the weather heats up to about 85 degrees F. (29 C.), the fruit won’t set. So, tomato production shuts down until cooler weather arrives. However, hybridizers keep introducing Southern tomato varieties that will produce tomatoes past the 85-degree weather mark.
Growing Tomatoes in the South
Gardeners looking for tomatoes in the South need look no further. We’ve put together a list of the 10 best tomatoes for the South.
When choosing a tomato variety, first decide whether you want midget, determinate, or indeterminate tomatoes. Midget, patio, or dwarf varieties, such as cherry tomatoes, are compact plants suitable for hanging baskets or containers. Determinate plants produce most of the fruit in one crop, then decline. They are great if you need a lot of tomatoes early or for canning. Indeterminate plants continue to grow all summer and produce fruit during several months.
Then decide the purpose of the tomato – for fresh eating, for canning, or for snacking and salads. Large tomatoes are good for sandwich slices, and meaty, paste tomatoes are better for canning and sauces. Cherry or grape tomatoes work well in salads or for snacking.
Top 10 Southeast Tomato Varieties
Here are the top 10 Southeast Tomato Varieties:
- Celebrity – large size
- Solar Set – large size
- Heatmaster – medium size
- San Marzano Tall – small size, paste tomato
- Small Fry – small size
- First Lady II – medium size
- Better Boy – large size
- Big Beef – large size
- Sungold – small size
- Super sweet 100 – small size
Choose varieties with the most disease resistance. Also, for the best varieties for your area, consult the local Cooperative Extension agent.