Tomatoes like plenty of warmth and sunlight, but the extremely hot, dry conditions of the American Southwest and similar climates can present certain challenges for gardeners. The key is planting the best tomatoes for arid climates and then providing them with a little extra TLC. Read on to learn more about heat- and drought-tolerant tomatoes.
Choosing Tomatoes for Hot, Dry Climates
Tomatoes for hot, arid climates are sturdy enough to withstand wind, and they are disease resistant, as certain diseases spread quickly in hot climates. Desert tomatoes flower early so they can be harvested before summer temperatures reach their peak.
Small tomatoes, which ripen sooner, are generally better tomatoes for arid climates. When choosing desert tomatoes, look for hints in the name of the plant, such as with Heat Master or Solar Fire. Not all have heat-related names, but many will let you know they are suitable for hot climates.
Referred to as “heat-set” or “hot-set” tomatoes, many common hybrids are available for hot regions, such as:
Other heat tolerant tomatoes include Equinox, Heat Master, Mariachi, and Rapsodie.
If you prefer heirloom varieties, there are many well suited to warmer climates. Among these are:
Eva Purple Ball
Even some of the heirlooms that are typically known to thrive in cooler temps can handle warmer temperatures, such as Stupice. A few of the cherry tomato varieties will also thrive in warmer temps. These include Lollipop and Yellow Pear.
In super-heated climates such as the Desert Southwest, look for tomato varieties that mature at 60-70 days. Start thinking about which varieties you want to grow in January since transplants can be set out as early as February 15. Good choices to grow in these ultra-warm climates are:
Cherry Sweet 100
Finding success when growing tomatoes in hot climates simply means finding varieties that are best suited to these extremes. And, of course, providing them with adequate care doesn’t hurt either.