Tropic Tomato Care – How To Grow Tomato ‘Tropic’ Plants


By: Teo Spengler

With all of the great tomato cultivars available today, you may not be familiar with the tomato Tropic, but it’s definitely worth a look. It’s a great choice for gardeners in hot, humid areas, like the mid-Atlantic area where the disease tomato blight is rampant. What is a Tropic tomato? It’s a disease-resistant variety that thrives in hot areas where other cultivars don’t. Read on for information about growing Tropic tomatoes and tips on Tropic tomato care.

What is a Tropic Tomato?

Although tomato plants require lots of daily direct sunshine to produce America’s favorite garden crop, many cultivars don’t appreciate very hot, humid weather. But the tomato ‘Tropic’ variety succeeds where others fail.

This tomato variety was developed by the University of Florida and its claim to fame is its ability to thrive in regions with “tropical” weather. When gardeners in hot, humid areas plant tomatoes, their hopes are often dashed by tomato blight, a fungal disease that strikes plants when the weather is hot and wet. The tomato ‘Tropic’ plant is exceptionally disease-resistant, and excellent for areas where blight is an issue.

Growing Tropic Tomatoes

If you are thinking of growing Tropic tomatoes, you’ll be happy to know that the fruit of this plant is beautiful and delicious. Mature fruit weighs in at .5 pounds (.23 grams) or more and has a rich, tomato taste.

This variety works well in almost any role, in your garden, your greenhouse or as a market tomato. The plant is indeterminate and rises to 5 feet (1.5 m.) tall. As fruit ripens, it turns a deep red with green shoulders. The tomatoes are round with thick walls and a great, sweet flavor.

Tropic Tomato Care

Given its disease resistance, Tropic tomato care requires no more effort than other tomato varieties. That means you must grow the plants in an area with at least 6 hours of direct sun and organically rich, well-draining soil.

Of course, irrigation is an important part of Tropic tomato care. Like all tomato plants, tomato Tropic requires regular water to produce juicy fruit.

You’ll want to plant these tomatoes in spring for a mid-to-late season crop. Count on a harvest in 80 to 85 days.

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The Growing Period of a Tomato in a Garden

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The growing period of a tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum var. esculentum) is affected by the size of the tomato plant and the tomato fruits. Smaller-fruited tomato plants tend to take less time to reach harvest, while larger tomatoes can take as much as twice as long to produce harvest. For an ongoing, productive harvest that lasts all summer, plant indeterminate varieties of cherry tomatoes as well as larger varieties.


Select an Appropriate Tomato Variety

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Henrik Sorensen / Getty Images

Cherry tomatoes are the best variety to grow in hot climates, as they have good resistance to heat and humidity. Heirloom tomatoes also can be a good choice, though they're slightly less hardy to the hot, humid climates. However, they should be fine if you live in a subtropical region. Heirlooms also are more prone to the tomato wilt and fungal diseases, so you must stay vigilant to ensure the foliage remains green and healthy. Certain varieties of tomato species have been bred to have good heat and humidity tolerance, so opt for one of those if you can.


Blossom Drop

High temperatures cause a range of problems in most types of hybrid and heirloom tomatoes, with blossom drop ranking chief among these disorders. Blossom drop usually occurs when daytime temps are above 85 degrees Fahrenheit and nighttime temperatures exceed 72 degrees. Unlike tomatoes for gardens in temperate climates, “Hawaiian Tropic” is able to set fruit even when daytime temperatures exceed 95 degrees -- even up to 110 degrees --and nighttime temperatures are above 75 degrees. Tomatoes with this type of heat resistance are usually known as “heat set” or “hot set” tomatoes, and many have been developed through state university research programs in Florida and Hawaii.


SERIES 28 - Episode 36

Tino shares his top tips on growing sweet, delicious toms!

Tomatoes are classified in 2 main growth types:

Determinant - 'Bush' type. These grow to about 50cm high and flower and fruit at the same time. Great for when tomatoes are being grown for sauces.

Indeterminant - Tall growing 'vine' type. These flower and fruit as the season progresses, meaning you can harvest as required, getting an extended cropping period.

TOP 5 PLANTING TIPS

#1 Soil Preparation

Soil conditioners like sheep manure and cow manure can be used, but Tino likes to use compost with a handful of blood and bone.

Spacing: 1 metre x 1 metre

Depth: Slightly deeper than existing soil level of seedling in pot.

1st: Approx 2 tablespoons at planting

2nd: Approx 2 tablespoons when fruit first emerges

3rd: Third of a handful when the plant is tall and laden with fruit.

Once a week - give your plants a long, slow, deep water.

  • Consistent water is the key.
  • Water the roots (tomatoes hate their leaves staying wet!)

Staking: Determinant or bush types don't need any training. Indeterminant or climbing types do.

Tino recommends staking at the time of planting (which avoids piercing the roots) using 3 to 4 stakes to surround the plant.

Pruning: Tino leaves the lateral stems on the plant when they are young. As the plant grows, he selects the three strongest laterals and ties them to the stakes and removes all the others (Tip: You can replant the laterals and water them in to grow additional plants).

Remove leaves that are in contact with the ground. This reduces pests and diseases accessing the plant and also promotes upward growth.

FEATURED TOMATOES

TOMATO 'TOMMY TOE Solanum lycopersicum cv.

BEEFSTEAK TOMATO Solanum lycopersicum cv.

As with all plants, it's important to make sure they're not going to become an environmental weed in your area. See Weeds in Australia for more information.


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