What Tomatoes will produce in 100+ heat

cc4digitalFebruary 17, 2010

I live in Southern California, Inland Empire. I planted tomatoes last year and was only able to produce tomatoes from Cherry or Yellow pear. Anything bigger just failed.

What varieties do you recommend or have had good result with in heats of 100+ days?

How often and how much water would you recommend?

Thanks for you time


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austinnhanasmom(5 CO)

Last year I tried a few new things and although we had a mild summer, no 100 degree days, my plants never seemed to know what the above ground temp was.

Of course, I need 100 degree days to test this but here's what I did:

I started my plants super early - way too early (mid Jan) so they were quite tall. These I planted deeply. The plants were at least a foot tall and I planted so just the top few leaves were above ground. The leaves below ground were snipped off.

One plant was about 3' tall and this one I trenched and planted deeply.

I had two rows of tomatoes and between the rows, I layed black plastic. Around the stems, I mulched heavily with straw. Each time I mowed, I collected some of the clippings and tossed the grass on the straw.

I use a dripline system to water and it seemed like I rarely needed to water. The mulch helped to retain a great deal of water.

In the past, my plants would stop, or slow, producing when the heat set in, but in 2009, the plants were not fazed by the temps.

My best producers last year were of course the cherries but also Nyagous, Amazon Chocolate, Giant Belgium, Earl's Faux, Jersey Giant and Paul Robeson.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 9:07AM
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The only plants I know that produce when its over 100 are those in my dreams. :-) Seriously, reading here and elsewhere, I've seen that pollination won't happen when it is too hot and/or too humid. The plant can survive it and bring to a delicious finish whatever has set, but I wouldn't expect much, if anything, to start under those conditions. Now, if you are lucky enough to have very low humidity and night temperatures that drop to say 70, you may have some options, and if that's you, you might search for the Arizona tomato growers methods/selections. In Dallas, once its hot, it stays hot, night and day and the humidity ranges from high to stifling. So for us, we have to plant out early and get the most fruit set possible and enjoy while they last.

One last thought, sun shade cloth, 50% sun block, lowers the temp. in the shaded area by several degrees. Using it has extended the time period I'm able to get fruit set.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:06AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

cc4digital - when did you plant them last year? Earliest possible plant out time is needed in your area in order to get fruit set before the heat arrives. And it is MUCH earlier than you might think. ;)

You might check over on the California Gardening forum for the plant out date for your specific area.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:27AM
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I had Roma and Matt's Wild Cherry growing in Phoenix ... they did fine with setting fruit until the temps got over 105 and stayed there.

1 - They were heavily mulched.
2 - They got afternoon shade.

We have very active native bees that are "buzz pollinators" that may compensate for the inability of the fruits to self-pollinate at higher temperatures.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:27AM
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It must be spring! Our first question about hot weather varieties.

The myth of "tomatoes won't produce about 90 degrees" comes up yearly, and has been discussed often. I believe it's more of a factor of humidity and variety than heat. Now those of you east of the Rockies may believe that heat and humidity are the same thing, but they are not. I get tomatoes all summer long from several of my varieties, but although we get temps above 105 in summer, we do not have the humidity.

Below is last year's discussion, with recommended varieties to try in blazing temps.

Carla in Sac

Here is a link that might be useful: Hot weather tomatoes

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 1:32PM
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My mom grew tomatoes in Hemet near Paln Springs in the Calif desert for years - there are a few varieties that do set fruit at higher temps but she covered with green nursey shade and misted - they were fine -
There are a couple of keys and that is try to plant your plants so blossums are present before the heat and set tomatoes and plant later group so the "real" heat is past when blossums are ready to set - also sometimes a plant would shut down for awhile but start setting fruit when the temps were correct again

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 6:00PM
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jean001(z8aPortland, OR)

Gardeners avoid high temps in a number of ways, one of which is changing the planting date.

Call your Univ of CA Extension Service office in your county. They have Master Gardeners who can help you avoid problems with reliable planting info and likely names of suitable tomatoes.

To find that info, use this clickable map to locate your county's Extension Service office.

Here is a link that might be useful: click to locate your county's university Extension Service office

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 7:59PM
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While I can't say about California, but here in SE Texas we get HEAT in the summer. It literally burns the plants until they shrivel up.

From experience getting them to set fruit is only part of your battle. After the plants set fruit if the plant is under stress it will make the fruit odd shaped and the fruit will taste very weird.

That being said I have many varieties I am growing this year but one that I may try next year is sold at Tomato Growers dot com... its called the Homestead 24F.

It looks and sounds right, I am not sure about taste...but for sure you can't screw up and tomato any worse than what you buy in the store. When you are at rock bottom there is no where else to go but up.

I grew some of my plants on the east wall of a big barn. They got full morning sun but were shaded from maybe 3pm on. Those plants out produced the others out in the open by 2 to 1.

I would also recommend using shade cloth.

All of those things combined will help you have success when the weather is really hot.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2010 at 10:18PM
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Some Thoughts:

==Plant them in partly shade, if possible.
==Mulch them real good, to prevent soil from getting too warm.
==Water them very late at night or very early morning, sprayin the ground aound the stem.(This is just during scorching temperatures, not all thetime)
==Keep the plant size smaller, so the roots can cope providing water and nutrients.

==Plant them closely, such that the tops shade the ground.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2010 at 1:05AM
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Sunmaster worked well for me here in Texas. They set fruit through July. Then picked up again in September.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 12:56PM
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anney(Georgia 8)


While I normally would not link to a Google search, this one ("heat tolerant tomatoes") has quite a number of interesting sites at the beginning of the list. It appears that many Southern state universities are researching this very question to help growers in their areas.

This information, coupled with those varieties that GW growers have found thrive in hot conditions might give you a leg up!

Here is a link that might be useful: Google Search -- Heat tolerant tomatoes

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 5:03PM
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azruss(8b Tucson)

Love this annual thread. I have no reason to doubt what Carla reports from Sacramento. Days there can be scorching hot in summer. However, night temps in Sacramento are considerably cooler than in the CA and AZ deserts, and often are 70 or below. I think this might help explain her success with more heat tolerant tomato varieties. ALL of my varieties shut down production by mid July. I did get some summer pollination on two determinate plants (ostensibly from bees swarming nearby basil bushes), but the fruit were small, tough and dry. I'd probably have a better success rate with shade cloth (e.g. Aluminet 40%), but shade cloth can't help you when nighttime temps are consistently 85/90+ degrees.

I think it has been stated here that your best option is to plant early (mine went out on February 5) in order to have a full fruit set by May. You can and should plant more densely so all the foliage will create a somewhat cooler environment. Enjoy your harvest and accept that you probably won't have much more until October. After my 2010 late spring/early summer harvest, I'll cut my plants back to 2' or less. I'll try to keep them alive/regrow them through the summer heat so they'll be flowering by early October.

If you have the time, space and finances to install and run a misting system, things might turn out better. I'd like to hear from you if you do it.

Varieties? Plant out whatever you want, in my opinion. If you are in a CA or AZ desert, the production shut down is inevitable, plus or minus two weeks or so.

Oh, and forget what you might read here and there about an extremely desert-friendly, heat tolerant hybrid known as "Hawaiian Tropic." It didn't do any better than anything else, and the tomatoes tasted like winter-store-bought anyway.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2010 at 5:06PM
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I didn't have anything really shut down last year. We get teps of about 100-105 on and off for about 3-4 months out of the year here. I had a lot of bee activity and did shake and flick the blossoms to move the pollen around. I got a lot of blossom drop early on on the cherokee purple plants, but everything else continued to set fruit. There was less fruit, but still enough for our family from about 9 plants.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 12:11PM
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Oh yes, the desert is a whole 'nother kettle of fish! Maybe we should change the mantra to "tomatoes stop producing when NIGHTTIME temps stay above 90" instead of "tomatoes won't set fruit when temps hit 90". I have many times driven to my grandfather's house in the Coachella Valley in July, and when I arrive at midnight it's still 94 degrees. Few if any tomatoes will produce then! But the original poster is from Riverside, and I think the nights cool down enough there to keep getting tomatoes in July.

And again, if you are looking for the VARIETY list of the best heat tomatoes, click on my above link.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 2:08PM
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cc4digital, send me an e-mail. I have a little known open pollinated variety that you should try. Only can spare a few seeds but would love to know if it produces in your situation. It is supposed to.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2010 at 2:48PM
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heres what i do and i get good results / plant where u get morning sun and late afternoon or evening shade / the morning sun drys up the dew and the evening shade helps to keep them from burning up / and mulch good / i set fruit all summer and well into the fall / i do my peppers this way too

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 3:56PM
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queenofthemountain - SoCal 9b

I am also in SoCal. After a 2-month tomato shutdown last summer, I did a lot of research to find some tomatoes that might keep going through the hottest weather. I have no personal experience with these yet, but this is the list I made of varieties that are purportedly heat tolerant that I want to try.

Arkansas Traveler
Hazelfield Farm
Illinois Beauty

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 10:51PM
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I have no idea what I am talking about, so take with big ol' grains of salt and feel free to correct me.

Siletz, Legend, Oregon spring are parthenocarpic. No pollinization required for fruit set.
Designed for cool weather growers. Maybe it will work for warm weather too. I'd love to find out.

Generally speaking, people have a low to medium opinion of the taste of these earlies. My parents loved them.
Maybe they just taste better under PNW conditions.

The legends they grew were massively productive for their size.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 11:25PM
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You may have no idea what you are talking about, but I completely agree with your theory! My experience is that the earlies as a group also do really well in the heat, and they set all summer long. However, I found Siletz and Oregon Spring to be kinda blech. (Legend I haven't grown) Much better-tasting earlies for the heat are Jetsetter, Stupice, Kimberly and Early Swedish IPB.

And Queen, I have never heard of Hazelfield Farm or
Illinois Beauty--where are you getting them from? And I have tried both Sioux and Super Sioux, and was very disappointed with their taste. Traveler, however, is excellent, and Burgundy Traveler is even better.

Carla in Sac

    Bookmark   March 26, 2010 at 12:48AM
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