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LYCOPERSICON esculentum 'Brandywine'

Image of Lycopersicon esculentum 'Brandywine'

Gerald L. Klingaman

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

LYCOPERSICON esculentum 'Brandywine'

Plant Common Name

Brandywine Tomato, Tomato

General Description

The large, meaty, deep pink fruits of this old heirloom are considered by many to be among the best tasting tomatoes available. First appearing in seed catalogs in the late 19th century, ‘Brandywine’ survived the decades via saved seed passed down through generations of home gardeners. It became commercially available again in the 1980’s, after Ohio gardener Ben Quisenberry gave seeds of the tomato to Seed Savers Exchange, an organization dedicated to the preservation of heirloom plants. Mr. Quisenberry had received the seeds from a Tennessee woman named Doris Sudduth Hill, who claimed that the variety had been grown by her family for over 80 years.

Because seeds of this tomato have been so widely saved and shared, many variations exist. The true ‘Brandywine’ is very large and somewhat flattened, with smooth, red-pink skin and a luscious, rich, intense flavor. Ideal for slicing, these tomatoes are delicious eaten alone or cut into thick slabs on sandwiches. They are borne on indeterminate vines approximately 80 days from germination.

Plant tomatoes in full sun and fertile, well-drained, slightly acid garden loam after all danger of frost has passed. Seedlings may be started indoors under grow-lights several weeks ahead of time, and should be hardened off before planting outdoors. Set them deeply in the ground for best establishment; the main stem will form roots beneath the soil’s surface. Indeterminate types such as this should be staked, trellised or grown in tomato cages to contain their rambling stems.

These veggies (technically, fruits) are heavy feeders, and it is important to provide them with regular water and nutrients. Be sure to choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for tomatoes, and avoid excessive watering as this can result in cracking of fruit and diminished flavor. Best production and flavor occurs when both days and nights are warm. Tomatoes become tough and less flavorful in cooler temperatures, and thus should not be stored in the refrigerator. In semi-tropical climates, they may even be grown as a winter crop, as long as temperatures remain favorable.

For more detailed information about the care, pests and diseases, and history of tomatoes, refer to the general entry for the species (Lycopersicon esculentum) in the Learn2Grow plant database.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    11 - 15

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    2'-8' / 0.6m - 2.4m

  • Width

    2'-4' / 0.6m - 1.2m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Mexico, Central America, South America

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Vining/Climbing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Red, Pink

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Winter)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Medium

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes