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LYCOPERSICON esculentum 'Fireball'

Image of Lycopersicon esculentum 'Fireball'

Jesse Saylor

Family

Solanaceae

Botanical Name

LYCOPERSICON esculentum 'Fireball'

Plant Common Name

Fireball Tomato, Tomato

General Description

The small, round, heirloom plum tomato ‘Fireball’ is a high-yielding, semi-determinate type with full-flavored red fruits. This older variety was first introduced in 1952 by the Joseph Harris Seed Company of Rochester, New York. Fruits are produced around 65 days after planting from seedlings and are ideal for fresh eating, canning or sauce.

The garden tomato is a short-lived tender perennial vine that is grown as an annual crop. Its compound leaves are medium green, hairy and have a strong fragrance. Mature vines produce star-shaped yellow flowers in clusters along the branches. Most modern types are self-fertile.

Tomato plants have two growth types, determinant and indeterminate. Determinant tomatoes have short bushy habits, do not vine, and set fruit over a four to six week period. In contrast, indeterminate vines grow very large and produce a large crop of fruit over a longer period. They produce more fruit than determinant types but require staking, trellising or cages and more general maintenance. There are also semi-determinate types that are vining to a point without growing too large; these are also good fruit producers.

Tomatoes require full sun and perfectly drained, slightly acid garden loam. The vines root along the stems and should be planted deep for better establishment. They are cold sensitive, so plant after the danger of frost has past. Production and fruit flavor are best when both nights and days are warm. The fruits themselves are cold sensitive and become tough and less flavorful under cool temperatures, so refrain from storing them in the refrigerator if you can. In subtropical locations, tomatoes can be grown as a winter crop—if temperatures remain warm enough.

These veggies are heavy feeders, so it is important to feed and water them regularly for best growth and production. Be sure to choose a fertilizer specifically formulated for tomatoes, and avoid over-watering because too much water can reduce flavor and cause cracking.

Tomatoes are susceptible to a wide range of pests and other problems. There are hundreds of varieties available, many of which are resistant. The following code indicates resistance tomatoes have to a specific pests and diseases:

  • V=Verticillium wilt resistance
  • F or FF= Fusarium wilt (Fusarium oxysporum) resistance. “F” stands for Race 1 and “FF” Race 2.
  • N=Nematode resistance, usually root-knot nematodes
  • A=Stem canker (Alternaria alternate) resistance
  • T=Tobacco Mosaic Virus resistance
  • TSWV=Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus resistance
  • St or G=Gray leaf spot disease (Stemphylium) resistance
  • BSp=Bacterial Speck disease resistance
Another really common problem is blossom end rot, a fruit defect caused by calcium deficiency. Fruits with end rot have a sunken, rounded black patch at the base. Even moisture and fertilization will control this problem.

There is nothing like a fresh garden grown tomato and ‘Fireball’ is a good producer with a manageable habit and delicious fruit.

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

    3'-4' / 0.9m - 1.2m

  • Width

    2'-3' / 0.6m - 0.9m

  • 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, Dark Red

  • 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

    Semi-Evergreen

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Container, Edible, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes