Recommended Tomato Plants for South Texas
South Texas has two growing seasons. The spring season begins in January and the fall season begins in August. Because the growing periods are long and generally cool, many vegetables take a little longer to produce, but the quality is very good. The choice of tomato varieties to grow in South Texas is large because of the optimal tomato growing conditions in the region.
The Celebrity tomato is a popular tomato that is disease resistant and matures in 60 to 75 days. It produces a red globe tomato that is high quality. The plant is determinate, meaning that it does not grow into a large vine, so it can be grown successfully in containers or in rows without support. The fruit typically weighs around 7 ounces each. The Celebrity hybrid is appropriate for both the spring and fall garden.
- South Texas has two growing seasons.
- The plant is determinate, meaning that it does not grow into a large vine, so it can be grown successfully in containers or in rows without support.
The Better Boy hybrid produces large fruit for a globe type tomato. It grows into a large plant so staking or trellising is recommended. The red fruit can get large, as much as 1 pound each, and it produces over a long season as long as daytime temperatures remain below 90 degrees Fahrenheit. The typical date to maturity is 70 to 80 days, so it is appropriate for the spring or fall garden. The Better Boy hybrid is disease resistant.
The Beefmaster hybrid tomato is a popular beefsteak tomato that is highly disease resistant and produces very large fruit—up to 2 pounds each. Beefmaster requires a long growing season, which is typical in South Texas during the fall growing season. The Beefmaster hybrid produces fruit in about 80 days. It is an indeterminate or vining plant, so it needs to be staked or trellised to keep the large fruit from touching the ground, where it can easily rot.
- The Better Boy hybrid produces large fruit for a globe type tomato.
- The typical date to maturity is 70 to 80 days, so it is appropriate for the spring or fall garden.
The Brandywine tomato variety is considered one of the best tasting tomatoes available. It is an heirloom variety, meaning the seeds were passed down from earlier generations. The Brandywine tomato is not disease resistant so it should not be planted where tomatoes were planted for the previous three years, because some diseases can live in the soil for that long. It should be grown in the fall garden in South Texas because of the long time to maturity, 80 to 100 days, and started as early as July. The fruit averages 12 ounces and the flesh is pink to red. The plants are vining or indeterminate and need to be staked for support.
Jay Golberg is a certified Texas nursery professional and professional project manager. He has 30 years of business and farming experience and holds bachelor's degrees in English writing from St. Edward's University and finance from Lamar University.