Best Tomatoes for Hot, Dry Climates:
Which Varieties to Grow in Desert-like Regions
What are the best tomatoes for hot, dry climates?
Desert-like areas present special challenges for the gardener, including drought, intense sun, wind, and sandy or clay soil.
But you can grow tomatoes successfully in hot, dry areas by using a few special techniques … and by choosing appropriate varieties.
Look for tomato varieties with these qualities:
- Short- to midseason maturity. Tomatoes that flower early (even when nighttime temperatures are cool) and reach the picking stage sooner than later can be harvested before the desert climate’s hottest season.
- Disease resistance. Early blight spreads easily in hot climates.
- Thick stems. Strong tomatoes can withstand wind and exposure that’s so common in hot, dry climates.
Check out these tomato varieties that have a reputation for growing well in desert-like conditions. (You can also share your ideas about what tomatoes to grow in hot, dry climates with other Tomato Dirt readers when you click on this page.)
(Resistance code definitions listed below)
Hybrid Tomatoes for Hot, Dry Climates
Hybrid, indeterminate, 80 days, deep red, beefsteak (16-32 ounces), resistance: VFNASt
Produces enormous yields of tomatoes weighing up to 2 pounds
Hybrid, determinate, 70 days, red, globe (8-12 ounces), resistance: VFFNTA
1984 All-America Selections Award Winner
Early Girl Tomato
Hybrid, indeterminate, 50-52 days, red, globe (8 ounces), resistance: VFF
Sweet 100 Tomato
Hybrid, indeterminate, 65 days, red, cherry (1/2 ounce)
High vitamin C content
Heirloom Tomatoes for Hot, Dry Climates
Arkansas Traveler Tomato
Heirloom, indeterminate, 90 days, pink, medium (6 ounces)
Originated in the Ozark Mountains
Brandywine OTV Tomato
Heirloom, indeterminate, 72 days, red, beefsteak (16 ounces)
Grows well in warm weather. A cross between Brandywine yellow and an unknown red variety. OTV stands for “off the vine.”
Burbank Slicing Tomato
Heirloom, determinate, 70 days, red, globe
Developed by Luther Burbank about 1915
Costoluto Genovese Tomato
Heirloom, indeterminate, 85 days, red, large
Originated in Italy. Likes heat. One of the best tomatoes for making juice.
Eva Purple Ball Tomato
Heirloom, indeterminate, 70 days, red/purple, globe (5 ounces), resistance: cracking
An 1800s variety from Germany’s Black Forest region. Grows well in heat.
Great White Beefsteak
Heirloom, indeterminate, 85 days, white, beefsteak (10 ounces), resistance: crack resistant, drought resistant, sun scald resistance
Heavy foliage helps protect fruit. Performs well in heat.
Marvel Striped Tomato
Heirloom, indeterminate, 95 days, bi-color, beefsteak (up to 2 pounds)
Originated in Oaxaca, Mexico. Performs well in heat
Purple Calabash Tomato
Heirloom, indeterminate, 90 days, purple/burgundy, ruffled (2-3 inches)
A true purple tomato. Performs well in heat. Believed to have originated in Mexico.
Heirloom, indeterminate, 80 days, red, globe (8 ounces), resistance: cracking, sunscald
Originated in Greece
Yellow Pear Tomato
Heirloom, indeterminate, 70-80 days, bright yellow, pear-shaped cherry (1 ½” round)
OP (Open-Pollinated) Tomato Varieties for Hot, Dry Climates
Homestead 24 Tomato
OP (open-pollinated), determinate, 80 days, red, globe (8 ounces), resistance: FA
Sets fruit even in very hot weather
Prize of the Trials Tomato
OP (open-pollinated), indeterminate, 80 days, orange, large cherry (2 ounces, apricot-size), resistance: cracking
Does well in dry, hot regions
Roma VF Tomato
OP (open-pollinated), determinate, 75 days, red, paste (3 inches), resistance: VF
Classic Italian paste tomato; popular in paste, sauce, ketchup, and canning
Porter or Porter Improved Tomato
OP (open-pollinated), indeterminate; 72-78 days; red or pink, plum, (4 ounces), resistance: VF
Developed by Porter & Son Seed Company for hot southern regions. Performs extremely well in high heat and low humidity. Excellent for canning and for making juice.
Read about more tomatoes for deserts
Disease Resistance Codes
V Verticillium Wilt
F Fusarium Wilt
FF Fusarium, races 1 and 2
FFF Fusarium, races 1, 2, and 3
T Tobacco Mosaic Virus
St Stemphylium (Gray Leaf Spot)
TSWV Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus
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