- 1 5 Best Heirloom Tomato Seeds
- 1.1 1. Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato Seeds – Top Pick
- 1.2 2. Mortgage Lifter Tomato Seeds, Heirloom Variety – Best Budget
- 1.3 3. Pink Brandywine Heirloom Tomato Seeds – Best Tasting
- 1.4 4. Heirloom Tomato Seeds Assortment – Best Variety
- 1.5 5.Beefsteak Tomato Seed – Best Slicing Tomato
- 2 Buyer’s Guide
- 3 Final Thoughts
- 4 FAQ
There are few things that hit as well as a tomato straight off the vine in the summertime. But when you’re trying to grow tomatoes, there are regular tomatoes, and then there are Heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are delicious and nutritious, but that doesn’t mean they’re all created equal.
That’s why we took the time to track down the five best Heirloom tomato seed packs out there. You don’t want to waste an entire year growing tomatoes that might not taste good at all, so save yourself the frustration and get one of these varieties.
But we didn’t just highlight the best seed packets out there, we also came up with a comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything you need to know, and answered some of the most frequently asked questions about Heirloom tomatoes as well.
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5 Best Heirloom Tomato Seeds
1. Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato Seeds – Top Pick
Number of Seeds: 75
Variety: Cherokee Purple
USDA Hardiness Zone: 7
If you’re looking for heirloom tomatoes that are easy to grow, taste great, and last a long time, then the Cherokee Purple Heirloom Tomato is just what you’ve been looking for. These tomatoes have fantastic yields, and at an 85 percent average germination rate you won’t be wasting money on seeds that won’t grow.
Moreover, most people view the Cherokee Purple Heirloom as one of the best-tasting tomato varieties out there, second only to the Brandywine variety.
But compared to the Brandywine, the Cherokee Purple Heirloom lasts much longer off the vine, so if you’re not scarfing down tomatoes as soon as you pick them, then this might be the better choice.
- Great taste
- Longer lasting
- Outstanding yields
- Fantastic germination rate (85%)
- Slightly more expensive
2. Mortgage Lifter Tomato Seeds, Heirloom Variety – Best Budget
Number of Seeds: 75
Variety: Mortgage Lifter
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5
If you’re looking for the best bang for your buck then the Mortgage Lifter Tomato is exactly what you’ve been looking for – and it’s not even close. Not only are the seeds extremely affordable, but they grow into the largest tomatoes out there.
The average tomato size of a Mortgage Lifter tomato is over 2-pounds, but some of the largest Mortgage Lifter tomatoes out there are over 4-pounds! So, not only are you getting affordable seeds, but you’re also getting massive tomatoes!
They’re easy to grow too, and even have a wide growing zone. However, while they come advertised with a 90% germination rate, our experience is that they have an even lower rate than that. Still, considering the low cost of these seeds you’re getting a great deal, even with the slightly lower germination rate.
- Very affordable
- Very large tomatoes (up to 4 pounds!)
- Easy to grow
- Wide growing zones
- Don’t always have the best germination rates
3. Pink Brandywine Heirloom Tomato Seeds – Best Tasting
Number of Seeds: 75
Variety: Pink Brandywine
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5
Arguably the most delicious tomatoes on the face of the planet are the Brandywine Heirloom tomatoes. Not only do they taste great, but they can reach up to 1.5-pounds in size, so you’re getting a larger tomato variety as well.
Moreover, the seeds are extremely affordable, easy to grow, and have an outstanding germination rate. With all these perks, you might be wondering why they’re not our top choice.
The reason is pretty simple, they don’t last long at all once you pull them off the vine. Unless you’re gobbling up tomatoes every day, chances are you’ll never get the opportunity to use most of the tomatoes you harvest.
But if you are eating tomatoes all the time or are looking for an excellent canning variety, then the Pink Brandywine Heirloom Tomato is the best choice out there.
- Tastes great
- Decent size (up to 1.5 pounds)
- Very affordable
- Good germination rate
- Easy to grow
- Tomatoes don’t last long
4. Heirloom Tomato Seeds Assortment – Best Variety
Number of Seeds: 240
Variety: Brandywine, Roma, Green Zebra, Yellow Brandywine, Three Sisters, Yellow Pear, Valencia, and Principe Borghese
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5 to 7
If you don’t quite know which variety of heirloom tomatoes you want, or when you want an assortment of tomatoes, then this is what you’re looking for. It comes with eight different tomato varieties, which gives you the chance to try a wide array of options.
Not only does it give you tons of varieties, but there are also tons of seeds included from each variety. And while it might be more expensive than our other choices, you also get more than three times the number of seeds, and they’re all completely organic.
Furthermore, they’re the only seeds that we included here that come with a money-back guarantee. If these seeds don’t germinate then you have sixty days to get your money back. But considering their high germination rates, that’s not something you should have to worry about.
- Lots of tomato options
- Tons of seeds
- USDA organic
- Money-back guarantee
- Not the most affordable
5.Beefsteak Tomato Seed – Best Slicing Tomato
Number of Seeds: 45
Variety: Beefsteak Tomato
USDA Hardiness Zone: 5
While there are plenty of tomato options out there if you’re looking for the best slicing tomato, then it’s hard to beat this Beefsteak tomato from Sow Right Seeds. They’re extremely easy to grow, and they’re all GMO-free.
Each tomato grows up to six inches in diameter, which is the perfect size for slicing. Whether you’re looking for a tomato variety to add to the top of your burger, or for something you can eat straight off the vine, this is an outstanding choice.
However, these seeds are a bit more expensive for the number of seeds you get, and they don’t have the best germination rate either. Still, even if just a few of these plants take off you’ll get more than enough tomatoes for you and your family.
- Grows larger tomatoes (up to 6″)
- Easy to grow
- Tastes great
- More expensive for what you get
- Not the best germination rate
If you still have a few questions about Heirloom tomatoes after reading through the reviews then don’t worry, you’re not alone. That’s why we came up with this comprehensive buyer’s guide to walk you through everything you need to know to get the right tomato seeds the first time.
A Note On Hardiness Zones
While we’ve highlighted the ideal hardiness zone for each Heirloom tomato seed above, that doesn’t mean you need to be in that hardiness zone to grow those tomatoes. Realistically any hardiness zone between two and eleven will work (which covers all of the continental United States).
However, the farther away you are from the tomato’s ideal hardiness zone, the shorter the growing season you’re going to have. Keep in mind that tomatoes do great in tons of sunlight, so if you live in a cooler region, then you need to maximize the amount of sunlight they get.
And on the flip side, if you live in one of the hotter zones, then you might need to up the amount you water your plants to keep your plants going during the hottest months of the year.
What is an Heirloom Tomato?
While we’ve dedicated this guide to Heirloom tomatoes, up to this point we haven’t really broken down what makes an Heirloom tomato special, or why you want to grow them in the first place.
In short, an Heirloom tomato is any tomato variety that no one has crossbred over the last 40 years. In this way, they’re a “purebred” tomato. While this might not seem like a big deal, there are two advantages to Heirloom tomatoes.
First, they simply taste better than hybrid tomato varieties. That might sound a bit objective, but once you’ve tried an Heirloom tomato you’ll understand exactly where we’re coming from.
Second, if you’re trying to regrow tomatoes year after year, then Heirloom tomatoes offer a distinct advantage. You can simply grab some of the seeds that come off the tomatoes from the year before and replant them.
Because these are purebred tomato varieties you know that the seeds will produce the exact same variety as the year before. When you’re growing a hybrid tomato variety though, the seeds won’t grow anything near the same tomato variety as before.
But if Heirloom tomatoes are easier to grow and taste better, then why do hybrid tomatoes exist in the first place? The reason is that hybrid tomatoes last longer than Heirloom tomatoes. Once you pick an Heirloom tomato, they typically only last a few days before going bad, which is a big deal for grocery stores.
They need fresh fruit to make a profit, and Heirloom tomatoes don’t last long enough to stay profitable. So, in short, grocery stores have sacrificed taste in favor of longevity. While that might make sense for the grocery store, when you want the best-tasting fruit then Heirloom tomatoes are the way to go.
When you’re growing Heirloom tomatoes from seeds, there are a few tips and tricks you should follow to get the best possible results. Below we’ve highlighted some of the most beneficial ways to get bountiful yields out of your Heirloom tomatoes.
Start Them Inside
When you’re growing from seed, you need to start the process indoors to maximize your yield and get the best possible results. For most varieties, this means planting the seeds and starting the germination process anywhere from ten to twelve weeks before you’re ready to move them outside.
Keep in mind that you want to move them outside after the last frost of the season, so this plays a large part on when you should start the seeds.
This is also why you need to start them inside. Because if you plant them outside and a frost comes, you’ll kill the plants and won’t get the results you want at all. But if you wait to start the plants until after the last frost comes, then the first frost of fall/winter will come before your tomatoes will give you a full yield.
So take your time and start them indoors.
Pick the Perfect Spot
While you have your plants growing indoors, it’s time to look out in your garden and find the perfect spot for your tomatoes. Tomatoes need lots of sunlight, so try to find the brightest spot in your garden. Also, keep in mind that they reach tall heights, so any plants that go behind them might not get the light they need.
Try to envision your garden once everything is in full bloom to ensure you have enough space for each plant and everything will get the nutrients they need to thrive.
Water, Water, Water
Tomatoes are warm-weather plants, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need a ton of water. If you think about it, tomatoes are about 95% water, so it’s the most important nutrient to give them healthy fruits.
Ensure your tomato plants get enough water every day, and that you water them early on in the day to prevent rot and fungal infections from taking root.
The average tomato plant will reach six feet in height, so if you don’t take the time to trellis them then they’ll quickly grow all over the place and become a mess. Not only does this make it more challenging to harvest the fruit, but it will actually lead to less bountiful yields.
Properly trellising your plants can easily double or triple your yield, so don’t skip this super important step.
Don’t Be Afraid to Prune
While you certainly don’t need to prune tomato plants for them to grow, if you want more bountiful yields then pruning is an essential skill.
While we could come up with an entire guide to walk you through how to prune your tomato plant, the most important thing to know is that you need to prune off “suckers” that start to emerge later in the season. These suckers grow near the bottom of the main stem, and left unchecked they’ll grow their own fruit.
But if you’re later in the season, then the energy they’re diverting away from the other plants isn’t worth the yield. By pruning these late-blooming suckers you’ll get larger fruit on the ones that do grow, and you’ll get more fruit overall on the existing vines.
One of the perks of having your own vegetable garden is that you get fresh fruits and veggies. But another huge perk is the fact that there are more varieties to choose from that you can’t find at the store.
That’s where Heirloom tomatoes come into play, and once you taste them for the first time they will be the only types of tomatoes you’ll grow in your garden from then on!
There are plenty of questions still out there about Heirloom tomatoes. We understand, and that’s why we decided to clear up some of the confusion by answering some of the most frequently asked questions here.
What Is So Special About Heirloom Tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes have two distinct advantages over typical hybrid tomato varieties. First, they simply taste better. Second, you can save the seeds to regrow more of the same tomatoes next year. This is a huge advantage over hybrid varieties, where you will need to repurchase seeds every year.
What Is an Heirloom Tomato and How Is It Different From Regular Tomatoes?
Heirloom tomatoes are any tomato variety that nobody has crossbred for at least 40 years. This means they’re a “true” tomato breed variety, and this means you can collect the seeds and simply replant them again next year.
This is different from most grocery store tomato varieties that are hybrid tomatoes. You can’t replant hybrid tomato seeds and get consistent results.
How Long Are Heirloom Tomatoes Good For?
One of the advantages of hybrid tomato breeds is that they last longer. Heirloom tomatoes, on the other hand, typically spoil after just a day or two. This is a major disadvantage to Heirloom tomatoes, even if they taste better.
Are Heirloom Tomatoes Easy To Grow?
Compared to other plants, Heirloom tomatoes are pretty easy to grow. They tolerate a wide array of temperatures and light conditions, and they are a higher-yield fruit compared to most other plants in your garden.
What Is the Most Disease Resistant Heirloom Tomatoes?
Some of the most disease-resistant heirloom tomatoes include Juliet tomatoes, Manalucie tomatoes, Manuel tomatoes, and Mountain Supreme tomatoes. While these are some of the most disease-resistant Heirloom tomatoes, other varieties exist that also resist a wide array of diseases as well.