Heat tolerant tomatoes: Growing tomatoes in hot weather

Typically, we plant tomatoes in the springtime once the cool weather has passed and before the hot weather arrives.  And typically we get lots of tomatoes as this is the best time of year to plant.

Most springtime type tomatoes do not produce pollen until night time temperatures reach about 55°.  The plants will grow, blossoms come out, but no pollen until the night time temperature warms up.  Once Daytime temperatures reach about 85°and higher the tomato plants that we plant in the springtime typically stop producing pollen.  It’s simply too hot and the tomato plant goes into survival mode until the hot weather cools back down. 

Heat Tolerant tomatoes.  If you want to plant tomatoes during hot weather months try some of those labeled “Heat Tolerant”. These plant varieties can tolerate the heat and produce pollen and tomatoes when the temperature is above 85 degrees.

Heat tolerant tomatoes will have names like Solar Fire, Phoenix, Heat Master, Summer Set, etc.  They are for the most part determinant which means they grow like a bush.  Probably my favorite would be the Phoenix although all of those named will be good producers. Google these Heat Tolerant names and read a little about each.

There are also other tomatoes that will tolerate hot weather and still produce tomatoes.  For example Sun Gold Cherry tomatoes, San Diego, and Better Boy also tolerate heat and do pretty well. Realize when hot weather is consistently over 105/110 degrees/and higher, even the heat tolerant tomatoes will also struggle.

Generally speaking, plant these heat tolerant type tomatoes in May, June, July, August. When you know hot weather consistently above like 85 degrees is in the forecast almost daily. Plant these Heat Tolerant in August when it is hot and these tomatoes should take you until cold weather comes along.  Once nighttime temperatures get below about 50° the plant typically will no longer produce pollen which means no more tomatoes and the cold weather will eventually take it out.  Planting next to a brick wall, stucco wall, something that absorbs heat all day can radiate that heat back out at night fooling the tomato into thinking it’s plenty warm to keep producing pollen and tomatoes right through the winter. 

A very keynote on growing tomatoes especially during periods of hot weather is to make sure you use a potting mix that contains 30% maybe 40% even 50% sphagnum peat moss or peat moss.  1 pound of sphagnum peat moss can hold 20 – 25 pounds of water.  Yes, holds water like a sponge surrounding your roots. Exactly what you want. Read the potting mix ingredients label. #1 ingredient should be peat moss or sphagnum peat moss.  In this website you will see headings and subjects on soils and potting soils –click them on to see specific potting soil recommendations.

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