The way to Plant, Develop, and Look after ‘Brandywine’ Tomatoes

Brandywine tomatoes are the quintessential summer-slicing heirloom tomato. These are the large beauties we envision in relation to basic, old school tomato varieties beloved within the backyard and the kitchen, from tomato sandwiches to Caprese salads and topping burgers proper off the grill. 

These are the best-known heirloom vegetable for good motive. The hefty fruits are giant and meaty in crimson, pink, yellow, and orange shades. They function distinctive, flavor-rich, candy, and barely spicy fruits – attribute of the range and a gold customary for different tomatoes.

Right here, we’ll discover how (and why) to develop heirloom ‘Brandywine’ in our personal gardens. By summer season’s finish, we will slice into a few of the most flavorful tomatoes grown as we speak. 


A close-up of ripe 'Brandywine' tomatoes, showcasing their rich brown hues and smooth, glossy surfaces.
The ‘Brandywine’ tomato is an annual vegetable belonging to the Solanaceae household.

Plant Sort

Annual vegetable

Native Space

Central America, South America


Vines as much as 6’ lengthy

Watering Necessities


Pests and Illnesses

Aphids, hornworms, leaf spot, blight, mosaic virus

What are Brandywine Tomatoes?

A wicker basket holds several 'Brandywine', showcasing their vivid colors from brown to orange.
Heirloom greens are conventional, open-pollinated crops handed down for his or her historic significance.

A backyard favourite for over 100 years, this heirloom tomato selection is prized for its giant, flavorful fruits. ‘Brandywine’ generates lore and a little bit of thriller surrounding its historical past, from Amish origins to a number of strains by the identical identify. That’s the enjoyable of heirlooms – tracing tales and generational gardening data.

Heirloom greens characterize our heritage crops, cultural foodways, and choices preserved for distinctive taste and rising qualities. The time period “heirloom” varies in relation to greens. Heirloom can imply crops grown earlier than 1951, when the primary hybrids turned commercially out there, or vintage varieties handed down from era to era for preservation. Heirloom greens are open-pollinated (not hybrids) and are available true from seed. Seeds are saved from season to season for the subsequent planting.

The seed firm Johnson and Stokes launched the unique ‘Brandywine’ tomato (often known as ‘Purple Brandywine’) of their 1889 catalog after receiving seeds from a buyer in Ohio. The old school tomato will get its identify from Brandywine Creek in Chester County, Pennsylvania.

In 1982, this selection surged in reputation amongst heirloom varieties when Seed Savers Change obtained seeds from an Ohio household. Since its introduction, a number of strains have grow to be out there for the up to date backyard. ‘Pink Brandywine’ is a historic grower initially from the backyard of Dorris Sudduth Hill, whose household grew it for over 100 years.

There’s one thing particular about rising longstanding varieties handed alongside from era to era for his or her taste, development, and efficiency qualities. Whereas these tender beefsteak-types is probably not within the grocery retailer, they’re farmer’s market favorites. Rising them in our personal gardens invitations slightly meals manner historical past and tradition into each juicy chew and preserves the integrity of the heirloom’s traits.


A pair of hands cradle a large, ripe 'Brandywine' fruit; its red skin glowing under the warm sunlight.
These tomatoes require help because of their upright development with bushy stems.

‘Brandywine’ produces 10 to 30 ounce fruits on productive crops. The fruits are dense and “meaty.” Some yield fruits as much as two kilos—that’s quite a lot of tomato! As an indeterminate plant, The vines attain six toes lengthy or extra. Indeterminate tomato crops develop and produce fruit all season till frost.

‘Brandywine’ produces fruit late within the season, about 76 to 100 days after crops go into the bottom. That is practically 30 days later than many different tomato varieties. It takes time to develop such giant, luscious fruits. Develop it with completely different tomato varieties like cherry and roma for fruits all through the season. 

‘Brandywine’ crops have an upright development behavior that advantages from staking, caging, or trellising. Their stems and leaves are bushy, and their scent is definitely recognizable as that of a tomato plant. The deeply lobed, coarse leaves resemble these of a potato plant. Clusters of yellow flowers result in fruits after pollination, and ‘Brandywine’ produces one to 2 fruits per cluster.

Tomatoes are within the Solanaceae, or nightshade, household, which incorporates eggplant, tomatillos, potatoes, and peppers.

Native Space

A ripe 'Brandywine' fruit hangs from the vine; its vibrant red hue contrasting with blurred green foliage in the background.
Tomatoes turned extensively cultivated for culinary use within the 18th century.

All tomatoes originate from wild ancestors in Central and South America, and their rising vary follows the coastlines under the Andes Mountains. Indigenous cultures utilized and grew them for hundreds of years, spreading the crop from Ecuador to Chile. 

Spanish colonists returned with tomatoes to Europe. Within the sixteenth century, they turned integrated into European delicacies however have been feared as poisonous as nightshades. It was within the 18th century that tomatoes turned extra extensively cultivated and used for culinary functions.

They’re tender perennials in areas the place they’re hardy (USDA zones 10 and 11) and develop as warm-season annuals in every single place else.


A young 'Brandywine' plant with lush green leaves, thriving in rich, dark soil.
Rotate tomato crops yearly to forestall illness transmission.

You’ll be able to develop ‘Brandywine’ simply from seed or buy them in cell packs and nursery pots prepared for planting proper within the floor. They’re frost-sensitive crops, requiring heat air and soil temperature for finest development. Whether or not seedlings or sturdy nursery-grown crops, they’re prepared to maneuver open air after the final anticipated frost has handed and as nighttime temperatures are above 55°F (13°C), with crops taking off within the warmth of summer season. 

In-ground tomatoes profit from annual crop rotations. Avoiding planting the place different nightshades grew in the identical 12 months helps stave off transmittable illnesses. So, don’t plant your new crops in a plot the place you’ve grown tomatoes, potatoes, peppers, or eggplants within the final 12 months.

House crops three to 4 toes aside. If planting in rows, house rows three to 4 toes aside to present the vining stems loads of rising room and circulation. Plant them deep—burying stems as much as the primary leaf node (and even pinching these leaves and burying the node) encourages extra roots to develop. Crops with strong root techniques are extra steady and have larger nutrient uptake. 

Indeterminate tomatoes want help constructions for finest development. These embody stakes, cages, or trellises. Lengthy-vining crops like ‘Brandywine’ can develop on a fence, round a pole, or on an arch if given help and air circulation and tied off as stems develop all through the season.

‘Brandywine’ additionally grows in containers as lengthy the pot is giant sufficient to accommodate mature crops with loads of soil quantity for a sturdy root system. A 20-gallon pot provides giant, indeterminate varieties ample room to develop. If ranging from seed, direct sow seeds of their rising container one to 2 weeks after the final frost. Skinny seedlings as they sprout.


Seedlings grow in clear plastic planters, basking in the warm sunlight.
Progressively expose younger crops to out of doors situations over 7 to 10 days.

As frost passes and temperatures heat, harden off younger tomato crops by step by step exposing them to out of doors backyard situations. Over per week to 10 days, place tomato crops exterior in a protected space (out of direct daylight and winds) and step by step transfer them to situations mirroring their new backyard location. This hardening-off interval provides seedlings grown indoors an opportunity to acclimate to exterior rising situations.

Tomato Assist Buildings

A close-up of 'Brandywine' tomato plant featuring green leaves and ripe red fruit.
Assist tomato crops with cages to keep up upright development.

‘Brandywine’ will get leggy and rangy as summer season strikes alongside. If left unsupported, the vines sprawl alongside the bottom and produce fruits smaller than these of supported crops. Set up a tomato cage, trellis, or sturdy stake at planting time for finest development, vigor, and fruiting. Putting the help at planting ensures that roots gained’t be disturbed later.

A big cage helps vines all season with no pruning wanted. Buy a tomato cage or make your personal by making a cylinder of wire fencing and securing it round your tomato crops. Use steel fencing with squares giant sufficient to entry the fruit and supply loads of room for development.

If staking tomatoes, select one or two most important stems and loosely tie them to a robust stake as they develop. Tender twine tied loosely permits motion and strengthening whereas supporting the stem and directing development. Some growers snap off suckers (aspect shoots) to maintain them from interfering with development and manufacturing.

Trellising is a sound system for rising a number of indeterminate varieties in rows. Wire strung between poles helps stems weighted with fruits and retains them upright. Pinching off suckers could be useful in trellis techniques, or a minimum of pinching off the ends when shoots are six to eight inches lengthy.

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The way to Develop

As an annual crop, tomatoes develop in a single cycle. They profit from particular cultural situations for the very best development and vigor. Giant varieties like ‘Brandywine’ are inclined to uneven ripening, cracking, catface deformations, and typically low yields. Assembly their cultural necessities provides crops a head begin for wholesome, carefree development.


A close-up of a 'Brandywine' tomato plant shows two green tomatoes hanging from the vine.
Crops in scorching southern climates thrive with shading from intense afternoon solar.

Plant in a spot in full solar (a minimum of six hours of daylight). Morning daylight as a part of the publicity is right for development. 

In southern climates with scorching summers, crops profit from safety from direct afternoon rays, which might scorch and burn leaves and fruits. 


A close-up of a 'Brandywine' tomato plant shows lush foliage and green, unripe fruit glistening with dew drops.
Prioritize soaker hoses at floor degree to forestall fungal illnesses.

‘Brandywine’ wants constant water and even moisture to thrive. Moist, however not soggy or saturated, soils are finest. Overly moist situations result in illness issues. Fluctuations in watering contribute to physiologic situations like blossom finish rot.

Tomatoes want one to 2 inches of water per week. Complement with extra water if rainfall is much less and through dry spells.

Drip irrigation or soaker hoses are ideally suited, as they provide constant, low-pressure quantity on the base of the crops, directing water to the roots and avoiding foliage. Even with a hose or watering can, watering on the floor degree is finest to forestall fungal illnesses. If overhead irrigation is the one possibility, water within the morning so leaves can dry off within the day’s sunshine. 

When rising in pots, make sure the containers are well-draining. Examine them usually for moisture, as containers dry out quicker than floor soils and want water extra regularly, particularly within the warmth of summer season. These tall growers will want loads of common water to keep up their well being.


A pair of hands, gently cupping a handful of dark, rich soil.
Improve soil high quality by incorporating compost to enhance aeration.

Present organically wealthy, barely acidic soils with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8. Crops develop finest in well-draining, loamy soils wealthy in compost.

At planting, frivolously flip soils and generously add compost, both bought or home made, for added enrichment. Compost helps with aeration, moisture retention, drainage, and vitamin.

Temperature and Humidity

Two ripe red ‘Brandywine’ fruits nestled among vibrant green foliage, showcasing their slightly ribbed skin.
Optimum rising situations embody temperatures between 60-85℉.

This selection wants 100 to 150 frost-free days to provide its giant fruits. Gentle seasons in southern climates give loads of time to get crops going post-frost. In northern areas with chilly winters and comes, begin seeds indoors and transfer open air with an insulated cowl to permit sufficient time for manufacturing.

It is a typical heat-loving tomato that grows in areas with warmth and humidity, offered there may be loads of air circulation and the soil is moist however not overly moist.

Preferrred rising temperatures are between 60-85°F or 16-29°C (and ideally between 70°F and 80°F or 21 to 27°C), with beginning temperatures above 55°F (13°C) and soil temperatures at 60°F (16°C). 


A gloved hand carefully pours a stream of rich brown organic fertilizer onto the dark brown soil.
Yellow leaves could point out a nutrient deficiency.

As annual crops in manufacturing mode, ‘Brandywines’ are heavy feeders. They’ll benefit from the lasting vitamins from compost and fertile soils however want extra fertilizing to advertise vigor and fruiting.

Apply a low-nitrogen fertilizer with an NPK ratio just like 8-32-16 or 6-24-24 at planting and all through the rising season. Nitrogen (N) promotes leafy development, however we wish to guarantee quick flowering and high quality fruiting. A better phosphorous (P) charge encourages this. A medium-high potassium (Okay) degree in fertilizer works properly for tomato development.

Natural fertilizer choices abound. To determine crops, look to fish emulsion purposes and proceed with seaweed and bone meal throughout flowering and fruiting. Seaweed and bone meal additionally add calcium to surrounding soils. Nevertheless, a easy natural tomato-specific fertilizer is ideal for all purposes.


A close-up of a brown gloved hand carefully pinching off the sucker of a tomato plant.
Pinching off the decrease development at 18-24 inches enhances air circulation.

The tall, rambling stems get leggy as the tip of summer season approaches. After the season of rising and producing, it’s comprehensible that the lengthy stems get a bit rangy; it’s a part of the character of huge, indeterminate varieties.

Pruning isn’t mandatory with caged ‘Brandywine’ crops, neither is it important for staked or trellised crops, although pinching off suckering offshoots to direct vitamins and development advantages non-caged growers.

When crops are 18-24 inches tall, pinching off the decrease six to 10 inches of development on the base of the tomato will increase air circulation to crops. This pinching isn’t important to development, however some gardeners discover it useful.

Lastly, mulching at planting and as wanted in the course of the rising season helps with moisture retention, weed suppression, and soil temperature regulation. A clear, weed-free straw or cowl of leaf litter or aged woodchips does the job.


Seeding tomatoes is the simplest option to develop them within the dwelling backyard. It’s additionally potential to take cuttings and to graft them, however these choices are extra for business rising. Rising from seed is reasonably priced and attainable within the backyard mattress, raised mattress, or container. 

Rising From Seed

A close-up of a hand delicately placing tomato seeds onto the rich brown soil.
Plant seeds ¼ inch deep in a potting medium with good drainage.

Begin seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks earlier than the anticipated ultimate frost date within the spring. Listed here are ideas for rising ‘Brandywine’ from seed:

  • Plant seeds ¼” deep in potting medium in a tray, cell, or small pot with drainage.
  • Place seeds in a spot with temperatures close to 75°F (24°C) for germination.
  • Maintain seeds well-watered – evenly moist however not saturated.
  • Tomato seeds germinate shortly, often in about 7-10 days.
  • When sprouts seem, place them in a sunny location like a windowsill.
  • Step seedlings up from cell packs to a small pot when two to a few units of true leaves seem.
  • When seedlings are below six inches tall and simply as full, harden them off to arrange for planting within the backyard.

Quite a few cultivars of the’ Brandywine’ pressure can be found along with the unique ‘Purple Brandywine’ tomato. All yield giant, luscious fruits with distinctive taste in a wide range of colours.

‘Pink Brandywine’

A collection of 'Pink Brandywine' tomatoes, all in red hues, fills a blue tray.
These mature in 80-90 days with vining stems as much as six toes.

‘Pink Brandywine’ is the Sudduth-Hill pressure of the heirloom tomato from the 1800s, arising across the identical time because the ‘Purple Brandywine’. Its pores and skin and flesh are creamy pink and rose, and the huge fruits weigh as a lot as two kilos.

It has a wealthy and intense tomato taste, making it a favourite amongst beefsteak-type slicers. Whereas the yield of those giant growers will not be plentiful, the dimensions and taste of the fruits are well worth the wait (about 80-100 days after transplanting). Lengthy, vining stems attain six toes on indeterminate crops. 

‘Yellow Brandywine’

A close-up of a 'Yellow Brandywine' tomato, showcasing its vivid hue and glossy skin reflecting light.
The ‘Yellow Brandywine’ tomato crops develop over six toes tall.

‘Yellow Brandywine’ boasts the standard giant fruits that ripen to a golden orange-yellow. Vivid tomatoes stand out amongst slicers for his or her distinctive coloration, creamy texture, and candy and tart taste (famous to be a taster’s favourite amongst yellow varieties).

The fruits weigh a median of about one pound with flattened shoulders and slight ribbing. Indeterminate crops attain six toes or extra with full, potato-leaf foliage.

‘OTV Brandywine’

A red 'OTV Brandywine' tomato nestled among lush green leaves, with a soft blur of more greenery in the background.
This selection boasts red-orange fruits with clean flesh and a candy taste.

‘OTV Brandywine’ outcomes from an unintentional cross between ‘Yellow Brandywine’ and a crimson beefsteak tomato. ‘OTV’ is among the many most heat-tolerant and productive strains.  

Launched by tomato breeders Craig LeHollier and Dr. Carolyn Male, ‘OTV’ is called for the Off the Vine heirloom tomato e-newsletter the pair produces. The fruit is crimson with orange tones and has a clean flesh and candy taste.

‘OTV’ is a vigorous grower with stems that attain six to eight toes tall. Fruits are comparatively uniform for the heirloom selection and weigh 12 to 16 ounces. ‘OTV’ yields greater than the unique and units fruit simply in heat climate.

Frequent Issues

Like its fellow tomato varieties, this selection is inclined to pests and illnesses within the backyard. The most effective management for these is prevention via sustaining optimum cultural necessities, particularly in constant watering, air circulation, soil well being, and crop rotation. Use companion crops like marigolds and dill alongside tomatoes to draw helpful bugs and promote plant well being.


Several whiteflies clustered on the surface of a tomato leaf, their tiny bodies stark against the green foliage.
Early detection of bugs is essential for efficient pest management on vegetable crops.

One of the best ways to regulate bugs is to identify them early. Pests spring up shortly on vegetable crops, and it’s simpler to cease them by catching them early. Use natural and food-safe pest controls because you’ll be consuming your juicy harvest.

Tomato Hornworm

A hornworm munches on a fresh green tomato hanging from the vine in a garden.
Management hornworms on tomato crops utilizing strategies like handpicking.

These daring creatures pop up in a single day, wreaking havoc on tomato crops with their voracious appetites. Hornworms are the colour of tomato vines, mixing in seamlessly however freely giving their presence via stripped leaves. These hardy caterpillars are the larvae of the sphinx, or hummingbird, moth.

To regulate hornworms, handpick them off crops and relocate them far out of your tomato crops. Different nightshades host the sphinx moth household that feeds in your tomatoes. To help them, develop some wild solanaceous crops that you could give to them as an alternative. Neem oil and organic controls of BT (Bacillus thuringiensis), parasitic wasps, and diatomaceous earth are different strategies to rid tomato crops of those caterpillars.


A close-up of green fruits speckled with tiny aphids crawling across their fuzzy skins.
Handle pests by making use of horticultural cleaning soap or Neem oil.

Aphids are widespread sap-sucking backyard bugs often handled with non-chemical means. Typically, they trigger no vital injury to tomato crops, however extreme infestations trigger plant stress and result in weak spot. 

Indicators of stress embody curled leaves and stunted development. Spray crops with a stream of water early within the day to discourage and knock pests off crops. A easy horticultural cleaning soap or oil like Neem rids crops of infestation.


A hand in gray gloves gently holds a diseased red tomato nestled among lush green foliage in a garden setting.
Take away crops displaying mutated or mosaic-patterned leaves indicating viral an infection.

As with pests, the very best illness management is prevention via cultural situations since tomatoes are susceptible to a couple customary illness points. In the event you spot mutated leaves or if they’ve a mosaic sample, take away these crops from the backyard. These are indicators of viruses that unfold quickly between crops.

Leaf Spot

A close-up of a yellowing leaf showing intricate patterns of leaf spots, indicative of fungal infection.
Get rid of affected leaves away from compost to forestall the unfold of spores.

Septoria leaf spot is a fungal illness indicated by small brown spots between leaf veins. Leaves grow to be yellow and drop. This illness spreads shortly, and an outbreak can kill tomato crops at any development stage. Septoria leaf spot crops up after heavy rains and extended moisture and humidity intervals.

In the event you see leaf spot, take away any affected leaves. Destroy them, however don’t add them to the compost pile, as spores can unfold. Disinfect pruners after clipping. 


Sunlit yellow fruits their vibrant hue marred by blight's subtle touch, hinting at nature's struggle against disease.
Late blight causes grey spots on leaves with fuzzy white development beneath.

You could expertise widespread early or late blight fungal illnesses. Early blight begins at decrease leaves and works its manner up the stem, inflicting stress on the crops and fruits to underdevelop and drop. Take away impacted plant elements and allow them to dry within the solar earlier than disposing.

Late blight happens later within the season and is extra lethal than early blight (late blight triggered the Irish potato famine within the 1840s). The excellent news is that late blight is much less widespread than early blight. Late blight shows grey spots on leaves and fuzzy white development on leaf undersides. Foliage could wilt and drop, and ultimately, crops wither. Take away affected crops to maintain late blight from spreading to different close by nightshades.

Blight seems after wet, humid spells in heat situations. Avoiding overhead watering and offering house between crops for air circulation helps stave off fungal illnesses.

Mosaic Virus

A close-up of tomato plant leaves exhibiting symptoms of mosaic virus infection, showing distinct mottling and yellowing patterns.
Handle mosaic viruses by promptly eradicating contaminated crops.

Mosaic viruses, comparable to tobacco and tomato mosaic viruses, are vulnerable to afflicting nightshades. Leaves bear a mottled mosaic sample in gentle and darkish greens. They might curl and warp. 

There isn’t a remedy for mosaic viruses, so the very best motion is to identify them early and take away contaminated crops. As with blight and different fungal diseased crops, preserve them away from the compost bin. Accumulate fallen leaves and particles from the impacted tomato. 

Blossom Finish Rot

Red and green fruits showing signs of blossom end rot, characterized by brown, sunken lesions on the bottoms, contrast against vibrant leaves.
Stop blossom finish rot by sustaining constant moisture.

Blossom finish rot makes your coronary heart sink when an ideal tomato on the vine turns into brown and rotted at its base. This physiological dysfunction happens from fluctuations in watering and the plant’s skill to soak up vitamins, together with calcium. 

Tomato fruits experiencing blossom finish rot gained’t reverse, so slicing off the broken tomato is finest. On the brilliant aspect, future tomatoes gained’t essentially be affected in case you present even moisture, compost-rich soils, and fertilizer.

Incessantly Requested Questions

With their well-known wealthy, candy taste, are distinctive slicing tomatoes to get pleasure from recent from the vine. These heirlooms are additionally scrumptious in sauces, pastes, roasting, and canning.

They develop properly in pots and containers if the vessel is giant sufficient to accommodate mature development. Ample soil quantity is required to advertise strong roots. Since it is a giant, indeterminate selection, crops profit from a 15 to 20-gallon container by quantity. Use a well-draining potting combine amended with compost and water recurrently for constant soil moisture. Set up a help construction like a big tomato cage at planting.

They ripen later than many different varieties, placing all their vitality into hefty fruits that attain seven inches throughout. You’ll be able to count on to reap tomatoes about 80 days after crops go within the floor. The weightiest could vary from eight ounces to 2 kilos, relying on the pressure. They’re ripe when the pores and skin is shiny and even in coloration with a agency, fleshy really feel. Give fruits a slight tug to select them from the vine, or harvest them slightly early to forestall cracking and allow them to ripen in a sunny spot within the kitchen.

Remaining Ideas

In the event you’re able to chew right into a tasty heirloom this summer season, attempt rising ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes for late-season enchantment. Their unparalleled taste brings the style of summer season to life and is well worth the wait.

And, by rising them, you’ll be enjoying a component in our edible historical past and future gardens by preserving the very best of the very best in taste, rising qualities, and genetic variety. You’ve earned a juicy slice of this favourite heirloom!

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