When to plant tomatoes in Florida? What’s the best time to grow tomatoes in Florida?
When to plant tomatoes in Florida?
Don’t let the heat of the summers in Florida put you off. Yes, you certainly can grow tomatoes in Florida. Many tomato varieties still do well here in Fl irrespective of the high heat. I’ve listed some of the best tomato varieties for Florida below.
We get the best of it in Florida. Our climate is beautifully warm. And that doesn’t necessarily equate to sitting on the beach all day drinking coconut juice. It also means that we are able to plant our tomatoes early in the spring and again, late in winter. And yet, most of the remainder of the country is still dealing with the cold.
Tomatoes are a crop that loves warm weather. This means, even in Florida, you should resist the desire to plant outdoors until any danger of frost has dissipated. Not that you’ll have to wait for long.
The following table lists the typical (on average) last and first frost dates for cities in Florida. Note that the dates provide a probability of 30 percent. Frost dates are averaged from 30 years of data (1981-2010). Make sure you don’t plant or position your tomatoes outside until after the last frost date. Again, it’s not like you have to wait long.
First and Last Frost Dates in Florida
Tap the chart to enlarge
If you wish to plant tomato seeds, you get a nice head start. You can plant seeds indoors and transplant outdoors when the soil and the air temperatures are on the rise. You could plant your seeds in small containers. This allows you the flexibility to move them around if a late frost is on the cards.
You shouldn’t wait around for too long before planting your tomatoes. In Florida, your tomato plants will need plenty enough time to develop and then produce copious amounts of fruit before the high summertime temperatures begin to set in.
When the average nighttime temperature rises to around 80 degrees F or above, you’ll find that if you’re relying on large-fruit producing tomato plants the flowers will continually develop but you’ll get no fruit.
There are exceptions to the rule, though. Grape and cherry tomatoes will continue to do well even in and throughout the summertime in Florida.
What are the Best Tomato Varieties for Florida?
Because in Florida we experience warm/ hot weather which is sometimes very wet, tomatoes can quickly succumb to pest and/ or disease problems.
This means that it’s wise policy to choose tomato varieties that offer resistance to disease, inclusive of Fusarium and Verticillium wilts. Nematodes are a problem in Florida, so we also want to select varieties that are resistant to these pests.
Among the best in terms of pest and disease resistance as well as the ability to deal with soaring temperatures are Celebrity (F1 hybrid, determinate), Amelia (F1 hybrid, determinate), and Better Boy (F1 hybrid, indeterminate).
If you wish to culture your tomatoes over the hot summer months there are some heat-tolerant tomato cultivars. One very good one is aptly named Heat Wave II. Another that does well in the heat? The Solar Fire F1 hybrid tomato.
And, as mentioned, the majority of cherry tomatoes will continue to set fruit when it’s hot. Among the best of the cherry varieties are Sweet Million, Sun Gold, Black Cherry, and Yellow Pear.