If you’re looking for a hardy tomato to start growing in your vegetable garden, Floradade tomatoes are a perfect choice! These vibrant red beauties can thrive in almost any environment and can ward off most diseases. They’re much easier to grow compared to other varieties due to these helpful qualities.
Keep reading to find out the history behind this tomato variety and how to grow and use them!
History of the Floradade Tomato
The beautiful heirloom tomato variety came into the spotlight in 1976 through natural cultivation at the University of Florida. Shortly after cultivation, farmers began growing them all over the southeastern United States, as well as overseas in Australia and Africa.
Due to the hot, humid climate in Florida, this tomato is highly adaptable and can withstand weather fluctuations. It’s also resistant to most diseases, especially verticillium wilt, which is a fungal disease that can kill plants.
Characteristics of the Floradade Tomato
These tomato plants produce decent-sized red tomatoes that typically weigh up to seven ounces. Their inside flesh has a bright red color and is rather meaty.
The tomato is a determinate variety. This means the plant will grow up to six feet tall and only continue growing outward into a bush shape. It also means they have a set lifespan and will typically die after all their tomatoes ripen.
Floradade tomatoes typically have a growing season from the end of spring through the summertime.
The tomatoes fully mature and ripen around the 80-day mark after planting. However, it’s not uncommon for them to ripen a few days before or after this.
This tomato variety is firm, meaty, and juicy. It tends to have an acidic taste with a hint of sweetness.
The tomato plant creates medium to large tomatoes that are usually the size of your palm in diameter. Each tomato usually weighs between five and seven ounces.
These tomatoes grow best in warm climates but can grow perfectly fine in hardiness zones three through ten.
Plant Size and Spacing
Plant the tomato plants at a depth of around 1/4 inch. Ensure there are at least 18 to 36 inches between each plant, as they will spread horizontally.
Floradade tomatoes are open-pollinated. This essentially means the plants get pollinated through wild pollinators, such as bees, butterflies, birds, etc.
Caring for Your Tomato Plants
If you’re growing your tomatoes from seeds, sow the seeds in starter containers first. Start this at about six to eight weeks before the final frost. During this time, ensure your tomatoes are getting plenty of sunshine and water.
For an in-depth understanding of growing tomatoes, check out our article How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide.
Floradade tomatoes need a minimum of eight hours of sunlight per day.
The soil beneath these tomato plants needs to be moist at all times. However, don’t drown them. You will need a good drainage system to prevent this. Using organic matter in your soil is a great way to help with drainage and provide extra nutrients.
Generally, tomatoes thrive best in slightly acidic soil. So, aim to have your soil between 6.0 and 6.8 on the pH scale.
Make sure to water your tomato plants every day. Sometimes you might need to water them twice a day if it’s excessively hot and dry.
The Floradade tomato typically needs fertilizer every few weeks, and they need specific nutrients. For more information on fertilizing your tomato plants, take a look at our article on the Ultimate Tomato Fertilizer Guide.
You don’t need to do a lot of pruning with this tomato plant variety, because they produce all at once.
Pruning and pinching won’t increase the plant’s yield. You just need to ensure the bottom leaves aren’t touching the soil. It’s best to remove them.
For the most part, Floradade tomatoes are disease-resistant. The only issue you might come across is early blight. This fungal disease creates brown spots on your plant’s leaves, ultimately weakening the plant.
Use The 7 Most Common Tomato Plant Diseases to determine if your plant has early blight and explore treatment options.
Unlike other tomato varieties, these tomatoes don’t have a long list of pests. Birds and rodents might try taking your tomatoes, but this isn’t definite. Other pests include:
- Tomato hornworms
- Flea beetles
General signs of these bugs are the physical bug themselves, egg sacs, and chewed-up leaves.
When to Harvest Floradade Tomatoes
You can harvest your beautiful tomatoes when you see that they have vibrant red coloring around the entire fruit.
If cold weather is coming, you can pick them and let them finish ripening on a sunny windowsill.
Floradade Tomato Uses
Due to their round and meaty nature, Floradade tomatoes are great for sandwiches, burgers, and fresh salads. You can also cook them down into sauces or soups, as they have a sweet, rich flavor when cooked.
What Does it Taste Like?
If the tomato is raw, it tends to be on the acidic side, so they have a little bite to them. But when they get cooked, that acidity mellows out, and they taste much sweeter.
Cooking With the Floradade Tomato
You can use these tomatoes in any recipe that calls for red tomatoes. They taste great raw and cooked. Try grilling them, roasting them, cutting them up for salads, or turning them into a delicious pasta sauce.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Tomatoes like this usually taste best fresh, but you can still can, freeze, or dry them if you’d like. You can make some tangy sun-dried tomatoes with these. Follow your usual canning, freezing, and drying methods.
Try some of these delicious recipes once you harvest your tomatoes:
Health Benefits of Floradade Tomatoes
Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins and nutrients, especially vitamin C and other antioxidants. They also have anti-inflammatory properties and can help keep your heart healthy!
Where to Buy Floradade Tomato Seeds and Plants
Floradade tomato seeds and plants aren’t necessarily something you can buy at your grocery store. However, you can find seeds on websites like True Leaf Market.
Wrapping up the Floradade Tomato
These tomatoes are generally a great addition to everyone’s garden, because of their hardiness. They’re also a great addition to your produce stock with their meaty texture and acidic, sweet taste.
So, grab your tomato seeds and start planting! Use our tomato page for extra tips, tricks, and recipes!