Think only citrus fruit can taste citrusy? The Orange Icicle tomato proves that’s not true! It has a notes of citrus flavor, the orange color of some citrus fruit, and an unusual shape. This easy-to-grow tomato is a popular variety among the home grower community.
If your garden has felt a little “blah” in past years, this quirky little tomato might be what you’re looking for. Keep reading to learn all about the Orange Icicle tomato and how to add it to your spring planting lineup.
History of the Orange Icicle Tomato
The Orange Icicle tomato is the sweetest of the Icicle family of tomatoes that originated in the Ukraine. This particular variety was named for its bright, sunny color. The Orange Icicle was brought into the United States by Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds and is a popular cooking and eating tomato.
Characteristics of the Orange Icicle Tomato
The Orange Icicle is an indeterminate heirloom tomato and grows 4-6 feet high. It produces high yields of orange plum tomatoes that are quite beautiful as they ripen on the plant.
The Orange Icicle tomato has a fairly lengthy ripening season. It begins to ripen in late spring or early summer (depending on where it is grown) and the season continues through summer.
It is an elongated tomato and is orange in color. The skin is smooth and has a tough look. The Orange Icicle is a paste tomato, with thick walls, meaty flesh, and small seed sacs.
The Orange Icicle is a fairly small tomato, ranging from 1-1.5 inches.
The Orange Icicle grows in zones 3 to 11.
Size and Spacing
Plant Orange Icicle tomatoes 24-36 inches apart in rows and plants rows 36-48 inches apart. At the time of planting, put support structures in place — it’s harder to place stakes, cages, or trellises once the vines start growing.
Tomatoes are self-pollinating plants, which is why you can grow a single tomato plant and get fruit from it. Most tomatoes only need nature (i.e. bees and wind) for their flowers to pollinate and set fruit.
The following sections will provide highlights about tomato care. For a complete guide on optimal tomato plant care, from planting to harvesting and storage, please check out our article on How To Grow Tomatoes: The Complete Guide For the Best Tomatoes.
Tomatoes need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day.
Ideal soil conditions for tomatoes are rich, well-draining, loamy soil that has a pH between 6.0-6.5. A soil test kit will let you know what the pH is. If the soil is low in calcium, blossom end rot can occur. To correct this, amend with ground or crushed eggshells
If soil dries out between watering, the fruit cracks. To retain soil moisture, spread a 2-3 inch layer of mulch around your tomato plants, but keep the ground clear of mulch three inches around the base of the plant. Water on a regular basis at the base of the plant to keep the foliage dry.
Tomatoes require specific nutrients (such as calcium) to produce their best crops of fruit. To learn how to determine what your tomatoes need and when they need it, consult our ultimate tomato fertilizer guide.
Indeterminate tomatoes produce their best crops of fruit when they are pruned at least a little to direct the plant’s energy into producing fruit, instead of growing lot of vines and leaves. Lush, bushy tomato plants won’t give you much, if any, fruit — make pinching suckers a regular part of your tomato care.
Pruning and pinching are a tomato care technique that can help your tomato put forth its best yield. But you need to know when to do this and what tomatoes need it. To help you with this, visit our pruning tomatoes guide.
One of the most common diseases that attack the Orange Icicle tomato is Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus. The disease is spread by thrips, which are tiny insects the color of straw. They have wings and can fly from plant to plant, spreading the disease.
Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus is more common in warmer areas. You will recognize it in your plant when the leaves wilt, turn a bronze color, and fall off. The growth of the plant may also be stunted. The way to control the disease is to recognize the symptoms and pull out those plants. Covering young plants can also help to keep the thrips away.
To learn how to detect, treat, and take steps to prevent diseases, read our tomato diseases guide.
One of the pests affecting the Orange Icicle tomato is the tomato fruitworm. As an adult, the fruitworm turns into a moth, which lays eggs on the lower sides of the leaves close to the flowers or fruits. After hatching, the larvae feed on the leaves, stems, and fruit. They will burrow into the tomatoes. Look out for dark indentations on the tomatoes. To treat this pest, you should pick the infected fruit and get rid of them. You can also use a pesticide. Try to choose an organic compound.
Another pest is the cutworm, which affects the lower stems of plants. To prevent them from attacking the plant, you can put a collar around the stem of the young plants. They can be made out of cardboard or plastic.
These are only a couple of the pests that are attracted to tomatoes. For information to help you spot, eliminate, and deter 15 different pests, visit our guide on common tomato pests.
When to Harvest Orange Icicle tomatoes
The best time to harvest Orange Icicle fruit is during early to mid-summer. They can be left on the plants to mature for a while during the season. If you pick the green fruit, keep them at room temperature until they begin to ripen.
For the best flavor, never refrigerate your tomatoes. Store them on the counter and use them within 5-7 days of picking from the vine.
Common Uses of Orange Icicle tomatoes
Paste tomatoes, like the Orange Icicle, are good for cooking in sauces and pastes, but they can also be enjoyed raw.
What Does This Tomato Taste Like?
The Orange Icicle tomato is sweet, with a mild touch of citrus taste. It’s not a particularly juicy tomato.
This tomato has a solid consistency which it holds when cooked. It also gives texture and body to dishes like tomato paste and tomato soup. It also makes very good tomato sauces. Use them in casseroles, tagines, or roasted dishes.
Orange Icicle tomatoes are not the best for eating fresh, although they can be used in salads and spicy dishes. Because they have a thicker skin and are less juicy, they keep longer than other tomatoes and can be used as an addition to salads, when sliced thin. Dice them for salsas, pico de gallo, and bruschettas toppings.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Tomatoes with a thick consistency, like the Orange Icicle tomato, keep their shape when canned or frozen. They can also be dried for later use.
Health Benefits of Orange Icicle tomatoes
The color of the Orange Icicle tomato indicates that it contains less lycopene than red tomatoes. Lycopene is a natural antioxidant. Orange tomatoes are richer in Vitamin C than other tomatoes and also contain high levels of potassium. Vitamin C is used in the growth and development of cells in the body. Potassium is an important factor in helping muscles and nerves to function properly.
Where to Buy Orange Icicle Tomato Plants or Seeds
You can buy Orange Icicle tomato seeds online from various online seed retailers. Google to see who has them in stock.
Where to Buy Orange Icicle tomatoes
You may be able to find Orange Icicle tomatoes at your local store, but they’re more often sold at farmers markets or specialty produce stores.
Wrapping up the Orange Icicle Tomato
The Orange Icicle tomato is easy to grow and it’s a conversation starter with it’s unique appearance and citrusy flavor. If you’ve only ever grow traditional red or yellow tomatoes, then the Orange Icicle is a great place to start an adventure with all sorts of unusual tomato varieties.
Do you grow Orange Icicle tomatoes in your garden? We’d love to hear all about your experiences with it in the comments section below! To read about other interesting and tasty tomatoes, click here for our tomato blog posts.