The Celebrity tomato is a recent hybrid cultivar that is prized for its strong plants, disease and pest resistance, and robust production of fruit. If you've ever struggled growing garden or patio tomatoes that become vulnerable to pests or just don't produce very many tomatoes, the Celebrity may be a game changer for you. These tomatoes usually weigh in at half a pound each or more, and measure four inches across: the perfect size for a slicer! Its meaty texture and smooth globe shape make it a perfect sandwich tomato, but course it can also be used in salads or in sauces, or chop it and sauté it briefly with fresh herbs to serve over pasta.
Among tomato-growing aficionados, this variety is known as a "semi determinate" plant, because after reaching its full height of 3-4 feet, it continues to produce fruit until frost (unlike determinate tomatoes that have a "bush" habit and finite fruiting period/single crop, or indeterminate tomato plants that continue to sprawl and produce fruit throughout their growth season (like cherry tomatoes). But technically, the Celebrity is a determinate plant.
Because they produce such an abundance of large fruits, these plants definitely need cages or stakes to keep them upright. Even with cages, you may find you want to use some plant ties for extra support, especially as fruits grow larger. If the vines seem too heavy with fruit you can always pluck some tomatoes just before they fully ripen, and finish ripening them in a sunny windowsill (indoors, or squirrels might start snacking on them).
|Scientific Name||Solanum lycopersicum, cultivar 'Celebrity'|
|Common Name||Celebrity tomato|
|Mature Size||3 to 4 ft. tall|
|Sun Exposure||Full sun|
|Soil Type||Fertile, well-drained|
|Soil pH||6.2 to 6.8|
|Bloom Time||Early summer, fruits appear through fall|
|Hardiness Zones||5 to 8 (USDA)|
|Native Areas||Native to Central and South America|
|Toxicity||Toxic to dogs and cats|
Growing Celebrity Tomatoes
Even inexperienced tomato growers may find this variety to be relatively trouble free. It's resistant to many pests and diseases, and has a robust growth habit. It can be grown easily in containers, also. Use a large container that's at least five gallons, to give your plants plenty of root space, and make sure the container has good drainage.
Tomatoes like a rich, well-drained soil. It's important to add new soil and amendments to the garden area where tomatoes are grown each season, and to rotate nightshade crops, to benefit from optimal soil nutrition. The Celebrity tomato does best in a slightly acidic soil. You may also want to consider appropriate companion plantings best for tomatoes.
Two words: full sun. Celebrity tomatoes should be grown in full sun.
If you haven't grown tomatoes, you may be surprised to learn there is a specific way of watering them that is highly recommended. Watering at the base of the plant with a watering can, instead of using a sprinkler or hose from above, is recommended to help prevent spread of blight or disease. (Rain is good too!) Water in the morning or evening on dry days, and avoid watering during the hottest part of the day in summer. Tomatoes like plenty of water, but overwatering may cause the leaves to turn yellow.
Temperature and Humidity
Being such a hardy plant, variations in temperature probably won't do too much damage, but if a heat wave crops up, be sure to water with cool water in the morning and again in the evening so the foliage doesn't dry out. Too much humidity may cause a susceptibility to mold or mildew, but the Celebrity has been bred to resist such problems.
Growing Celebrity Tomatoes from Seed
Growing tomatoes from seed is a bit involved, as they need to be started indoors and require fairly warm temperatures and sunlight to germinate. A greenhouse is best, but a sunny windowsill will work. Celebrity tomatoes are very hardy so they should be fairly easy to grow this way. The timing of planting can be important with indeterminate varieties, if you want to harvest all at once for food preservation, but Celebrity tomatoes are semi-determinate, which is closer in nature to determinate varieties, except that they continue to bear fruit. You may decide preserving in small batches will work best. Choose good-sized containers for transplanting your seedlings, or plant them in your garden once the seedlings are at least six inches tall, and once all danger of frost has passed.
Potting and Repotting
Most tomatoes grow easily in containers, with a few simple guidelines to follow, and Celebrity tomatoes are no exception. The most important tip for growing tomatoes in pots is to make sure the pots are big enough! Tomatoes have somewhat fussy root systems that require a good amount of space. Good drainage is also essential. When transplanting from trays to small pots to larger pots, be very gentle and careful not to jostle the root system too much. Once planted give them a small drink of water to help soothe them after transplant shock. It's best not to transplant too many times; no more than three times, if possible. If growing from seed, start with a seed tray or small pots, then move to slightly larger pots when seedlings are two inches tall, then to their last location after they reach six inches, where they will grow to maturity. Make sure your plants are planted deep enough and keep an eye on them to make sure the tiny roots are not exposed at the base of the plant, as this weakens the plant and may affect the fruit development.
Common Pests and Diseases
This hardy hybrid plant is resistant to verticillium wilt, fusarium wilt, and tobacco mosaic virus, as well as not being bothered by nematodes. Tomato fruits are tempting to birds and small wildlife, so you may need to protect them with netting if this is a problem in your garden.