All tomato growers know the challenges of the many various tomato diseases that can destroy a tomato crop. Thanks to these seemingly endless issues, we are always on the lookout for hybrids that are disease-resistant.
That’s where Celebrity tomatoes come in.
These plants have raised the bar on disease-resistant tomatoes, withstanding several well-known diseases and pests. It not only boasts these traits but is also a good crop producer – consistent and easy to grow.
- Origin: United States
- Type: Semi-determinate
- Size: 4+ feet
- Days To Harvest: 60-72 days
Celebrity Origins & History
The development of the Celebrity Tomato began in San Diego with plant breeder Colin Wyatt keeping an eye on its qualities in field trials. Colin developed the tomato during the 1970s for the company Petoseed Co.
The seed was eventually made available to the public in 1983. It was reportedly named by the Petoseed naming committee that was tasked with finding names for new seed varieties. The name Celebrity was intended to make the variety more appealing to consumers.
In the early years of hybridization, the parents of the hybrid were often not disclosed and kept a well-guarded secret. Thus, the Celebrity parental origins are unknown. To get the real benefits of the traits of this F1 hybrid, new seed must be purchased every season rather than saved from the fruits.
The descriptions of the flavor profile of these tomatoes range from flavorful to average, depending on who you ask. But the majority agree that it is a useful tomato with good taste. If not used fresh, most gardeners use the fruits to make an excellent sauce or soup.
The fruits are smooth and red with a meaty flesh, few seeds and a creamy texture. They are not too sweet with a subtle acidic taste. These characteristics make them ideal for those who like more subtle tomatoes with great balance.
Best Uses For Celebrity Tomatoes
Celebrity tomatoes are known as a good all-around tomato variety, used for anything in the kitchen from slicing for salads and sandwiches, juicing, making sauces, canning and adding to stews and soups.
With their creamy texture, they make an excellent sauce for pasta with added onions, garlic and basil for flavor. They also have a great color for a spicy salsa or simply chopped with a little salt and good olive oil for a bruschetta.
What Are Celebrity Tomatoes Best Known For?
Celebrity tomatoes are known for their reliability and resistance to diseases and problems like fusarium wilt, root-knot nematodes, cracking, verticillium wilt, tobacco mosaic virus and more.
They are also adaptable to a wide range of conditions and are fuss-free bushy plants, growing up to 3-4 feet or more depending on the climate. They are prolific growers and producers of globe-shaped fruit, taking just 60-72 days to harvest.
This tomato variety is also a semi-determinate hybrid – not quite a vine and not quite a bush but something in-between. They grow like a determinate bush variety but continue to produce tomato crops until the first frost like an indeterminate variety. This in-between hybrid has thus been labeled semi-determinate to distinguish it from other varieties.
It has also won several awards, including the All-America Selections (AAS) 1984 Edible Vegetable Winner and was named a ‘Texas Superstar’ plant in 2021.
Where To Buy Celebrity Tomato Seeds
Due to its unique properties, Celebrity tomatoes are a popular choice for home gardeners, available online and in garden centers and nurseries just about everywhere. Disease-resistant Celebrity tomatoes are also now available as Celebrity Plus which is even more disease-resistant, adding tomato spotted wilt virus and others to the list.
Some of the most popular seed suppliers online include:
How To Grow Celebrity Tomatoes
Start seed for Celebrity tomatoes in late spring 4-6 weeks before the last frost date. When the night temperatures warm up, they can be hardened off and transplanted into rich soil with added compost. The soil must be well-draining and slightly acidic with a pH of around 6.2 – 6.8.
Plant in an area that receives at least 6 hours of sunlight per day and keep watering well at the roots for the best harvest. Avoid overwatering by watering only when the top few inches of soil are dry and don’t water the leaves. Keep an eye on the schedule because a fluctuation in water levels will cause problems and could invite diseases.
These tomatoes are heavy feeders and will require feeding with a balanced fertilizer soon after planting. When the plants are flowering and fruiting, switch to a fertilizer with more phosphorous and potassium for better flowers and fruit. A regular schedule is best to avoid under or overfertilizing. If you are getting too many leaves and no fruits, use a fertilizer lower in nitrogen.
Celebrity tomatoes will require staking, but because of their compact height, short stakes or cages can be used. This is an essential step and should be done at the beginning of the growth to avoid disturbing the roots. These prolific fruiters need support for their heavy crops.
In about 70 days the fruit should be ready for harvesting. However, some growers find they do better a little longer on the vines. They can also be picked once the color changes from green to blush and ripened off the vines.