15 Illness-Resistant Tomato Varieties For Your Backyard

I’m ready to plan out my tomato plots for 2024, and as I flip through my seed catalog to make my selections, I’m highly considering the disease-resistant varieties.

It can be a little overwhelming looking through multiple crop sections when trying to recall what all the codes mean, what’s new on the market, how much space you have, etc., so I’ve gone through this year’s offerings and selected 15 disease-resistant tomato varieties for you to try. I’ve also included a list of all the different codes and which diseases each variety is resistant to. I hope this helps you when you’re planning your garden. 

First, I’ll list out all the codes for your convenience, and then we’ll get into each of the varieties we recommend. Let’s get started. 

Our Top Picks

Sungold Pole Tomatoes 

Indigo Rose Tomatoes

Ace 55 Tomatoes

Disease-Resistance Codes 

A cluster of ripe red and green tomatoes hang gracefully on a vine, their glossy surfaces adorned with glistening water droplets. The blurred background provides a lush, green canvas, accentuating the vivid beauty of the tomatoes.
Codes were developed by seed companies to aid customers and growers in their choices.

Seed companies provide codes for each type of tomato disease resistance for convenience to the potential customer and grower. For reference, below, I have listed out all the codes you might see and what disease they refer to, as well as the specific pathogen that causes it. There are quite a few more, but these are specific to tomatoes. 

Disease Code  Pathogen  Pathogen Type
Alternaria Stem Canker AS Alternaria alternata f. sp. lycopersici  Fungus 
Blossom End Rot BER N/A-caused from a calcium deficiency N/A
Corky Root Rot CRR Pyrenochaeta lycopersici  Fungus 
Early Blight (Alternaria Blight)  EB or AB Alternaria solani  Fungus 
Fusarium Wilt* F F. oxyporum f. sp. lycopersici  Fungus
Fusarium Crown and Root Rot FOR Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. radicis–lycopersici Fungus 
Gray Leaf Spot GLS Stemphylium solani Fungus 
Late Blight  LB Phytophthora infestans Water Mold
Leaf Mold LM Cladosporium fulvum aka Fulvia fulva Fungus 
Roundworm N Meloidogyne arenaria, M. incognita, M. javanica Nematode 
Powdery Mildew PM Oidium neolycopersici Fungus 
Tobacco Mosaic  TMV Tobacco Mosaic Virus  Viral 
Tomato Apex Necrosis ToANV Tomato Apex Necrosis Virus Viral 
Tomato Mosaic ToMV Tomato Mosaic Virus  Viral
Tomato Spotted Wilt  TSWV Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus  Viral 
Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl TYLCV Tomato Yellow Leaf Curl Virus Viral 
Verticillium Wilt V Verticillium albo–atrum and V. dahliae Fungus 

.

*There are currently three races of fusarium wilt (F), which are referred to as F(1), F(2), and F(3). Some tomatoes are resistant to one or two races while still being susceptible to others. F infects other crop families as well as popular weeds and lives in the soil for up to ten years without a host.

HR=high resistance

IR=intermediate resistance 

My top pick in each category is listed first and has a note indicating such. Spacing depends on your trellising system and indeterminate versus determinate types. 

Cherry Tomatoes 

Cherry tomatoes are typically round in size, about 1 ½ to 2 inches around, and vary in color. Due to their size, they’ll be one of the first types of tomatoes to ripen. 

1. ‘Sungold’

TOP PICK

A cluster of Sungold tomatoes, showcasing a stunning interplay of orange and green hues, elegantly hangs from the lush stem. Lush green leaves encircle the tomatoes, creating a picturesque scene. The sun's warm rays lovingly caress the ensemble.
Harvest Sungold tomatoes a few days early to avoid splitting.

TYPE Indeterminate cherry
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 57 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F(1), TMV

There is nothing better than the juicy pop of the first ripe cherry tomato in the summer. Sungolds never disappoint; we have customers, family members, and friends alike who look forward to times when the pints of these golden beauties become available in mass. 

Keep Sungolds pruned starting at the bottom and remove all suckers to keep them from becoming unruly. A stringed trellis system that allows you to clip the vine up every week works best due to its ability to grow very tall.  

Typically, one of the first cherry tomatoes to ripen, harvest them a few days before they’re fully ripe to prevent splitting. 

2. ‘Sakura’

TOP PICK

A cluster of green, orange, and rich red Sakura tomatoes, each petite in size, delicately hangs from a fuzzy green stem. The blurred background gracefully showcases the surrounding lush green leaves, enhancing the overall aesthetic.
A high-yielding cherry tomato variety, Sakura has sweet, split-resistant fruits on tall vines.

TYPE Indeterminate cherry
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 55 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F (1) & (2), TMV, LM A-E; IR: N

This small, red cherry tomato variety provides you with lots of clusters full of juicy fruits. Get your trellises ready because ‘Sakura’ vines reach six feet or longer. Practice the lower-and-lean method if you have the space to extend the season and make it easier to harvest from tall plants. 

‘Sakura’ is extremely sweet and has low rates of splitting. Plants can be spaced tightly with a stringed trellis system and consistent pruning. It produces large trusses of beautifully shiny fruits. 

This variety keeps going late into the season due to its extensive disease-resistance package. Pair it with Sungolds for a delicious duo. 

3. ‘Indigo Rose’

A close-up showcases indigo rose tomatoes, their rich hues standing out against fuzzy stems, creating a visually striking contrast against the blurred green backdrop. Bathed in sunlight, the indigo tones of these round tomatoes come to life.
Developed at Oregon State University, Indigo Rose tomatoes are sweet and slightly acidic.

TYPE Semi-determinate cherry
ROW SPACING 1-2 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 80-90 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS N/A
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: EB, PM

These sweet and slightly acidic cherry tomatoes were developed at Oregon State University. They range in size from six to eight ounces and boast a shiny violet-blue-brownish hue that dulls with ripeness with internal red flesh. 

The dark blue pigments of these tomatoes are a sign of their high levels of anthocyanins. These serve as antioxidants in our bodies that may prevent inflammation, improve memory, and fight off infections when consumed regularly. 

Allow the open-pollinated fruits of ‘Indigo Rose’ to fully ripen on the vine before harvesting.

Small-Fruited Tomatoes 

These tomatoes get to three to four inches in diameter and about three to six ounces in weight.

4. ‘Mountain Magic’ 

TOP PICK 

Vibrant red and yellow Mountain Magic tomatoes, freshly showered, sparkle under the warm sun. The luscious fruits create a captivating scene as they rest among lush green leaves, creating a visually stunning and appetizing display.
Known for their juicy and bright red fruits, Mountain Magic is excellent for direct consumption.

TYPE Indeterminate cocktail
ROW SPACING 1-2 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 66 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F (1), (2), & (3), LB, V; IR: EB

This extremely sweet cocktail is like nature’s candy. Best eaten straight from the vine and sliced in half in a salad, ‘Mountain Magic’ fruits are juicy and bright red. The trusses are packed full of uniformly two-ounce fruits that hardly ever crack. 

If you’re growing to sell your tomatoes, harvest the whole truss and sell it that way. It makes quite a statement on a farmers’ market table. 

Leaves of ‘Mountain Magic’ conveniently cover the fruits, protecting them from sunscald. Prune spent and lower leaves and empty trusses from the bottom up as you start to harvest. 

5. ‘Golden Jubilee’

Large, ripe Golden Jubilee tomatoes, their vibrant orange hue catching the sunlight, hang gracefully from a sturdy green stem. The background showcases a lush tapestry of verdant leaves, providing a natural contrast to the warm, golden tones of the tomatoes. 
These climbing slicer tomatoes have firm flesh and small seed cavities.

TYPE Indeterminate climbing slicer
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 75-80 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS N/A
DISEASE RESISTANCE  AS

This bright yellow stunner is the perfect cross between ‘Tangerine’ and ‘Rutgers’ which was released in 1943 and won the All-America Selections award that same year! Producing the occasional green shoulder, ‘Golden Jubilee’ fruits get to be six to eight ounces and about three inches around in diameter. 

This variety doesn’t have any resistance to cool or cold temperatures, so it’s best for mild climates. Germinate on heat mats set to 70-80°F (21-27°C) and transplant once soil temperatures reach at least 60°F (16°C). Space them at 1 ½ to 2 ½ feet

‘Golden Jubilee’ has a nice firm texture and holds up well after being harvested. They also have small seed cavities, making them perfect for caprese salads or sandwiches. Harvest when they have just a little give when squeezed and are bright orange.

6. ‘Early Girl’

A display of early girl tomatoes, showcasing a harmonious mix of ripe fruits and their unripe counterparts nestled among lush, verdant leaves. The contrast between the orange and the green captures the stages of growth, promising a future harvest.
These tomatoes are a medium-sized slicing variety that performs well in high tunnels.

TYPE Indeterminate climbing slicer
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 62 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F(1), (2), & V

This has been our go-to for a consistently productive, medium-sized slicing tomato. ‘Early Girl’ is pale red and performs well both outside or under cover in a high tunnel. Most studies conclude the benefits of growing in a high tunnel include extending the season and growing more marketable fruits. That’s because they get pretty banged up outside from pests and various weather conditions. 

‘Early Girl’ is widely adaptable, and it’s one of the earliest slicers to ripen. Although not as juicy or flavorful as some other options, it’s reliable and uniformly sized. When we have an abundance of these tomatoes, we freeze them and add them to soups and stews in the winter. 

Pro tip: If dry farming, ‘New Girl’ will produce highly acidic, very sweet fruits. 

7. ‘Lemon Boy Plus’ 

A sprawling tomato vine lies on the ground, surrounded by scattered dried leaves. Amidst this earthy tapestry, Lemon Boy tomatoes gleam, their green hue contrasting with the surrounding foliage.
A sweet and tangy slicer, this tomato adds brightness to the garden and table.

TYPE Determinate bush slicer
ROW SPACING 1-2 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 75 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: ASC, F (1), (2), and (3), FOR, GLS, ToMV, V; IR: N, LM A-E

This sweet and tangy slicer adds a unique brightness to the garden and the dinner table, especially in combination with bright reds, blushes, or greens. With an extensive disease-resistance package, the plants keep going strong into the late season.

Always deep water your tomatoes with drip irrigation and harvest the day before to keep them from cracking. Always monitor soil moisture levels and water more during hot spells and when no rain has fallen.  

If you prefer these “lemons” a bit more on the acidic side, harvest them early and underripe. Otherwise, snag them when they’re bright to golden yellow with a slight blush color at the blossom end. 

Beefsteak/Large Slicing Tomatoes 

Beefsteak and large slicing tomatoes have a wide shape, giving you consistently sized slices, perfect for sandwiches, and meaty, juicy insides. They’re about six inches in diameter and weigh up to one pound or more each. 

8. ‘Mountain Merit’

DETERMINATE TOP PICK 

In this captivating close-up, Green Mountain Merit tomatoes steal the spotlight, nestled among luxuriant leaves. Their plump, verdant forms promise a harvest of freshness, while the surrounding foliage forms a protective embrace.
Compact Mountain Merit plants yield eight to ten-ounce fruits with resistance to late blight.

TYPE Determinate bush slicer
ROW SPACING 1-2 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 75 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F(1), (2), & (3), N, GLS, V, TSWV; IR: LB

‘Mountain Merit’ plants are compact, only growing to be about three feet tall. They produce fruits of eight to ten ounces. With a great disease-resistance package, including protection from late blight, your plants should still be healthy in late summer. 

With proper staking, this determinate variety can easily be grown in containers. It’s also perfect for gardeners with little space or only a patio to grow on. To consistently have tomato supplies in bulk throughout the season, sow new successions every four to six weeks. 

Harvest when they’re bright red and have a slight give when you (gently!) squeeze them on the vine. Pro tip: Harvest tomatoes the day before you irrigate them to avoid cracking due to excessive water. 

9. ‘Big Beef Plus’ 

INDETERMINATE TOP PICK 

A solitary, and perfectly ripe Big Beef Plus tomato dangles from its resilient stem, showcasing its luscious red hue. The tomato is enveloped by a lush cluster of verdant leaves, creating a picturesque scene of nature's bounty.Enhanced in flavor, color, and disease resistance, Big Beef Plus surpasses the original Big Beef.

TYPE Indeterminate beefsteak
ROW SPACING 2-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 72 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: AS, F(1)1 & (2), FOR, GLS, TOMV, V; IR: N, TSWV

With improved flavor, color, and more disease resistance, ‘Big Beef Plus’ is even better than the original ‘Big Beef’ that we all knew and loved. 

‘Big Beef Plus’ is juicy and meaty and is a great producer of medium to large fruits perfect for BLTs. The insides of this tomato are a classic tomato crimson with a nice, round shape. 

If you’re growing tomatoes to sell, this is a smart, reliable, and attractive option.

10. ‘Red Pride’

A close-up of three Red Pride tomatoes suspended gracefully from their verdant stem, enticing with their rich, red hue that promises a burst of flavor. The oblong contours of these tomatoes suggest a perfect blend of succulence and firmness.
A compact and adaptable plant, Red Pride yields high-quality, blemish-free, ten-ounce red fruits.

TYPE Determinate bush slicer
ROW SPACING 1-2 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 78 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  ASC, F (1) & (2), V

‘Red Pride’ reliably produces ten-ounce, bright red fruits that are virtually blemish-free. The flavor is great, almost heirloom quality, and germination rates are consistently high. 

Plants stay compact and are adaptable to climates all over North America, and their large leaves protect the fruits from harsh sun. Fertilize them about six weeks after planting with a well-balanced liquid feed. When flowering begins, switch to a fertilizer higher in potassium.

Pruning is not necessary for determinate varieties. Stake them with a fence or a cage. 

11. ‘Geronimo’

Hanging from a deep green stem, red and orange Geronimo tomatoes add a burst of color.  Nestled within the crinkled embrace of verdant leaves, these tomatoes exude freshness and ripeness.
This tomato displays resilience to powdery mildew in greenhouse trials.

TYPE Indeterminate slicer
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 78 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F (1) & (2), LM A-E, TMV, V; IR: PM

If you’re looking for a consistently shaped, sized, and great-flavored slicing tomato, give ‘Geronimo’ a shot. It has firm, eight to ten-ounce fruits and an impressive disease-resistance package. 

This is a great choice if you’re growing it in a protected environment. Greenhouse trials show it holds up well to powdery mildew. Plants grow balanced and remain healthy even into the fall. 

While some other similar varieties have come onto the scene, Geronimo is still a great option. 

12. ‘Caiman’

A Caiman tomato vine gracefully sprawls, adorned with clusters of ripe orange tomatoes. The blurred background hints at the lush, earthy surroundings, highlighting the plant's connection to the rich brown soil beneath.
A high-performing beefsteak variety, Caiman exhibits traditional characteristics with early maturity.

TYPE Indeterminate slicer
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 76 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F (1) & (2), LM A-E, ToMV, V; IR: N, TSWV

‘Caiman’ is a traditional beefsteak variety in size, shape, color, and flavor. It’s a bit earlier than ‘Geronimo’ and holds together incredibly well when sliced. Fruits stay clean and attractive. 

It’s a strong performer in a tunnel and has great resistance to all the heavy-hitter diseases.

Pro tip: In general, when starting tomatoes from seed, don’t start them too early. Pay close attention to your zone’s last frost date, read the recommendations for each variety you select, and start them accordingly so they don’t become leggy or rootbound in the greenhouse. 

13. ‘Harvest Moon’

A close-up of an orange harvest moon tomato, bathed in soft light, rests gracefully next to a sturdy brown stem. In the background, a green tomato and lush foliage create a harmonious tapestry of colors and textures.
This produces uniformly shaped, seven to ten-ounce unblemished fruits throughout the season.

TYPE Indeterminate slicer
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 75 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: LB

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a marbled beauty. ‘Harvest Moon’ is reminiscent of a golden and red-orange heirloom but offers high resistance to late blight, unlike heirlooms. Most of the body is golden-yellow, and the blossom end is a red blush. 

These plants consistently provide uniformly shaped and sized seven to ten-ounce practically unblemished fruits. They continue to set fruit up the trellis, giving you fresh tomatoes all season long. 

Harvest when you notice color at the stage, referred to as “first blush” and allow them to ripen at room temperature. 

Paste/Plum/Roma Tomatoes 

These types are usually found in determinate options since many people grow them to make sauce in bulk at a certain time of the year. 

14. ‘Granadero’

TOP PICK 

A close-up of a vibrant Granadero tomato vine, with lush green leaves stretching towards the warm sunlight. Ripe tomatoes dangle alongside their unripe counterparts, creating a captivating contrast of colors. 
An organic plum tomato, Granadero yields abundant bright red fruits.

TYPE Indeterminate climbing plum-type Roma
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 75 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F (1) & (2), ToMV, V; IR: PM, N, TSWV

This organic plum tomato is extremely prolific, producing uniformly shaped four to five-ounce bright red fruits. ‘Granadero’ has a low rate of blossom end rot, which is particularly common in these types of tomatoes, thanks to its thick skins. 

‘Granadero’ has great flavor, perfect for making and freezing or canning homemade sauces and salsas. 

Although it’s an indeterminate variety, ‘Granadero’ is quite compact, so staking may or may not be necessary. 

15. ‘Plum Regal’

A bountiful cluster of regal Plum tomatoes, both ripe and unripe, gracefully hangs from the verdant vine. The oblong shape of the tomatoes indicates their readiness for harvest. Encircled by vibrant leaves, they showcase nature's vibrant palette.
A star among plum tomatoes, ‘Plum Regal’ has both early and late blight resistance.

TYPE Determinate plum
ROW SPACING 1-3 feet
DAYS TO MATURITY 75 from transplant
HYBRID STATUS (F1)
DISEASE RESISTANCE  HR: F (1) & (2), TSWV, LB, V; IR: EB

You won’t see any sunscald on these plums as the plants offer plenty of leave coverage for their four-ounce fruits. Tomatoes are perfectly blocky, deep red, and have great pasta flavor. 

With both early and late blight resistance, ‘Plum Regal’ may just be the star of the plum tomato show. 

Try planting some indeterminate and some determinate plums so you don’t feel the pressure to make a sauce with all of them when they start to come in. Try freezing them on a cookie sheet if you have an abundance. Once they’re frozen solid, store them in an airtight bag and label them with the date. 

Heirlooms

A close-up of orange and green tomatoes hanging gracefully, showcasing their unique form. The tomatoes are suspended delicately amidst a backdrop of lush, green leaves, enhancing the overall composition with a touch of botanical elegance. 
Grafting heirloom tomatoes onto disease-resistant rootstock enhances their vigor, maturity, and resilience.

Heirlooms are selected each year by gardeners everywhere for their intense juicy flavors, strange beauty, natural pollination, and to carry on traditions from hundreds of years ago. Unfortunately, heirloom varieties don’t offer much disease resistance. In today’s world, diseases quickly ruin a perfect patch of tomatoes if you don’t offer them any protection. 

Enter rootstock and the world of grafting. If you’re not ready to jump into the world of hybrids or GMO tomatoes, try the age-old method of grafting to decrease pest and disease pressure, increase yields, and continue to enjoy the flavors of heirlooms. They’ll be more vigorous, mature faster, and withstand inclement temperatures and various weather patterns. 

Our favorite heirlooms to graft are Striped German, Cherokee Green, and Abigail. Some seed companies have also introduced hy-loom varieties, which offer the taste and funkiness of heirlooms with the productivity and disease-resistance of hybrids. We’ve been grafting all types of tomatoes for three seasons on our farm, and we’ve never looked back! 

How To Control Disease – General Cultural Tips

Here are a few things you can do to reduce the risk of diseases.

          • Tidy up garden debris and fallen leaves regularly.
          • Keep tools and equipment clean.
          • Prune often and as needed by removing discolored leaves or any that are below an empty truss.
          • Practice proper crop rotation.
          • Select resistant cultivars.
          • Keep weed pressure down, as diseases use them as hosts.
          • Purchase seeds and seedlings only from reputable sources and discard any that you suspect to be diseased.
          • Follow treatment plans if you suspect your plants are diseased, whether that be copper spray or total removal and burning.
          • Graft tomatoes.
          • Amend the soil as needed. All crops are healthier and more able to ward off pests and diseases when the soil is healthy.

Final Thoughts 

In the world of ever-changing climate, early and late frosts, and unexpected weather patterns globally, disease resistance in seeds we grow is important, especially in key summer crops like tomatoes.

Each year, breeders are working to create new hybrids to help gardeners and farmers produce high-quality and great-tasting tomatoes without sacrificing them to disease. Happy, healthy tomato growing!  

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