If you are planning on growing delicious Brandywine tomatoes in your garden this year, you might be wondering how big the plants and fruit will get. That way, you can plan the number of plants and the amount of space you will need for your crop of Brandywine tomatoes.
So, how big do Brandywine tomatoes get? Brandywine tomato plants will grow to a height of 7 to 9 feet (2.1 to 2.7 meters) tall and produce large fruit that weighs 9 to 16 ounces (256 to 454 grams).
Of course, the quality of your fruit (if you get any at all!) depends on the care that you give your tomato plants. Let’s take a closer look at Brandywine tomatoes, including size, growing conditions, and time to maturity.
How Big Do Brandywine Tomatoes Get?
The fruit of a Brandywine tomato plant will grow to a size of 9 to 16 ounces (one pound!). The Brandywine variety is considered a “beefsteak” tomato, making it perfect for sandwiches – a single slice can cover the whole piece of bread!
For more information, check out this information on Brandywine tomatoes from the Bonnie plants website.
A Brandywine tomato plant will grow to a height of 7 to 9 feet (2.1 to 2.7 meters) tall, with a spread of 18 inches (46 centimeters). For more information on growing and caring for Brandywine tomatoes, check out this article from the Burpee website.
The height of Brandywine tomato plants, along with the heavy weight of the fruit, makes it essential to support your plants with stakes, cages, or trellises.
Are Brandywine Tomatoes Determinate or Indeterminate?
Brandywine tomatoes are indeterminate, meaning that their maximum height is not predetermined by their genetics. They will continue to grow taller throughout the season until something kills them, such as a frost or a lack of water and nutrients.
Compare this to determinate tomato varieties, which achieve a certain predetermined height and then stop growing. If you are looking to grow tomatoes in a container indoors, Brandywine and other indeterminate varieties will grow too tall for your purposes.
How Long Does It Take Brandywine Tomatoes To Ripen?
After transplanting into your garden, a Brandywine tomato plant will take between 80 and 100 days to ripen. If you start a Brandywine tomato from seed, it will take about 25 days longer to see mature, ripe fruit on the vine (for a total of 105 to 125 days from seed to ripe fruit).
Since Brandywine tomatoes are an heirloom variety, it is feasible to save the seeds and plant them the following year. For more information, check out my article on how to save seeds.
Unlike hybrid tomato varieties, heirloom tomato varieties will “grow true to type”, meaning that the seeds will produce plants that are similar to the parent plant.
The seeds from hybrid plants may not look anything like the parent plant, and may end up being sterile, unable to produce fruit. If they do produce fruit, it may have poor flavor or quality.
What Do Brandywine Tomatoes Look Like?
The fruit of a Brandywine tomato plant can come in many colors, such as red, orange, yellow, brown, and of course, the signature pink color. Brandywine is a beefsteak tomato variety, meaning that the fruits are large (weighing up to a pound!) and juicy, perfect for slicing onto sandwiches.
A Brandywine tomato plant is unique in that its leave resemble potato leaves, rather than the tomato leaves of its tomato brethren.
According to the University of Nebraska,
“’Brandywine’ is an Amish heirloom tomato, widely believed to be the world’s best-flavored tomato and dating back to 1885. ‘Brandywine’ tomatoes weight up to 1.5 pounds each with firm, clear skin and a light rosy-pink color.https://lancaster.unl.edu/hort/articles/2011/HeirloomTomato.shtml
The plants have an indeterminate (vining) growth habit with foliage resembling potato leaves and will produce tomatoes in 90-100 days from seeding to harvest. Variations of ‘Brandywine’ include ‘Yellow Brandywine’ with golden-yellow fruits, ‘Red Brandywine’ with scarlet-red fruits and ‘Black Brandywine’ with brownish-red fruits.”
For more information, check out this article on heirloom tomatoes from the University of Nebraska.
Are Brandywine Tomatoes Hard To Grow?
Brandywine tomatoes are hard to grow if they are not adapted to your climate. They require full sun, so a shady location will not work for Brandywine tomatoes.
According to the Cooperative Extension Service, the Brandywine tomato variety is “…low-yielding, tends to ripen unevenly, have green shoulders, catface and to crack badly if rainfall catches the ripening fruit at the wrong time.”
For more information, check out this article on Brandywine tomatoes from the Cooperative Extension Service.
Also, the fruit matures in 80 to 100 days, which is on the high end as far as time to maturity for tomato plants. This makes it more difficult to get a good harvest of Brandywine tomatoes. Remember that every day on the vine is another chance for diseases, such as blight, to infect your Brandywine tomato plants.
For more information, check out my article on tomato blight.
Of course, there are other factors to consider when deciding whether to grow Brandywine tomato plants. The quality of care that you give your tomato plants will help to determine how much fruit you get each year. Some of the most important factors are temperature, watering, fertilizing, and pruning.
Temperature For Brandywine Tomatoes
Early fall frosts or late spring frosts can spell death for your Brandywine tomato plants. Their long time to maturity makes this a very real threat, especially if you live in an area with a short growing season.
When temperatures fall below 55 degrees Fahrenheit (13 degrees Celsius) at night, your plants may stop producing fruit. If temperatures drop to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or lower, your Brandywine tomato plants may die.
There are some ways to protect your plants from frost, including the use of row covers. For more information, check out my article on protecting your tomato plants from cold and frost.
On the other extreme, your tomato plants may stop producing fruit if daytime temperatures are over 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees Celsius). In addition, the hot, sticky days of summer can prevent proper pollination due to excessive humidity.
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about high temperatures or humidity levels. Just be sure to insulate your tomato plants by putting a layer of mulch or compost over the topsoil around them.
If you encounter problems with pollination, check out my article on how to pollinate tomato plants by hand.
Watering For Brandywine Tomatoes
Avoid letting the soil stay dry for too long, since uneven watering can lead to blossom end rot in tomatoes. If you find that you have a problem with dry soil, check out my article on how to treat dry soil.
On the other hand, over watering your Brandywine tomato plants (or any plants for that matter) can lead to root rot and eventual death. The best way to decide when to water is to feel the soil with your fingers.
If the soil feels dry 2 or 3 inches below the surface, then go ahead and water. For more information, check out my article on over watering your plants.
Try to water early in the morning, rather than at night, to allow water to soak into the soil. Avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent rot, mold, and diseases.
Fertilizing For Brandywine Tomatoes
Before you plant tomato seeds or transplants in your garden, add some compost to your soil. It will provide organic material and nutrients for your plants as they grow. The best part is that you can make compost yourself from ordinary yard and kitchen waste!
For more information, check out my article on how to make your own compost.
It may be necessary to use fertilizers as a supplement to compost, in order to provide extra nutrients if your soil is lacking. The best way to tell if you need fertilizer is with a soil test.
For more information, check out my article on soil testing.
The soil pH should be between 6.2 and 6.8 – a soil test will also indicate the pH of your soil.
Finally, remember that it is possible to harm or kill your tomato plants by over fertilizing them. For example, too much nitrogen can prevent your tomato plant from producing any fruit.
Pruning For Brandywine Tomatoes
Many gardeners choose to prune off the suckers, or side shoots, of tomato plants as they grow. The result is fewer, but larger, fruits on the vine.
Pruning away the lower leaves and branches of the tomato plant can also help to prevent the spread of disease in your garden. When you remove the lower leaves and branches, there is less chance of dirt splashing up onto leaves due to rain or watering.
Brandywine tomatoes are already large, and tend to produce less fruit than other tomato varieties. For this reason, you may want to skip pruning.
The exception would be the lowest branches on the plant. If you prune those low branches, you can avoid soil-borne diseases during the Brandywine tomato’s very long growing season.
By now, you have a much better idea of how big Brandywine tomatoes get, in terms of both the fruit on the vine and the plant itself. You also know a bit more about the care that is necessary to ensure a healthy crop of Brandywine tomatoes in this year’s garden.
I hope you found this article helpful – if so, please share it with someone else who can use the information. If you have any questions or advice about Brandywine tomatoes, please leave a comment below.
If you want to grow the best tomatoes every year, check out my article on common mistakes to avoid when growing tomatoes.