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What is an F-1 Tomato?

Updated on March 11, 2014
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I inherited my love of gardening from my mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

Sungold F1 hybrid

Sungold cherry tomato F-1 first generation hybrid.
Sungold cherry tomato F-1 first generation hybrid.

Expect Vigor and Uniform Size

The term F-1 hybrid means the first generation. An F-1 tomato is created by crossing two different varieties. The stable parent varieties produce a new, uniform seed variety with specific characteristics from each parent.

For example, one parent variety may have a strong disease resistance. The other parent variety may have specific flavor characteristics.

The designation F-1 tells us that the tomato plant, for example a 'Sungold Tomato', is a first-generation, hybrid. You can expect better-than-average vigor and uniform size with higher yields.

Seed saved from F-1 plants will not come true if replanted and may revert to some ancestral traits in the second generation. Or, hybrid seeds may be sterile and will not grow when replanted.

To produce consistent F-1 hybrids, the original cross must be repeated each season. That is one reason they are expensive to produce.

The alternative to F1 hybrids are open-pollinated tomatoes. OP plants can self-pollinate or cross-pollinate. Most tomato plants self pollinate. Collecting seed will produce plants and fruits the same as the parent.

Unlike the hybrids, you can save heirloom seed. All heirloom varieties are open pollinated, but not all open pollinated varieties are heirlooms. The definition of “heirloom” depends on who is answering the question.

Thompson Morgan introduced American and UK gardeners to Sungold.
Thompson Morgan introduced American and UK gardeners to Sungold. | Source

About Sungold hybrid cherry tomatoes

Sungold cherry tomatoes are known for their sweet taste and bright tangerine-orange color. These sweet little things are just over an inch across. I have friends who won't grow any other cherry tomato.

Plants start producing early and bear until the first frost. Stake these indeterminate plants and they will grow over seven feet tall. Tomatoes grow in bunches or trusses with 10 to 15 orange fruits.

Resistant to fusarium wilt and tobacco mosaic virus. Expect fruit 65 days after transplant. 'Sungold' was introduced in 1992 by Thompson and Morgan.


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