Rare Exotic Plants For The Backyard Garden – Part 6 – Weird, Wacky, Wonderful Tomatoes

Amazing Additions For “Tantalizing Tomato” Lovers

I’ve got some uncommonly colorful and outlandish varieties of tomato to share with you!  I’ve got ‘em in black, white, yellow, green – and even in zebra colors – plus one that is just plain weirdly shaped.A happy mutant tomato.

These are not just randomly occurring mutants – they are rare varieties that have been bred to thrive well in their specific locations around the world.

You may have heard of a few of these tomatoes – but, I bet that most of them are new to you.  And, they will pique your curiosity when it comes to taste and growing possibilities.

Just about all of these tomatoes are heirlooms and / or organic – no pesticides used.

Go to my “how to grow tomatoes” page for all the ins and outs to successfully create top quality ‘mators in your garden!

So, let’s get on with it, then…


Black Tomatoes

 Cherokee Purple

Burpee Cherokee Purple tomato seeds.

Even though this variety is called, “Cherokee Purple”, the skins are a very dark purple – almost black.  I am told it was handed down from Cherokee Indian gardeners living in Tennessee.  The flesh is a dark auburn red.

The sweet, smoky flavors will linger in your mouth a little longer than most other tomatoes.  Large, indeterminate tomatoes – 5 inches wide and over 3 inches tall – develop on huge vines.  The closest tomato for comparison taste would be a Brandywine.

Burpee offers them in a 50 seed packet.


Black CherryBurpee Black Cherry tomato seeds.

Ripening, these 1 inch perfectly round cherry tomatoes go from the standard green to a dark reddish brown with a blackish tinge.  They are low acid – with a sweet, smoky taste.  The late Vince Sapp bred these in Florida and, they grew quickly in popularity across the U.S.A.

These indeterminate tomatoes are best found in packs of 30 seeds from Burpee.


Black From TulaFrozen Seed Capsules Black From Tula tomato seeds.

Black From Tula tomatoes have a salty, smoky flavor.  These are Ukrainian heirloom tomatoes that grow 4 to 5 inches wide – weighing about three-quarters of a pound – and, they are considered one of the largest in the black tomato group.

Frozen Seed Capsules has them in packs of 10 seeds each.


Black Krim

Marde Ross & Company Black Krim tomato seeds.

Hailing from Russia’s Isle of Krim – in the Black Sea – this tomato is another indeterminate variety of the group of black tomatoes.  Colors range from dark reddish purple to completely black with some hints of green or brown.

This is a difficult tomato to describe.  At times, the taste is sweet – with a slight saltiness.  Other times, it seems salty – with a slight sweetness.  I guess it depends on what I’m drinking – and what my mouth is expecting.  But, either way, their flavor is very powerful!

Averaging a half to three-quarters of a pound, I find that Marde Ross & Company is the most reliable Black Krim seed supplier.


Black Sea ManBlack Sea Man tomato seeds.

These are very round, deep maroon tomatoes – from the heart of Russia –  that have taste hints of pineapple and other tropical fruits.  I love these sliced and sitting on top of a juicy cheeseburger or adorning a salad!

Mature fruit averages half a pound – but, they can easily reach a full pound before you know it!

Frozen Seed Capsules is the place I go for these gems.  Black Sea Man seeds come in packs of 20 – and are truly rare, organic, heirloom seeds!


Black Tomato Combo – 5 packs of seedsSeed Needs - 5 pack Black Tomato Seed Collection.

All of these black tomatoes will grow well in most gardens – in the standard tomato growing hardiness zones.

For a sneak peek into each of them, try the 5 pack Black Tomato Seed Collection from Seed Needs.  You will get packs of Cherokee Purple, Black Cherry, Black From Tula, Black Krim, and Black Sea Man.  Four of the packs contain 25 seeds each and the fifth pack contains about 20 seeds.  They are billed as some of the ugliest tomatoes available – but, also some of the tastiest!



White Tomatoes

Italian IceBurpee Italian Ice Tomato Seeds.

This is a beautiful one inch diameter – white – or, sometimes creamy, light yellow – indeterminate tomato with tons of flavor!  They will literally melt in your mouth as you enjoy their mild tasting, juicy sweetness!

I choose Burpee for their packs of 30 Italian Ice Tomato Seeds.


Yellow Tomatoes

Candy’s Old YellowCandy’s Old Yellow seeds in a set of 5 packs.

These pale yellow heirlooms have a mildly sweet and fruity flavor with a hint of a tomato acid tang.  These determinate tomatoes mature into 3 to 4 inch diameter beauties – and are considered one of the best tasting yellow tomatoes on the planet!

I buy Candy’s Old Yellow seeds in a set of 5 packs – 25 seeds in each pack.


Yellow PearBurpee Yellow Pear Tomato seeds.

This tomato certainly is an exception to “duck theory” – you know – walks like a duck – talks like a duck – must be a duck.  Because, it looks like a pear – but, it is a tomato – and tastes like a tomato.

This small, indeterminate heirloom has a mild, tangy flavor – perfect for making tomato preserves and hors d’oeuvres at a summer shindig.

Check out Burpee – for the best Yellow Pear Tomato seeds – a full packet of 100 seeds.


Zebra Tomatoes

Say what?  Zebra tomatoes???  Is there such a thing?

Well sho’ ‘nuff, cupcake!  And, here they are – lots of Zebra tomato types:


Black ZebraHirts Seed Black Zebra seeds.

The skin is very dark purple / mahogany – with dark green streaks.  The flesh is a warm, burgundy.  And, the flavor?  Ah, the flavor!  Picture this – subtle hints of smoky sweetness – typical of the black tomato group – of which this baby is an offshoot.

Packs of 15 Black Zebra seeds are available from Hirts Seed.


Green Zebra

These are bright green tomatoes with cute yellow stripes rounding out to between 1.5 and 2.5 inches wide.  The juicy flesh has a very typical tomato flavor that is both sweet and tart when ripe.

I have 2 trusted sources for Green Zebra tomatoes:

Burpee Green Zebra tomato seeds.Stonysoil Seed Company Green Zebra tomato seeds.








Burpee – with packets of 25 seeds each.

Stonysoil Seed Company – who hand pack their packets of 30+ seeds “with heart and care.”


Red ZebraBurpee Red Zebra tomato seeds.

Red Zebras are cherry red with light yellow / orange streaks.  The flesh is a bit darker red – almost maroon.  Producing a characteristically tart taste, these colorful indeterminates are supposedly a naturally occurring marriage between a Green Zebra and some other unknown type of red tomato – and mature to between 2 and 3 inches wide.

Burpee’s Red Zebra packets of 30 seeds promise to produce copious, high yielding plants.


Yellow Zebra

Burpee Hillbilly Heirloom tomato seeds.

This is actually called a “Hillbilly Heirloom Yellow Slicing Tomato.”

I probably could have just put this one under “yellow tomatoes” but, with its yellowish orange skin and red streaked flesh, I decided to include it in the list of Zebra tomatoes.

The unique flavor is uncommonly sweet – to the point of being fruity – with hints of apricot.  Being very low acid, crack resistant and very heat tolerant, makes this tomato a good choice for “hillbilly” gardens like mine.  The indeterminate vines can get up to 10 feet high if you let them!  Make sure you have a sturdy trellis for them!

These monsters out of the hills of West – by God – Virginia – can get up to 2 pounds – imagine that!

I get my Hillbilly Heirloom 30 seed packets from Burpee.



Weird Tomatoes

I just had to add this one to the list:


PlenTree Santorini Tomato seeds.

Originating on Santorini Island – in Greece – this tiny thick skinned super sweet cherry tomato is famous throughout Europe.  They say that their unique taste is due to the abnormal growing conditions on the island.  I say, the taste is made by any gardener who grows them ‘mators – and, I’m living proof of it!

Referred to – locally – as “Tomataki”, Santorini tomatoes look more like little red cherries than tomatoes – they are so small.  When tourists are told that they are indeed tomatoes, they think that the Greek residents on the island are pulling their leg!

PlenTree is my go-to place for Santorini Tomato seeds – 5 packs – each containing 25 seeds.



Special Combination Pack

Seed Needs Special Combination Pack.

Seed Needs has a bonus offer that they call their Rainbow Tomato Mixture – featuring more than a dozen unique and rare varieties of tomato seeds.  Actually, it’s one more than a “baker’s dozen.”  (Hint:  Since a baker’s dozen is “13”, one more than that would be 14.)

Included are:

  • Ace 55
  • Beefsteak
  • Black From Tula
  • Black Krim
  • Black Sea Man
  • Cherokee Purple
  • German Hohnson
  • Pink Brandywine
  • Red Brandywine
  • Red Cherry
  • Red Zebra
  • Tiny Tim
  • Yellow Brandywine
  • Yellow Pear

This combo pack gives you a colorful mixture of tomatoes in red, green, brown, yellow, and multi-colored versions.



Whew!  That surely was a pile of tomatoes to gander at!  What did you think?  I hope you enjoyed reading about them as much as I enjoyed writing about them – and growing them!

Comment below or email me if you’ve a mind to!


Jim, the Lifelong Gardener


10 thoughts on “Rare Exotic Plants For The Backyard Garden – Part 6 – Weird, Wacky, Wonderful Tomatoes

  1. jessetoikkanen Reply

    Great and informative article about weird but yet wonderful tomatoes! I have seen only a few of these before I read your article but most of these looks pretty weird but very delicious! I will take a further look at black from tula and krim tomatoes, as these would be nice to add to my home greenhouse. Most of my plants are normal ones. Besides some specific strains of bananas more than 95% of our bananas are just one similar strain so I wanted to test something different.

    • Jim Reply

      Hi Jesse,

      Black From Tula and Black Krim are excellent choices to grow.  But, don’t neglect the Italian Ice and the Hillbilly Heirloom – both of which are tasty additions, too!


  2. Henry Reply

    Hi Jim! I’m really surprised about all these weird/wonderful tomatoes. I had seen some of them but most were completely new for me. The one I liked the most was the Italian Ice and I’ll check out the 30 Italian Ice Tomato Seeds.

    The one that surprised me most was Santorini. And I would have also thought that Greek residents on the island were joking. Thanks for this very interesting post!

    • Jim Reply

      Hi Henry,

      The white Italian Ice tomatoes are an excellent choice!

      With respect to the Santorini tomatoes, I, too, would have been hard to convince that the Greek locals weren’t joking – because, all of my Greek friends are joke masters!


  3. Sharon Reply

    Wow! That’s a lot of tomatoes. And I only knew one, that is tomato 😉 Actually, I saw Santorini tomato on a cooking show a long time ago. I remember this for its shape and small in size. I may not be growing them but I love reading anything on vegetables especially cooking herbs. 

    Thanks for sharing, Jim.

    • Jim Reply

      Hi Sharon,

      You’re quite welcome!  These tomatoes may be unusual – but, they are tasty additions to anyone’s garden!  You should give a few of them at try next season.


  4. grea8J Reply

    Wow! Nature is really amazing with all these varieties that are available for us. I’m actually surprised to know that there are also white and yellow tomatoes. I have only seen red and black tomatoes. The type grown in my place is the beefsteak and cherry type. This is absolutely good to know. Thanks Jim.

    • Jim Reply

      If you’re surprised about white and yellow tomatoes, you could also be surprised to find out that there are pink and orange tomatoes, too!

      Tomatoes have been bred in all shapes, colors, and sizes – and that doesn’t even consider all the mutants that we all see every year during our tomato growing season!


  5. Edward Reply

    Wow thank you this is very interesting. I didn’t know you could get tomatoes with a smoky taste. The Black Sea man tomatoes are interesting because I didn’t know Tomatoes could have a fruity or pineapple flavor.
    I will bookmark this page because these would make great gifts for my aunt. She is always growing various kinds of tomatoes but she’s never mentioned any of these, especially not the white tomatoes.
    The yellow zebra tomato looks really good.
    Thank you very much for all this information about tomatoes. So is this every kind of tomato that exists or are there still others? Also I like the one with a little nose and a face on it.

    • Jim Reply

      Hi Edward,

      Smoky tasting ‘mators are great on a grilled hamburger.  They are just as tasty as the pineapple flavored tomatoes!

      I’m sure your aunt will appreciate more than a few of these peculiar tomato strains.  Let me know which ones she likes the best.

      To use an old saying – there are more varieties of tomatoes than you could shake a stick at!


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