Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Tomato
Lycopersicon lycopersicum 'Mortgage Lifter'

Family: Solanaceae (so-lan-AY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Lycopersicon (ly-koh-PER-see-kon) (Info)
Species: lycopersicum (ly-koh-PER-see-kum) (Info)
Cultivar: Mortgage Lifter

» View all varieties of Tomatoes

3 vendors have this plant for sale.

22 members have or want this plant for trade.

6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)
8-10 ft. (2.4-3 m)

24-36 in. (60-90 cm)
36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Seed Collecting:
Allow unblemished fruit to ripen; clean and dry seeds
Ferment seeds before storing
Properly cleaned, seed can be successfully stored

Growing Habit:

Fruit Shape:

Fruit Size:
Medium (under one pound)
Large (over one pound)

Days to Maturity:
Mid (69-80 days)
Late (more than 80 days)

Fruit Colors:

Seed Type:
Commercial heirloom

Fresh, salad
Fresh, slicing

Disease Resistance:
Fusarium Wilt (F)
Verticillium Wilt (V)
Root Nematodes (N)

Leaf Type:
Regular Leaf

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There are a total of 11 photos.
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16 positives
4 neutrals
3 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Neutral CaliforniaGuy On Jul 17, 2014, CaliforniaGuy from Lakewood, CA wrote:

This is the first year I've tried this variety. The plant didn't do too well in my backyard (stunted looking), maybe because it is sandwiched between two other plants in a tight space. That or perhaps it doesn't like high heat? Production is pretty low so far, but the taste is well above average. I will try again in a different part of the yard, if the plant is more productive next time I might bump this review up to a positive rating.

Positive nwh On Sep 8, 2012, nwh from Chicago, IL wrote:

I planted 15 varieties of tomato this year, mostly heirlooms and Mortgage Lifter was one of the best. Will definitely grow it again. It has an excellent flavor, a sweet pink. Very huge and juicy and lots of tomatoes per plant. Still producing. Held up better in the heat than most of the others. I also have to say, these were the most picture perfect-looking, beautiful tomatoes I grew, a bright red-pink color, no cracks or pests or anything. These were the ones I gave away to friends.

Neutral kevinitis On Feb 27, 2012, kevinitis from Ogden, UT wrote:

I grew this variety in 2011 but I did not have much success. This variety does not really do well in my Northern Utah climate in my loamy sandy soil. I had problems with cracking, my yeild was not very high, and fruit quality was average. I think this would be a good tomato in a southern climate in more loam to clay soils.

Positive Cyberpotato On Jan 14, 2012, Cyberpotato from Hermann, MO (Zone 6b) wrote:

I have grown this with good success about a dozen times in central Missouri. Itís a very tall upright indeterminate best suited to staking. I train this variety to two leaders, never more than three. A warm weather tomato, I donít try to get them out super early or the lower flowers will abort. Somewhat of a mild but well balanced Pink Ponderosa type flavor. Flavors up well in the summer heat. The heat and humidity donít seem to stop them from setting until it gets ridiculously hot. Watch your blossoms for deformities, I often pick those off.

It is very thin skinned and has a low shelf life. German Johnson is similar but less thin skinned, and is a better candidate for roadside sales. Not a good candidate for high tunnels as it tends to lose its flavor indoors and in cool weather.

Positive GardenQuilts On Sep 11, 2011, GardenQuilts from Pocono Mountains, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This was my first tomato to ripen this year. I had large, tasty tomatoes all summer. I will grow this one again next year. My neighbors have asked me for seeds so that they can grow it also.

Neutral Chixulub On Aug 4, 2010, Chixulub from Gardner, KS wrote:

This is my first year growing heirlooms, and from descriptions I'd read, this was one of the varieties I was most excited about. However, there's something missing in the flavor (or something that is there that I don't like but can't put my finger on). After slicing my second one this evening, I'm pretty sure whatever else comes off that vine is going into sauce and that Mortgage Lifter won't be making an encore performance in my garden next year.

Positive Montani On May 26, 2010, Montani from Falling Waters, WV wrote:

I noted that on several pages about the Mortgage Lifter tomato West Virginia wasn't listed as a state where it had been grown. The Mortgage Lifter was developed by a West Virginian and the state cultural magazine had a story with original pictures of his crop included. I grow them every year as a large percentage of West Virginians do. They grow from 8' to 10' in my garden and are loaded with great tasting large tomatoes. Best of all, since they are open pollinated and not hybrid you can save the seeds from a couple of your season's best tomatoes for next year's crop. The "Radiator Charlie" name used in many catalogs and articles is almost never heard in the very county where the tomato was bred. We just call it the Mortgage Lifter.

Positive gardenbugde On Feb 18, 2010, gardenbugde from Smyrna, DE (Zone 7a) wrote:

I grew this for the first time in 2009 and had great success! I had a problem with BER for a while, then after I gave them a dose of calcium, they were fine! I stuck a plant in the compost heap and from that plant I got my biggest tomato--- over 1 1/2 pounds! These are yummy! Remember that they don't get brilliant red, but have a pink tinge to them when ripe. If you wait too long, they will get mushy. They are on my must grow list for 2010!!!

Positive Breamfishn On Aug 16, 2009, Breamfishn from Blairsville, GA wrote:

A must in everyone's tomato garden

Negative jaspington On Aug 6, 2009, jaspington from Portland, OR wrote:

Last summer I tried the mortgage lifter with zero results. I tried again this summer but once again no tomatoes. All my other varieties produced great results, but not one piece of fruit from the m.l.

Positive csgarden On Aug 5, 2009, csgarden from Roanoke, VA wrote:

Excellent tomato! Produced a lot of large, delicious tomatoes! Will grow more plants next year.

Neutral MikeyJoe On Sep 10, 2006, MikeyJoe from Clarksville, IN wrote:

I finally gave in and tried Mortgage Lifter this year. While it is a great looking, smooth Tomato the flavor was not all that I had hoped.
I prefer a darker fruit with a stronger flavor but this would probably appeal to anyone who prefers the lighter flavored maters

Positive berrygirl On Jul 15, 2006, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 7b) wrote:

This is my 1st yr growing this tomato. It has very vigorous plants and the toms are huge and very pretty and blemish-free. Yields so far ar good and the plants are presently loaded down. I like the flavor a lot- not too tart and it sure makes a great 'mater sandwich. Plants/fruits seem to not be fazed by our heat but with our drought I have had to supplemental water.

I def will grow these again!

Positive kyle_and_erika On Jun 8, 2006, kyle_and_erika from Batesville, AR wrote:

This is a great tomato on a great plant. The vines are more vigorous than a sugar filled 2 year old. The vines also have plenty of "mutations", e.g. : conjoined branches, double and even triple flowers, blooms ocassionally form ladders like a cherry tomato, ect.

The tomatoes themselves are huge, delicious and plentiful. Last year I did many blind taste tests - using my family and friends like guinea pigs. Mortgage lifter won every blind taste test - beating brandywine and a few other old "champs". But in taste tests without a blind fold it didnt do as well - I think the size of the fruits made people think that they were bland, I dont really know.

Yield is also just off the charts. We grow for our sole source of income so yield is very important to us. We wont be without it - a true beast.

Positive 82840 On May 25, 2006, 82840 from Manvel, TX wrote:

does well here in manvel tx.upper gulf coast but i find it a little weak on old time flavor.prolific and large.

Positive JefeQuicktech On Oct 25, 2005, JefeQuicktech from Moorhead, MN (Zone 4a) wrote:

If I had to choose only one tomato to grow, it would be Mortagage Lifter. The production is always very good. The taste is fantastic. It is so meaty for a big tomato. It has very few seeds for its size. You can use it as a juicey slicer or for salsas. It is simply the best and most universal tomato that I have discovered so far.

Negative hurono On Sep 10, 2005, hurono from Troy, OH wrote:

Overrated!! Compared to the German Johnson that it came from I thought it lacked flavor. So many other reds that are better. It is a great story but apparently too many other tomatoes are around that taste better.

Negative suzy_qu3 On Dec 1, 2004, suzy_qu3 from East Chatham, NY wrote:

What a waste of two dollars. The four pack I got produced nothing! Granted they were a hair late because of a health issue I had but my other late comers did fine.

Positive maxcastree On Nov 20, 2004, maxcastree from Melbourne
Australia wrote:

I have grown this species hydroponically in Melbourne, Australia in a small backyard hothouse, with quite spectacular results. Photos supplied by me speak for themselves, and this variety is in my opinion a lovely good tasting beefsteak type and I would not hesitate to grow them again next season.

Positive Farmerdill On Nov 5, 2003, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

One of the best of the large pink beefsteaks. In my experience second only to the Giant Belgium. Taste is matched only by the Giant Belgium and the ancient Purple Ponderosa. It does not grow misshapen cat-faced fruit like the Ponderosa. It is a relatively smooth tomato. It is a good yielding plant and tolerates nematodes and foliar diseases as well any of this type. There are many pink beefsteaks that I simly cannot grow here, but this one does well. And for those who ask, Yes I have grown the pink Brandywine and still prefer the Mortgage Lifter.

Positive troy On Jun 13, 2003, troy from Hanover, PA (Zone 6a) wrote:

Have had good sucess with this variety even in dry years it is very productive. The fruit is meaty with a very good flavor. Because of it's productivity, and the quality of the fruit, this varity is sugested for market growers

Positive MaryvilleRick On Jun 8, 2003, MaryvilleRick from Maryville, MO wrote:

This is the first year I have grown this variety but I had so many people talk about how well this tomato grows in our area and that it has a great taste for huge tomato that I had to find it for this year.

Positive tomatoguy54 On Apr 27, 2003, tomatoguy54 from Murfreesboro, TN wrote:

I grew these for the first time lasy year and they were huge and tasty. The standard variety is actually pinkish-red and are borne on a huge sturdy plant. These averaged about 21 ounces for me last year with several around 2 pounds. The tomatoes were very tasty with a good sharp bite. This year I am growing them again along with Mortgage Lifter Red.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Batesville, Arkansas
Fayetteville, Arkansas
Springdale, Arkansas
Goleta, California
Lakewood, California
Martinez, California
Santee, California
Smyrna, Delaware
Keystone Heights, Florida
Miami, Florida
Augusta, Georgia (2 reports)
Blairsville, Georgia
Braselton, Georgia
Chicago, Illinois
Madison, Illinois
Troy, Illinois
Clarksville, Indiana
Gardner, Kansas
Bethelridge, Kentucky
Ijamsville, Maryland
Fairhaven, Massachusetts
Galesburg, Michigan
Hermann, Missouri
Omaha, Nebraska
Newton, New Jersey
Watchung, New Jersey
Buffalo, New York
East Chatham, New York
Dudley, North Carolina
Wake Forest, North Carolina
Yanceyville, North Carolina
Akron, Ohio
Barberton, Ohio
Canton, Ohio
Troy, Ohio
Vinton, Ohio
Portland, Oregon
Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania
Hanover, Pennsylvania
North Augusta, South Carolina
Knoxville, Tennessee
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Austin, Texas
Fort Worth, Texas
Houston, Texas
Liberty Hill, Texas
Pasadena, Texas
Ogden, Utah
Radford, Virginia (2 reports)
Roanoke, Virginia
Troy, Virginia (2 reports)
University Place, Washington
Charleston, West Virginia
Falling Waters, West Virginia

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