Tomato 'Mortgage Lifter'

Lycopersicon lycopersicum

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
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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

Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Characteristics:

Unknown - Tell us

Water Requirements:

Unknown - Tell us

Where to Grow:

Unknown - Tell us


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

Long Branch, New Jersey

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

Cross, South Carolina

North Augusta, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas (2 reports)

Houston, Texas

Liberty Hill, Texas

Pasadena, Texas

Ogden, Utah

Alexandria, Virginia

Radford, Virginia (2 reports)

Roanoke, Virginia

Troy, Virginia (2 reports)

University Place, Washington

Charleston, West Virginia

Falling Waters, West Virginia

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Sep 25, 2016, Tak04 from Long Branch, NJ wrote:

This was my 1st summer growing mortgage lifter tomato. I planted 4 seeds together inside in spring, all of which took well, so I let them grow & I planted them together as 1 plant. I have to tell you - what a plant! It did very well for me here at the NJ shore and is producing lovely, large pink fruit. I planted it in full sun and provided plenty of water during our very hot 2016 summer. I don't add extra fertilizer, but I do trim the plant back occassionally or it will topple over (& i have it double staked). It's a very large, tall plant that produces many large fruit, so it is a heavy plant. I'm glad I only have the one. It is enough for my family of 3 with plenty to share. It is a fun plant to grow & will definitely be growing it again but with much better & stronger support.


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?

Anyhow, to update, the plant never did much and I dug it up. I think I got maybe one or two small stunted tomatoes off of it. Will have to try again...


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.


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.


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 i... read more


On Sep 11, 2011, GardenQuilts from Easton, PA (Zone 6b) 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.


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.


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.


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!!!


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

A must in everyone's tomato garden


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.


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

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


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


On Jul 15, 2006, berrygirl from Braselton, GA (Zone 8a) 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!


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... read more


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.