Tomato 'Box Car Willie'

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: Box Car Willie
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6-8 ft. (1.8-2.4 m)


36-48 in. (90-120 cm)

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Seed Collecting:

Ferment seeds before storing

Growing Habit:


Fruit Shape:


Fruit Size:

Medium (under one pound)

Days to Maturity:

Mid (69-80 days)

Fruit Colors:


Seed Type:

Created heirlooms


Fresh, slicing


Disease Resistance:

Verticillium Wilt (V)

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 is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Springdale, Arkansas

West Fork, Arkansas

Chico, California

Oceanside, California

Valdosta, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Madison, Illinois

Bethelridge, Kentucky

Brodhead, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

North Waterford, Maine

Oxford, Maine

Omaha, Nebraska

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Elba, New York

Ronkonkoma, New York

Troy, Ohio

Vinton, Ohio

Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Norristown, Pennsylvania

Houston, Texas

Salt Lake City, Utah

Pennsboro, West Virginia

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Gardeners' Notes:


On Jan 25, 2019, jimwil22 from rhinelander, WI (Zone 4a) wrote:

Good taste, productive


On Aug 16, 2015, Gulmer from Salt Lake City, UT wrote:

Growing the Box Car Willie for the first time here in Utah, Wasatch Front. I have only 1plant and it's growing very well, lots of fruit, getting very tall, not rippening yet( mid August). Love the name of this tomato.


On Mar 23, 2013, zark from Elysburg, PA (Zone 5b) wrote:

2012 was the first time I grew BCW. I had 19 varieties planted and BCW was my choice for best tasting that year. It started producing mid to late season and even made it through the first light frost. I do spray for blight and it did not suffer from any I could see. Most of the other varieties did not hold up to the L.B. At the end of the season they were the healthiest plants I had. I plan to give this tomato a larger percentage of my garden in 2013. This year I am also going to try Mule Team, which I have read is very similar.


On Jul 31, 2012, Calalily from Deep South Coastal, TX (Zone 10a) wrote:

One of the weakest tomato varieties I've ever grown. Out of one hundred plants, maybe two edible fruits.


On Apr 14, 2011, BUFFY690 from Prosperity, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

Growing 2011 first to germinate out of my second crop.


On Jul 15, 2010, cottonpicker from Audubon, PA (Zone 6b) wrote:

A very tasty & reasonably productive tomato. First year for me...but I definitely WILL have it back again.


On Jul 31, 2008, IO1 from Waaaay Down South, GA wrote:

This tomato grew well for me in an Earth Box, although it was a bit slow starting with production. It's definitely worth growing again.


On Apr 5, 2007, nwl from Oxford, ME (Zone 5a) wrote:

Box Car Willie grows very well for me. It is, however, very late and does not produce fruit until September. The yield is on par with other late varieties. It is quite tolerant of the tomato diseases that we have here. Appears to prefer very wet soil. While some tomatoes do poorly in wet conditions, it seems to grow best in mud and an inch or so of standing water. Plants grown in very wet conditions often grow well over 10 feet long. If grown in containers, Box Car Willie overwinters extremely well, even in a 50F area with only a small amount of light.


On Feb 24, 2007, greenbrain from Madison, IL (Zone 6b) wrote:

I tried this variety summer 2006 when our area suffered from severe drought & heat throughout July. Even my typically prolific hybrid variety failed to set fruit during the heat, but started producing after the heat passed. BCW never made a comeback. If I had more garden space, I'd give it another try.

May 2011: I tried this tomato from seed again 2008 & it self sowed 2009. I saved the seed & grew it again 2010 & this year. I find it dependable, prolific, & easy to grow from saved seed. It's my most reliable variety now.


On Jul 19, 2006, Anitabryk2 from Long Island, NY (Zone 6b) wrote:

This plant wintersowed nicely. Plants are HUGE.


On Aug 11, 2004, Kathy_T from Santa Clara, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

First year to grow this and I'm very happy with the results. The plant is very large and spreading and is just loaded with fruit.


On Aug 7, 2004, Big_Red from Bethelridge, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Has done very well for me this year in KY, although we've had an excellent growing year for tomatoes. Moderate production with good taste. Will raise again next year.


On May 31, 2004, twobells from Rocklin, CA wrote:

Have tried this one for several years here in the Sacramento Valley, California (U.S.) and it has been a complete flop: lowest yields of any variety that I have ever grown, and that includes over a hundred varieties. Save your money!


On Nov 22, 2003, Farmerdill from Augusta, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

This is another of the highly recommended heirlooms that failed to survive past blossoming for three consecutive years. It is highly susceptible to Georgia diseases including nematodes. Since I never got a single tomato, I can't comment on taste.