Tomato 'Rutgers'

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: Rutgers
Additional cultivar information:(aka Jersey, Rutgers Select)
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24-36 in. (60-90 cm)


24-36 in. (60-90 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)

Days to Maturity:

Mid (69-80 days)

Fruit Colors:


Seed Type:


Family heirlooms


Fresh, salad

Fresh, slicing


Disease Resistance:

Fusarium Wilt (F)

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:

Pelham, Alabama

Phoenix, Arizona

Deer, Arkansas

Chico, California

Los Angeles, California

Menifee, California

Byers, Colorado

Denver, Colorado

Miami, Florida

Blairsville, Georgia

Braselton, Georgia

Commerce, Georgia

Dallas, Georgia

Franklin, Georgia

Chicago, Illinois

Mackinaw, Illinois

Shawnee Mission, Kansas

Barbourville, Kentucky

Bethelridge, Kentucky

Baldwin, Louisiana

Baltimore, Maryland

Acton, Massachusetts

Danvers, Massachusetts

Garden City, Michigan

Carthage, Missouri

Rogersville, Missouri

Saint Joseph, Missouri

Saint Louis, Missouri

Omaha, Nebraska

Sparks, Nevada

Riverdale, New Jersey

Buskirk, New York

Hornell, New York

Newark Valley, New York

Troy, New York

Hendersonville, North Carolina

Sherrills Ford, North Carolina

Amelia, Ohio

Portland, Oregon

Elysburg, Pennsylvania

Greer, South Carolina

Jonesville, South Carolina

West Union, South Carolina

Knoxville, Tennessee

La Follette, Tennessee

Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Austin, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Brandy Station, Virginia

Winchester, Virginia

Spokane, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Apr 26, 2021, Dayhut from Batesburg, SC wrote:

Rutgers were the first tomatoes since ever tried.
Back then, you could buy tomatoes in bare root bundles - 25 plants in a bundle.
No single pots.
No stratospheric prices.
Just some scruffy, half dried out tomatoes tied up with a ribbon.
The Rutgers were everything youíve heard about:
Iíve found some more this year and they will go into rotation soon.
I canít wait.


On Aug 29, 2015, geezerpk from West Union, SC wrote:

I bought a 6-pack of seedlings from Ace Hardware in the spring which were labeled just Rutgers so far as I can remember. I'm sure they said determinate as that's what I was looking for as I have limited sunny/level space on our property. The tomatoes took off well and provided some nice tasty fruits, tennis ball or smaller. I fully expected them to give us fairly early flush of fruit then die back, but surprisingly it's late August here in SC and the plants are still healthy looking with new growth and new fruits and blossoms after a layoff of fruiting during the 95ļ temp period. These plants seem to be acting more indeterminate than even the literature I seen describing the indeterminate variety of Rutgers. I've had to go to all manner of supports to keep them under some modicum of contro... read more


On Jun 17, 2014, thewinechairman from Olmos Park, TX wrote:

just picked and ate my 1st rutgers ever! the only one the plant has produced...the plant is now green and vibrant...we have had a weird,crazy summer in san antonio, tx...but our climate is one of the most challenging for growing tomatoes...the tomato had great acids, full-flavour, and balanced...the skin was a little thick but that may be caused by our humid weather...i hope for more production ...enjoyed it w olive oil, white balasamic vinegar and purple basil...any home grown tomato is a million times tastier than any whole paycheck tomato!!!


On Aug 13, 2011, habaneros from Manitou, KY wrote:

Have tried to grow this variety for 2 years in different locations, nursery bought plants. Have not had good success. Fruit is small and have had real disease problems with this one. Since I usually grow about 30 different varieties, Rutgers will dropped from the list.


On Jul 21, 2010, mamato3 from Carthage, MO wrote:

I have about 5 of these plants growing and have been get 3 to 5 tomato a day of these vines for about 2 weeks ive already canned up some salsa. There smaller then what i like but they make up for it in the amount of fruit they produce


On Jun 3, 2010, mkettler from Columbia, MD,
United States wrote:

There are two common Rutgers cultivars that many plant and seed companies don't always clearly distinguish between. It would appear from the comments we have a mix here.

The original Rutgers strain is an indeterminate plant, with FA resistance. Sold today as "Rutgers" or sometimes "Rutgers Select".

Later an improved variety was developed by Rutgers with VFA resistance and a vigorous determinate growth habit. Sold today as "Rutgers VFA", "Rutgers improved" or simply "Rutgers".

Clearly some posters here are reviewing the determinate plant. While others are experiencing the indeterminate plant's lack of verticillium resistance.


On Sep 26, 2009, rbrown974 from Newark Valley, NY wrote:

Developed by Rutgerís University in New Jersey in the 1930ís. At one time Rutgers comprised 70% of all tomatoes grown commercially in the USA. I confess it's the standard by which I judge other varieties. I tried 9 varieties in 2007 (Brandywine, Burpee Delicious, Burpee Longkeeper, Roma, Rutgers, Peron Sprayless, Siberia, Stupice, and Whippersnapper) and could compare them side by side. Rutgers was one of the most vigorous seedlings both in paper cups AND after transplant. It was THE most hardy variety to both frost and sunscald. However, in 2009 it displayed zero resistance to Early Blight. Of 3 varieties I planted in 2009, only Rutgers did I have to pull out by the roots and destroy because the FRUIT was infected. In ordinary years Iíve found the yield (pounds of tomatoes per pla... read more


On Aug 3, 2009, BR_in_VA from Brandy Station, VA wrote:

So far I have picked two tomatoes. I placed a big slice on a sandwich with cheese and mayo and it was heaven. The top of the tomato was a little cat faced. but not so much that I couldn't eat that part. The tomatoes weighed around 12 ounces, a good medium size. The only issue I have with the plants is aphids. I have 8 different varieties of tomatoes but this one is the only one with aphids. I have sprayed water on the new growth but they continue to come back.


On Apr 14, 2009, Wulfsden from Riverdale, NJ (Zone 6a) wrote:

I grow Rutgers Select in 14" plant pots, and trim them to be about 6" high and not much wider than the pot. I use recycled potting soil and Plant Tones Organic fertilizer sprinkling about a level teaspoon about once a week while plant is fruiting. They also get one treatment of liquid seaweed fertilizer when transplanted over whole plant, and one more when they set flower, but only over the roots. Each year I plant one or two RS from seeds. Since they were developed in NJ just a few miles from my home, then, as you would expect, they do very well. I usually get a good number of medium to large tomatoes. It is one of the only two "standard" tomatoes I grow amongst the exotics (the other is Early Girl), so it has to supply most of my hamburger needs. It is a really good regular tomato. No co... read more


On Jan 21, 2009, lssfishhunter from Jonesville, SC (Zone 7b) wrote:

The production is good for this variety. Size is not very large but this variety is dependable for South Carolina. The taste is acidic.


On Jul 21, 2008, marsh0407 from Rapid City, SD wrote:

Excellent tomato for our area. Summer temps can be in the 90++ range with quite low humidities, and overnite drop into the mid to upper 50's.

My altitude is right at 3600 feet. Never has failed to produce for me.

Was developed by a Rutger's scientist in collaboration with Campbell Co. in the late 1930's.


On Sep 29, 2007, lycodad from Hornell, NY (Zone 5a) wrote:

If you've had problems with so called heirloom tomatoes the try this one. My plants were tall on 5' steel cages, disease free, and vigerous growers on sturdy plants. Fruits are slightly larger than baseball, mostly round globe, and delicious (to me slightly tart). My grandfather grew Rutgers in the 1940's & 50's. Research goes back to the early 1930's. A northeast favorite for decades. Some seed variation may occur in cheap generic sources - get yours only from a reliable seed supplier.


On Jul 24, 2007, jupiter9 from Baltimore, MD wrote:

I have two plants in containers on my deck in full sun and they are doing well. I water every day. I haven't encountered any cracking yet.

The skin is a bit thick but even a plastic knife will cut it, and the taste is good -- yes, a little acidic, which suits me fine.

Odd to read of it as indeterminate. The plants I got were labeled as determinate when I bought them, and their growing habit seems to confirm that.


On Sep 26, 2006, Pudgee from Chicago, IL wrote:

I believe the first tomato variety I ever learned the name of was Rutgers...thanks to my Uncle Leonard's raving about their great attributes for years. I have grown them in the past, but have difficulty in finding plants in the Chicago area.
I have a huge problem with aphids going after the hybrids like Big Boys...this year they did not bother the Roma's or the Early Girl's at all but the large hybrids were killed....with even relatively minor infestations. I'm trying to compile a list of tomato plants that are resistant to aphids.


On Aug 18, 2006, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

Good choice for canning. I found more cracking, catfacing and sunscald on Rutgers than Jet Star, but I'd still give it a thumbs-up for the amount of good fruit it's produced.


On Aug 1, 2006, dlnevins from Omaha, NE wrote:

My Rugers is a moderate-sized plant that's been a fairly prolific bearer of medium-sized red tomatoes with a strong, slightly acid flavor. I've seen no foliage diseases or blossom end rot in my garden. Rare fruits do show cracking, and some have been misshapen, but most are perfect round globes. This is a good tomato for a tight space, such as a container.


On Jul 22, 2006, Tomatoholic from Austin, TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

My Rutgers is easily 7' or more. I don't know exactly b/c I've been hacking it down at the grows up thru my netting that is over 6'. The PF says it gets to 36". I don't think that is correct b/c mine is a monster.

But I do like the fact this plant keeps pumping out the maters even in 100+ day after day heat. Softball sized or slightly smaller. They crack a bit up at the stem, but I think the taste is darn good on my salads.


On Jul 10, 2006, passiflora_pink from Central, AL (Zone 8a) wrote:

We had an unusually hot summer but my Rutgers fared worse than others. They were prone to cracking and the flavor was not anything special. I won't grow them again.


On Jun 9, 2006, kyle_and_erika from Batesville, AR wrote:

Rutgers is a real favorite in my family - I feel obligated to grow it, as my great-grandmother grew them in the same garden spot I grow in today. And with all the new research and breeding techniques and "super tomatoes" dominating the average home gardens today it still holds its own, even without being spectacular.

Another attribute of Rutger's is its dependability. Here in Arkansas lots of varieties wont produce at all due to the hot, humid, drought stricken summers. Rutgers never fails. You get tomatoes no matter how bad the weather is in any given year. A pretty valuable asset in my humble opinion.

As mention by Big_Red, they are great canners and great juicers. They also offer some real bite. I have made the inside of my mouth raw eating Rutgers on... read more


On Jan 17, 2006, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I tried this 2 different years in 2 different places, and was not happy with the flavor. It was too sour for my family.


On Dec 31, 2004, roxroe from Winchester, VA (Zone 6b) wrote:

Now don't get me wrong - I really like the flavor of this variety and have grown it for many many years but have grown tired of its proclivity towards disease. It wilts and looks beleagered by July. I am shopping for a new variety. My parents always grew this type and I don't remember their having the disease problem.


On Sep 26, 2004, winter_unfazed from Rural Webster County, MO (Zone 6a) wrote:

Plant does not branch out much. Fruit grows rapidly. Although it is often said that they never crack, the Missouri weather extremes sometimes cause them to indeed crack.


On Jul 28, 2004, Big_Red from Bethelridge, KY (Zone 6a) wrote:

Average taste, blemish free fruit. A very productive plant, a great canner.