Tomato blight, properly called late blight disease, can kill a plant within a week. It’s the same fungus that causes potato blight, so if you find blight on your spuds, it’s extremely likely it will appear on your tomatoes, particularly those that are grown outdoors.
Spread by airborne spores that can be carried over 30 miles on the wind, blight is most prevalent when conditions are warm and wet. Infection needn’t be inevitable, however, if you take steps to avoid the disease. Before the growing season starts, begin by choosing seed of resilient varieties, then follow our tips on growing and watering tomatoes to boost the chance of a healthy harvest.
Cherry tomatoes tend to be less likely to catch blight than beefsteaks, because they ripen earlier and are often harvested before blight hits. In addition, some varieties have been bred with a degree of blight tolerance – they may still catch the disease, but are able to survive and yield some healthy fruit.
We’ve picked a bumper crop of varieties to help you on the road to blight-free tomatoes…
This unusual cordon variety produces strawberry-shaped, cherry tomatoes that have a super-sweet flavour. It’s early to ripen, and shows some resistance to blight.
A blight-tolerant cordon tomato, reliable, and resistant to fusarium and verticillium wilt. It produces a heavy crop of medium-sized, deep red fruit with an excellent flavour.
A superbly flavoured cordon variety, bearing a prolific crop of medium-sized fruit. Blight tolerant and resistant to fusarium and verticillium wilt, it’s best grown under glass.
This cordon variety has some blight tolerance, and resistance to fusarium and verticillium wilt. ‘Ferline’ bears heavy crops of tasty, medium-sized fruit.
Bush variety ‘Latah’ produces very early, large, cherry tomatoes, with excellent flavour. Its sprawling habit and well-spaced leaves help fruits ripen before blight strikes.
Bush variety ‘Legend’ holds the RHS Award of Garden Merit and has some blight tolerance. A beefsteak variety with heavy crops of large, it produces almost seedless fruit with superb flavour.
A vigorous variety with lots of sweet, round cherry fruits and a trailing habit, ‘Lizzano’ is perfect for pots and hanging baskets. It also has good blight tolerance.
This very blight-tolerant variety produces masses of bright red, sweet cherry tomatoes. ‘Losetto’ is ideal for growing in pots.
Bush tomato ‘Red Alert’ bears a lot of small, sweet, cherry tomatoes. Its sparse leaves reduce humidity and fruits ripen very early, so are often harvested before blight strikes.