Lycopersicon esculentum 'Sungold'
Common Name: tomato 
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Solanaceae
Zone: 10 to 12
Height: 4.00 to 5.00 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 3.00 feet
Bloom Time: Flowers not showy
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Suggested Use: Annual, Vegetable
Flower: Insignificant
Fruit: Showy, Edible
Tolerate: Rabbit


Easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained garden soils in full sun. Prefers moist, humusy, deep, fertile loams. Select varieties that are resistant to verticillium (“V”) and fusarium (“F”) wilts. Start indoors in spring from seed 5-6 weeks before last frost date or purchase starter plants in cell packs for planting outside after last frost date. Seed can be sown directly in larger patio containers outside around the last frost date. For large plantings of standard size tomatoes, consider planting in rows that are 4-5’ apart. Space plants every 2-4’ within each row, depending on type. Plants may be spaced 1.5’ apart if staked, caged or otherwise supported. For supported tomatoes, consider removing suckers to limit plants to 1-2 central stems. Mulching root zone helps reduce weeds and retain moisture. Water plants regularly throughout the growing season. Select varieties that mature at different times to maximize total harvest time. Crop rotation from year to year helps cut down on diseases.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Tomatoes are tender perennials that are grown in vegetable gardens as annuals for their fruits. Varieties are either determinate (bushy with fruit produced at terminal buds) or indeterminate (more vine-like with indefinite stem growth). Numerous varieties are available in commerce. In addition to standard size tomatoes, gardeners can also grow, inter alia, cherry/grape tomatoes, large-fruited tomatoes and pear-shaped tomatoes. Novelty (e.g., yellow and orange-skinned) and heirloom (old fashioned varieties) tomatoes are also available.

Genus name comes from the Greek words lykos meaning a wolf and persicon meaning a peach originally the name of an Egyptian plant, later transferred to this American genus.

Specific epithet means edible or good to eat.

'Sungold' produces large clusters of 1 1/4 in. wide, golden orange, very sweet-tart cherry tomatoes on indeterminate plants. The fruits are flavorful before the golden color is fully developed. They mature early in the season, at about 65 days and bear until frost. 'Sungold' has high resistance to fusarium wilt and tobacco mosaic virus. It grows 4 to 5 ft. tall and 1.5 to 3 ft. wide.


Disease problems include anthracnose, bacterial spot, early blight, fusarium wilt, late blight, verticillium wilt and viruses. Insect pests include tomato hornworms, tomato fruitworms, stinkbugs, aphids, Colorado potato beetles, flea beetles, cutworms and whiteflies. Nematodes can be a problems in some areas. Watch also for physiological disorders such as blossom end rot, catfacing, blossom drop, leaf roll and sunscald. Sensitive to juglone. Tends to perform poorly when planted close to black walnut trees.


Tomatoes are grown primarily in vegetable gardens or containers for their fruits. The fruits can be eaten fresh, dried, or cooked for use in sauces, soups, curries, and other dishes.