Back to Cart

Hybrid versus Heirloom

This year I spent more time reading about plants and not just shopping for them. As I shared in my most recent blog, I purchased my tomato, pepper and herb plants from Burpee this year. I discovered it was more convenient to read about each of the varieties in a catalog or website than standing in the store reading the plant label stuck on the side of the pot. Sometimes there are merchandising signs and sometimes not.

The information on the tomatoes in particular prodded me to do additional research regarding hydrid, heirloom and All America Selection plants (more about the late in a future blog).

Last year I grew both hybrid and heirloom tomatoes. The hybrid tomatoes significantly outperformed the heirloom varieties but there is a mystic and romance about heirloom varieties that really

attracts me to grow them.

To make the best choice for my garden this season, I decide to do a little research.

Heirlooms plants are just like their name implies. They are at least 50 years old, the seeds have been passed down generations in certain regions or they were developed by a university for agricultural purposes. They are open pollinated meaning they are pollinated by insects and wind. Their seeds can be saved and used season after season.

Hybrids are plants that have been cross pollinated by plant breeders with the goal of developing a better plant. Breeders use the natural process of cross pollination between two varieties of the same plant to produce new plants with the best characteristics of two parent plants. Hybrid are often easier to grow, have better disease resistance, can provide unique plant size, improved yield and flavor, depending on the goal of the breeder. Their seeds can be saved and used in future seasons but may revert to the characteristics of the parent plant.

Important to note, Hybrids are not GMO (genetically modify organism). GMO is a process where scientists, not breeders, change the DNA of a plant. GMO plants or seeds are not available to the home gardeners.

For this year, given the stress from Hurricane Harvey, I decided to grow hybrid plants. I want lots of tomatoes, peppers and bountiful herbs. I also want it to be as easy as possible. Several of my hybrids are All American Award Winners. More on that next time.

Happy Gardening,


Information for this blog was obtained from:

3/15/2018    Garden Journals