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Tomato, Burpee's Big Boy Hybrid

Short Description

One of the greatest tomatoes of all time and still a best seller.

Full Description

When we bred and introduced Big Boy hybrid tomato in 1949, its incredible productivity and gorgeous, perfect, large red fruit made it an instant hit. What's kept Big Boy tomato a best-selling tomato all these years is the wonderful aroma and rich flavor. The fruits weigh in 10 oz. with many reaching 1 lb. or more. Healthy, indeterminate vines produce all summer long. The bountiful harvest begins about 78 days after setting plants in the garden.
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Item#: 61234A
Order: 1 Pkt. (50 seeds)
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Item#: 61234E
Order: 1 Pkt. (125 seeds)
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Item#: 21584
Order: 3 Plants
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Product properties

Days To Maturity The average number of days from when the plant is actively growing in the garden to the expected time of harvest.

78 days

Fruit Weight The average weight of the fruit produced by this product.

10-16 ounces

Sun The amount of sunlight this product needs daily in order to perform well in the garden. Full sun means 6 hours of direct sun per day; partial sun means 2-4 hours of direct sun per day; shade means little or no direct sun.

Full Sun

Spread The width of the plant at maturity.

24-36 inches

Height The typical height of this product at maturity.

48-60 inches

Sow Method This refers to whether the seed should be sown early indoors and the seedlings transplanted outside later, or if the seed should be sown directly in the garden at the recommended planting time.

Indoor Sow

Plant Shipping Information

Plants ship in Spring in proper planting time (click for schedule)


Item 21584 cannot ship to: AA, AE, AK, AP, AS, CN, FM, GA, GU, HI, MH, MP, PR, PW, VI
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How to plant tomatoes in the garden.
For the best yields follow the tomato planting guidelines in this video.
Watch video
Tomatoes- Staking and Caging
Support your tomato plants for maximum growth and yields.
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How to Sow and Plant

  • Sow tomato seeds indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost in spring using a seed starting kit
  • Sow seeds ¼  inch deep in seed-starting formula
  • Keep the soil moist at 75 degrees F
  • Seedlings emerge in 7-14 days
  • As soon as seedlings emerge, provide plenty of light on a sunny windowsill or grow seedlings 3-4 inches beneath fluorescent plant lights turned on 16 hours per day, off for 8 hours at night. Raise the lights as the plants grow taller. Incandescent bulbs will not work for this process because they will get too hot. Most plants require a dark period to grow, do not leave lights on for 24 hours.
  • Seedlings do not need much fertilizer, feed when they are 3-4 weeks old using a starter solution (half strength of a complete indoor houseplant food) according to manufacturer’s directions.
  • If you are growing in small cells, you may need to transplant the seedlings to 3 or 4 inch pots when seedlings have at least 3 pairs of leaves before transplanting to the garden so they have enough room to develop strong roots
  • Before planting in the garden, seedling plants need to be “hardened off”. Accustom young plants to outdoor conditions by moving them to a sheltered place outside for a week. Be sure to protect them from wind and hot sun at first. If frost threatens at night, cover or bring containers indoors, then take them out again in the morning. This hardening off process toughens the plant’s cell structure and reduces transplant shock and scalding.

Planting in the Garden:

  • Select a location in full sun with good rich moist organic soil. Make sure you did not grow tomatoes, peppers, eggplant or potatoes in the bed the previous year to avoid disease problems.
  • Prepare the bed by turning the soil under to a depth of 8 inches. Level with a rake to remove clumps of grass and stones.
  • Tomatoes should be set 30-48 inches apart in a row with the rows spaced 3-4 feet apart. It can be tempting to space tomatoes more closely at planting time, but if you plant too closely you will increase the chance of disease, and decrease yields.
  • Dig a hole for each plant large enough to amply accommodate the root ball. 
  • Carefully remove the plant from its pot and gently loosen the root ball with your hands to encourage good root development. 
  • Tomatoes can be planted deeply, with the stem buried to the first set of leaves. The more deeply they are planted the more roots will form, providing the plant with additional support and better ability to take up nutrients. Some gardeners plant tomatoes by digging a horizontal trench and laying the plant in the trench with the top 2-4 inches of the plant pointing upward.
  • Fill the planting hole with soil to the top and press soil down firmly with your hand leaving a slight depression around the plant to hold water. 
  • Use the plant tag as a location marker. This is particularly important if you are trying different varieties. It is very difficult to tell which variety is which from the foliage.  
  • Water thoroughly, so that a puddle forms in the saucer you have created. This settles the plants in, drives out air pockets and results in good root-to-soil contact.
  • Place your plant support at this time. You can try tomato cages or staking. Unsupported plants will sprawl on the ground, require no pruning, and will probably produce a larger yield of smaller fruit than will staked plants. For larger, cleaner, more perfect fruits, support plants as they grow. Growing on stakes: Place strong stakes in the ground and set plants about 6 inches from the stakes. Growing in cages: Place a cage around a single plant; let the vines grow and enlarge within the cage, no pruning  will be necessary

How to Grow

  • Keep weeds under control during the growing season. Weeds compete with plants for water, space and nutrients, so control them by either cultivating often or use a mulch to prevent their seeds from germinating. 
  • Mulches also help retain soil moisture and maintain even soil temperatures. This is especially important for tomatoes as their roots may be easily damaged when weeding, and this can lead to blossom end rot.
  • Keep plants well-watered during the growing season, especially during dry spells. Plants need about 1-2 inches of rain per week during the growing season. Use a rain gauge to check to see if you need to add water. It's best to water with a drip or trickle system that delivers water at low pressure at the soil level. If you water with overhead sprinklers, water early in the day so the foliage has time to dry off before evening, to minimize disease problems. Keep the soil moist but not saturated.
  • If growing on stakes: As the plants grow, allow only one or two main stems to grow and pinch out any other side shoots as they form. Gently tie the one or two remaining shoots to the stake; don't pull them tightly against the stake. If growing in cages, no pruning is necessary.
  • Whether to remove the side shoots, or suckers, that grow out of the leaf axils or not depends on the support system used. Gardeners using stakes usually snap off these side shoots. They typically get earlier and larger tomatoes but overall production tends to be less. If tomatoes are grown in cages, the suckers are generally left on, although it's a good idea to pinch the tip out of them when they are 6-8 inches long. Regardless you may want to remove all the growth from the bottom 6-10 inches of the plant. This helps to improve air circulation and reduce the spread of diseases such as early blight. Wait until the plants are knee-high. In the morning when the plants have the most water in them, snap off the lower growth while it is small. Any plants that look sick with distorted foliage or have a mosaic pattern on the leaves should be removed as they may have a virus that can spread to the other plants. It is best to do this early in the season.
  • Monitor for pests and diseases. Check with your local Cooperative Extension Service for pest controls recommended for your area.

Harvesting and Preserving Tips

  • Determinate tomato plants ripen a heavy crop over a few weeks. Indeterminate varieties bear fruit continuously till frost. Remember that the days to harvest refers to the time from setting out transplants in the garden.
  • Pick tomatoes when they are as ripe as possible. They should be fully colored and firm and picked regularly to avoid overloading plants.
  • At the end of the season, when you know there will be a frost, pick all the almost-ripe tomatoes you can, and ripen them in brown bags or spread on newspapers at room temperature. Many cultivars will store for months. Store only sound fruit, at 50-60°F. Do NOT refrigerate and try to avoid having the fruit touch each other.
  • The foliage of tomatoes is toxic and should not be eaten.
  • Tomato fruits are enjoyed in many cooked dishes as a flavoring. Use them to make soups, sauces, stews, ketchup, paste, juice, quiche, and pies. Add them to curries, casseroles, and chutney.
Days To Maturity
78 days
Fruit Weight
10-16 ounces
Full Sun
24-36 inches
48-60 inches
Sow Method
Indoor Sow
Planting Time
Sow Time
6-8 weeks BLF
36 inches
Life Cycle
Tomato, Burpee's Big Boy Hybrid is rated 4.7619 out of 5 by 21.
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Straggly plant arrived This will be the first time I gave grown this tomato from Burpee, so I am hoping for greatness. My problem is how the three tomato plants I ordered from Burpee had arrived - tall, leggy and straggly looking. Yes, I know to strip the bottom leaves upon the stem of the plant in order to get a better and stronger root system. But I was shocked at the meek quality the plants were. Especially when I ordered 4 tomato plants from a much smaller company and they shipped the same height plants and were healthy looking with lots more leaves and strong stem. There was no comparison.
Date published: 2016-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great growers and excellent yield Great plant. Arrived 1 foot tall and grew pretty rapidly. One of the 3 I purchased, 1 was different than the other 2 (pinkish, larger fruit. Perhaps German Johnson?), but all 3 plants were vigorous propagators.
Date published: 2016-02-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good homegrown taste This is the first tomato my mom grew on her patio, and I remember savoring the difference between these and store bought tomatoes. It has a good balance of sweet and tart. I have a short season and I now opt for an earlier red tomato, but this one is a good choice. Make sure to keep an eye out for disease and trim yellow leaves; this variety seems to be affected by disease later in the season.
Date published: 2014-10-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from excellent tomatoes!!! I grew up in east texas where my dad gardened. this was his go to tomato. he never grew anything else. and although I try new strains I always have plenty of these planted. they are excellent tomatoes in taste, texture, everything!!! I would recommend these, always, and do! I'm 57 and have been familiar with and eaten these tomatoes for over 50 years and still have not found a better overall tomato :)
Date published: 2014-09-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from super tomatoes I have planted this big boy hybrid for the second year and I have been super happy. I have grown super sized and super tasty tomatoes both years. I have picked tomatoes that topped 2 lbs in both years that I have grown them. I have also average over 500lbs of tomatoes off of just 12 plants each year I have grown them, I have also canned over 65 quarts of tomatoes and given away over 100lbs to friends and family. I have been growing tomatoes for over 14 years and have never been more pleased with the out come. The plants have ranged from super sauce to early pick and brandy wines, better boy, big boy hybrid. All of them have produced high yields of tomatoes at super sizes and taste, they even had clumps of 4-5 that were all at least 12-14 ounces each. They always out grow the XL cages I have purchased from you all at Burpees. Each plant is about 4 feet wide by 4.5 feet high. Next year I will add pictures to the review. All the plants this year are just about finished producing, so they don't show well.
Date published: 2014-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Our favorite tomato We've bought these tomato plants for two years now. The summer of 2012 they did great, growing over 6' tall and so wide that we had to buy additional supports. The tomatoes were plenty and flavorful, we even froze some. The plants haven't done as well this year but it has been a tough growing season in the south with high temps and heavy rains. Fortunately the plants are still growing but the tomatoes haven't been as many. Will definitely purchase this tomato for our garden next year!
Date published: 2013-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful tomato I love Big Boy Tomatoes! I've tried many others, and the Big Boy is the best tasting of them all. There is very little liquid and mostly pulp in the center of these great tomatoes. I can them at the end of the season and they taste wonderful in soups and stews in the winter. The skins are easy to take off for canning and they process well. I always go back to my Big Boys if I want to be sure I'm getting the best tomato!
Date published: 2013-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for so many uses I grew this variety this year in Zone 6a, heavy clay (with extensive remediation of soil) with an amazingly brutal summer and cool spring. With three plants, I froze two bags of lasagna sauce, canned 12 jars of pasta sauce, made 10 jars of pickled green tomatoes, and ate my way through many BLTs and bruchettas. The flavor of this tomato is amazing for such a large tomato. I did have quite a few with something that looked like blossom end rot, but it was a small group. The fruits were uniform in shape and weight and I gave away many to rave reviews. I will be growing this one again next year!
Date published: 2012-10-23
  • 2016-05-26T06:13CST
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