Green zebra tomato plants

Green Zebra Tomatoes: How To Grow Green Zebra Plants In The Garden

Here’s a tomato to please your eyes as well as your taste buds. Green Zebra tomatoes are a zesty treat to eat, but they are also spectacular to look at. This combination, plus a generous per-plant yield, make these tomatoes a favorite with chefs and also home gardeners. If you are ready to start growing a Green Zebra tomato plant, prepare yourself for a real show. Read on for Green Zebra tomato information, including tips on how to grow Green Zebra plants.

Green Zebra Tomato Information

Green Zebra tomatoes are considered a classic tomato species these days and are a delight to add to your garden. As the common name suggests, these tomatoes are striped, and remain striped as they mature, although the color changes.

These tomato plants

produce fruit that is green with dark stripes. As the tomatoes ripen, they become a chartreuse green-yellow hue overlaid with mottled green and orange stripes.

Glorious to look at in the garden or in a salad, Green Zebra tomatoes are also a pleasure to eat. The fruit are relatively small, but the taste is huge, a sparking mix of sweet and tart. They work best in salsas and salads.

How to Grow Green Zebra Tomatoes

If you are wondering how to grow Green Zebra tomatoes, you’ll be happy to find how easy it is. Of course, growing a Green Zebra plant requires good, well-drained soil that is free of weeds and a site with at least six hours of sunlight per day.

Irrigation is an essential part of Green Zebra tomato plant care. Give the plants at least an inch (2.5 cm.) of water a week. The plants also need organic fertilizer for tomato plants and supports to keep the plant upright.

Supports are very necessary for these tomato plants since they are indeterminate tomatoes, growing on long vines. Green Zebra vines get up to five feet (1.5 m.) tall. They produce continuous crops from mid-season on.

Given excellent Green Zebra tomato plant care, your tomato plant will be producing in 75 to 80 days from transplant. Soil temperature necessary for germination is at least 70 degrees F. (21 degrees C.).

Tomato – Green Zebra


Botanical name
Lycopersicum esculentum


1 per square foot. Climbing.

Plant seeds 1 cm (½”) deep, indoors.

Full sun, hot weather plant. pH around 6-6.5.

Seeds will sprout in 7-14 days.

Tomatoes are susceptible to some fungal diseases, but problems with this plant are mostly caused by cultural practices that stress the plants. Make sure you keep the garden clean and tidy, water consistently and avoid directly spraying water onto the leaves. When plants get off to a good start, few pests will bother them. Protect young plants with floating row covers that are removed when flowering starts.

Start tomatoes indoors in early April indoors under bright lights. Transplant into the garden at the mid to late May. Night-time temperatures need to be reliably above 10°C (50°F) to avoid shocking the seedlings. Before planting, pluck off the lower two thirds of branches and leaves to increase root growth. You won’t believe the difference in growth rate and especially in the yield.

Best to have them climb a trellis to save space and keep pests away. Indeterminate tomatoes keep shooting off suckers, or side shoots, from the crotch between the stem and a branch. Pinch out the suckers to have the tomato plant focus its energy on producing fruit.

80 days

Warm, annual

‘Pinching Out’ your growing tomato plants (Suckers)
Harvesting heirloom tomatoes
Fried Green Zebra Tomatoes with Poached Egg & Basil
Corn and Green Zebra Tomato Salad
More Green Zebra Tomato Love, with Recipes

Green Zebra Tomato

Green Zebra Tomato is a tomato variety developed in the 1980s that is now considered to be a classic among striped and bi-color tomatoes.


Before you leave …

Get your free copy of “10 Must-Know Tomato Growing Tips.” This 20-page guide is filled with tips you need to know to have a successful tomato crop, whether you’re a beginning or experienced gardener.

Technically it’s not an heirloom, since its history is not quite long enough yet. Green Zebra is not only tasty but it’s unusual. It brightens up salads and other dishes.

Green Zebra’s characteristic dark green and yellow stripes and simultaneous sweet and tangy taste have made it a favorite with chefs and restauranteurs. Newer variations blush reddish instead of yellow when ripe. (See a list of Green Zebra tomato varieties.)

Alice Waters of Berkeley, CA popularized Green Zebra at Chez Panisse, a well-known restaurant that uses local, organic foods and considered the birthplace of California cuisine.

What’s the history of Green Zebra Tomato?

Potato and tomato breeder Tom Wagner of Everett, Washington developed Green Zebra. He used four heirloom tomatoes, including Evergreen, a medium-size green tomato. As Tom tells it, he first conceived the idea of a green striped tomato when he was growing up in the 1950s. At the time, he regularly ordered seeds from Gleckler’s catalog. Evergreen intrigued him. In his words, “I thought it was a crazy-looking tomato. It was late-maturing, and I didn’t know when it was ripe. When is a green tomato ripe?” Tom felt that Evergreen’s fatal flaw was its tendency to crack – it is the perfect tomato for throwing, but fell apart in his hands. Right then, Tom determined that he would develop a green tomato that wouldn’t crack.

In 1983 Tom introduced Green Zebra Tomato in his Tater-Mater Seed Catalog. The catalog was published from 1983 through 1986 and has since become a research and development enterprise.

How do you know when a Green Zebra is ripe?

It can be hard to tell. There’s a lot of green! Try these harvesting tips:

  • Grasp the tomato gently, feeling for firmness and a slight “give,” much like when a red tomato is ready to pick.
  • Look for the Zebra’s light green stripes to turn yellow.
  • Watch for bottom of yellow stripes to begin to show a blush color.
  • Determine your favorite ripening stage over time If you prefer a more tart flavor, pick Green Zebras sooner. Leave Zebras on the vine if you want them to be sweeter. But be careful – fruit can get mealy if you wait too long to harvest them.

Learn more about Green Zebra Tomato seeds and plants.

Green Zebra Tomato


Type: OP (open pollinated)

Origin: Everett, WA, USA

Days to maturity: 75 days

Season: Mid-season

Foliage/habit: compact with medium cover

Fruit color: yellow/gold with dark green stripes; lime-emerald flesh

Fruit shape/size: globe, smooth, round, 2 inches

Disease resistance: not bred for resistance. The jury is out among home gardeners – some say Green Zebra is very resistant to disease while others say it’s not resistant at all.

Yield: moderate

Taste: old-fashioned, tangy, slightly astringent

Other strains: Big Zebra Tomato; Black Zebra Tomato; Red Zebra Tomato

Other notes: Follow Tom Wagner’s blog, Tater-Mater, as he develops additional Zebra strains.

Return from Green Zebra Tomato to Tomato Dirt home

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Leave a comment in the box below.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *