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Pruden's Purple (Prudens Purple)

15 years ago

I have grown this variety for the past several years with some success. It seems to be relatively problem free. It's attracticve and, most importantly, it tastes good. I am told that it is related to Brandywine. Why does it play second fiddle to such other dark varieties such as Cherokee Purple, Black Krim, etc.? it didn't even make Carolyn Males's list of 100 Heirlooms for the Anmerican Garden! Just wondering if other growers are having problems with this variety.

P.S. It is developing fruit at the same schedule as Early Girl and Ultimate Opener. Is that a great tomato or what??

Comments (13)

  • carolynp
    15 years ago

    IMHO: there is entirely too much information on tomatoes out there. This website ( said that the Pruden's Purple was developed from the Brandywine, so they must have read that information, too. I'm going to have to keep reading on this heirloom vs genetically modified thing. Man, growing tomatoes is so addictive, isn't it?

  • frugal_gary
    15 years ago

    I grew my first PP this year. I live near houston with high humidity and plenty of heat. The pp did very well for me. I usually grow celbrity's for their high production and "play" with a few heirlooms.

  • sylvana11
    15 years ago

    That's a good question... There are only two tomatoes that I grow year after year in my garden and one of them is Brandywine. One year I did grow Pruden's Purple and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by it... but it didn't make it back the following year. Why? I'm not quite sure so I guess that it did play second fiddle to Brandywine. Like Carolyn said, maybe the taste really doesn't compare. For me, the flavor was pretty good, but just wasn't intense enough. By the way, Brandywine was only 4 or 5 days later than PP in my garden - a short wait for superior flavor.

  • bigdaddyj
    15 years ago

    I am kind of with Carolyn and sylvana11 on this. PP was on my must grow list for many years but didn't make this year's cut.

    Just too many great varieties and just not enough space. But it's a great tomato and well worth growing at least once. I probably grew it 9 or 10 years straight...:)

  • carolyn137
    15 years ago

    carolynp, perhaps I should e-mail Gary at Tomatofest and ask him to remove that information.

    Just a few weeks ago someone alerted me to the fact that Gary was equating Yasha Yugoslavian and Crnkovic Yugoslavian, two varieties that I introduced ( seeds from Yasha Crnkovic, a colleague at one time) and I e-mailed him and told him they were quite different, the former being heart shaped.

    He asked if I had seeds but I had no fresh ones so rounded them up from two tomato friends and sent them to him so he could see for himself.

    So I know he'd probably make any changes I suggested to him.Actually years ago I started to proof his tomato blurbs for him, we agreed on this, but I never finished and didn't go back and seldom look at the site these days unless someone asks me to for a specific reason.

    And he isn't the only one who wrongly believes that PP is genetically related to Brandywine, all b'c of that blurb that was written for PP at Pinetree Seeds.


  • larryw
    15 years ago

    I believe I have had Pruden's Purple in my tomato patch every year for at least 20 years. Brandywine, however, rarely makes the cut as, good as it is, it just has never produced enough for me to call it a favorite.

    So far as taste goes I'd rank Mr. Brown's, Brandywine, Pruden's Purple, German Head, Granny Cantrell, and Ponderosa Pink NK strain all in the same ballpark so far as quality is concerned but with each having a suble essense of it's own, this justifying lots of divergent opinions.

    Best approach might be to try them all and then grow them to the limit your space allows with the selections you favor most.

  • ddsack
    15 years ago

    Prudens Purple is one that I have grown repeatedly for many years, and used to be my all time favorite. For me, it has been earlier and outproduced the Brandywines, doing better in my occasional cooler conditions. At present, Earl's Faux is my favorite in taste and also does well, so I feel no need to go back and retry the other Brandywine varieties (other than Yellow Brandywine, which remains among the top yellows for me.)

  • dancinglemons
    13 years ago

    Hello folks,

    This is my first year growing PP. I have questions. When I prune the lower 10-12 inches of this plant of leaves and suckers - the suckers come right back within 2-3 days - even growing from below the soil. Is this a normal occurance for PP?? The plants are doing quite well and have trusses with 5-6 flowers/fruit at almost every leaf. Is this a normal occurance for PP?? Thanks.

    BTW - I grow in Earth**Boxes.


  • robinsch1_gmail_com
    13 years ago

    This is the best tomato we've ever grown. Had an excellent 2010 summer here in NJ. While NJ has probably the best tomatoes in the country, this was outstanding. We ordered a Cherokee Purple, but luckily they were out of it and sent the Prudence (this is what our tag stated) Purple as a replacement. The only complaint I had was that we only ordered one.

  • txted
    13 years ago

    Last year was my first to grow heirloom or OP varieties. Turned out to be a lousy year in North Texas to grow tomatoes hybrid or OP. Of the eight or ten varieties I planted, Prudence Purple performed the best with some production and decent taste. I got a few mid season fruit from four PP plants. What really impressed me was the fact that they kept on blooming and dropping the blooms in the heat while the other plants gave up the ghost and died. They kept on trying to fruit into fall, but I was feeling merciful and pulled them. I don't think they really had the opportunity to shine the way I think they could in decent weather. I'm not planting it this year, but probably will next year.


  • tarolli2011
    6 years ago

    Someone recommended that I try Pruden's Purple based on taste, claiming that it is also "productive". It may be productive compared to the junkier OP's, but not compared with great-tasting Heritage Marriage tomatoes and wonderful European OP's like Franchi Red Pear and Jaune Flamme' (and its hybrid Perfect Flame).

    PP has produced 2-3 tomatoes per cluster every 10-12 inches. Brandy Boy (Brandywine x one of Big Boy's parents) and Genuwine (Brandywine x Costoluto Genovese) produce 5-8 tomatoes every 6 inches, and their individual fruits are much, much larger. You get at least 6-10 times as much weight in fruit from the better-tasting plants. The entire stem of the Heritage Marriage plant is solid tomato. It is very difficult to remove the fruit because they grow together into a solid mass that covers the stem all the way up the plant.

    But I grow tomatoes for taste, not just production.

    Of all the non-cherry tomatoes in my garden this year, Pruden's Purple had the most mediocre taste. Good taste, much better than grocery store - just not great taste like the best cultivars.

    I am writing this to warn others not to make the mistake of taking advice (like I did) from people who have an addiction to growing only OP's. They kindly want to help you, but they are comparing cultivars to ones that are generally inferior in both production and taste. Ask what are their favorite cultivars. If they grow mostly American OP's, they probably do not have enough good tomatoes for comparison.

    I will NEVER consider another Pruden's Purple in my garden because it is so mediocre in both production and taste compared with the absolute best tomatoes.

  • carolyn137
    6 years ago

    I was going to go point by point to refute much of what you posted,but decided not to. I hope you know this was the Original Garden Web until bought out by Houzz and I get notices still, but seldom come back here to post unless I see something really wrong being posted as I did with what you posted..Also, your post is the first in this thread since 2011 as I'm sure you already know.

    Summary: there are some great OP's that are just as productive as any of the F1 hybrids you mentioned, so I still encourage each person to grow varieties that interest them without being warned of what you want to warn folks about.


    Carolyn,who was the first to SSE list Jaune Flammee, from Norbert in France, along with over 100 other ones Norbert sent,, etc.and Billl Mckay who owned Grow Italian offered everything from Franchi, not just tomatoes,now retired and still growing stuff in FL, and me, who does a seed offer elsewhere with seeds from France,Belgium, Portugal, Germany,Spain,Romania,Slovenia, Bulgaria, Czech Republic,Italy, Turkey, Greece, Lebanon, and of course the US and Canada, and who really likes Prudens Purple as well as she also likes Aunt Ginny's Purple,neither one purple since in the old days purple meant pink, and so many large pink beefs, and who has grown over 4,000 plus tomato varieties. And has always grown primarily for taste, if the yields are high, that's a bonus, and was asked to write a book about Heirloom tomatoes, did that, but has also grown many F1 hybrids as well. And trust me,no one knows the other parent used to construct F1 Brandy Boy since Burpee isn 't talking, they didn't breed it, and so many of the Burpee varieties were produced elsewhere on contract, but they now have some new breeders and are back in PA doing that..