Tomato Banana Legs: growing & caring for the yellow banana tomato


I studied horticultural sciences at university and in my free time you can find me in my own patch of land, growing anything with roots. I am particularly passionate about self-sufficiency and seasonal food.

Favourite fruit: quince, cornelian cherry and blueberries
Favourite vegetables: peas, tomatoes and garlic

‘Banana Legs’ tomatoes are elongated plum tomatoes, best known for their striking yellow colour. Below, you can find out more about what makes this tomato variety truly unique.

hanging banana legs tomatoes
The ˈBanana Legsˈ tomato variety has an unusual shape and color [Photo: Allan Kristensen/]

Along with the tomato variety ˈBlushˈ, the ‘Banana Legs’ tomato is one of the few yellow plum tomatoes. Here will introduce you to this unusually shaped tomato and give tips on how to grow it in your own garden.

‘Banana Legs’ tomato: profile

FruitSalad tomato; yellow with light yellow stripes
FlavourMild, fruity, sweet, low acidity
Ripening timeMedium-early
GrowthDeterminate, up to 120cm in height
LocationGreenhouse, outdoors, in containers or pots

History and origin of the ‘Banana Legs’ tomato

The tomato ‘Banana Legs’ was first bred in the US by John Swenson. To successfully breed this yellow tomato variety, Swenson mixed unnamed crosses from the famous tomato breeder Tom Wagner, who himself is responsible for cultivating the ‘Green Zebra’ tomato. Since its creation in 1984, the ‘Banana Legs’ tomato variety has been available as a seed for hobby gardeners. The banana tomato is also a parent of the newer tomato variety ˈStriped Romanˈ.

Tomato ‘Banana Legs’: taste and other characteristics

The ‘Banana Legs’ tomato plant is a bush (determinate) tomato that only reaches around 100 to 120cm in height. Besides its bright yellow colour, the plant’s next most striking feature is its intricate leaves. ‘Banana Legs’ tomatoes are elongated and cylindrical fruits that end with an offset, almost blunt tip, that gives this yellow tomato its ‘banana’ shape. Around the end of July, ‘Banana Legs’ tomatoes begin to ripen, take on a sunny yellow colour and form light yellow stripes. The fruits reach an average weight of about 80 grams and grow to about 10cm long. The fruit itself is very pulpy, though it contains only a few seeds.

‘Banana Legs’ tomatoes taste similar to most yellow varieties: mild, sweet and fruity with little to hardly any acidity. Once harvested, you can save the tomato seeds and use them to grow new tomato plants.

collection of tomato varieties
The ˈBanana Legsˈ tomato variety (far right) stands out from other varieties in shape and colour [Photo: COULANGES/]

Planting and caring for tomato ‘Banana Legs’

The ‘Banana Legs’ tomato plant prefers a sheltered, warm location, such as a greenhouse, under a canopy, or in some form of a container. This variety grows well as a balcony tomato or planted in a raised garden bed.

Plant your ‘Banana Legs’ plants outdoors once the last frost has passed, typically towards the middle of May. In cooler climates, tomato plants should always be hardened off before being fully moved outdoors. To harden off tomato plants, simply acclimatise the plant by gradually moving it outdoors over a period of 7 to 10 days.

Despite their relatively small size, ‘Banana Legs’ tomato plants still need plenty room to grow. We recommend using a planter with a volume of at least 20 litres. Tomato plants tend to benefit from more acidic and potassium-rich soil, like our Plantura Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost. Potassium is important to protect tomatoes from drought, stress, and fungal pathogens.

Plant your tomato plants deep in a deep planting hole so that about half of the shoots are below the soil level; deep planting ensures that the plant forms additional roots on the shoot for a better supply of water and nutrients. After placing in the hole, remove all lower hanging shoots, fill the hole completely and press down firmly. Then support the young tomato plant with a stick and water generously.

Tip: Build a soil watering rim around the tomato plant. This way, when you water the plant it will soak directly into the soil at the roots and there will be little runoff.

Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
Organic Tomato & Vegetable Compost, 40L
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  • Perfect for tomatoes & other vegetables such as chillies, courgettes & more
  • For strong & healthy plant growth as well as an abundant vegetable harvest
  • Peat-free & organic soil: CO2-saving composition

Around June, tomato plants will begin to flower and fruit. At this point, the plant’s nutrient intake will increase rapidly, and you will need to apply fertiliser. This can be done easily with a liquid fertiliser, such as our Plantura Liquid Tomato Food.

The ‘Banana Legs’ bush tomato can be cultivated through one main shoot and two more low side shoots. Regularly remove any remaining side shoots when pruning the tomato. Though initially smaller, the two side shoots will eventually stretch out and need to be supported. These shoots will also form abundant flowers and later fruits.

Tip: Instead of a liquid tomato fertiliser, you can also use a solid granule fertiliser. Granular fertilisers like our Plantura Tomato Food release nutrients slowly with the help of soil organisms.

The fruit disease of blossom end rot shows up earlier and more frequently in ‘Banana Legs’ than in other varieties. Blossom end rot often appears as a large brown-black spot near the bottom of the fruit and is often triggered by calcium deficiency. A quick remedy is to apply a calcium fertiliser. Ideally, grow your ‘Banana Legs’ tomato plants in low humidity, to reduce the risk of the disease. When planting in a greenhouse, make sure to provide adequate ventilation. This helps prevent blossom end rot instead of trying to treat it.

blossom end rot on tomato
‘Banana Legs’ tomatoes are more affected by blossom end rot than other varieties [Photo: Lam Van Linh/]

Harvesting and using ‘Banana Legs’ tomatoes

From the end of July until the first frost at the end of October or beginning of November, you can harvest the plum-shaped fruits continuously. Despite their low height, the plants produce a high yield. Because of the few seeds and the large amount of flesh, the tomato is perfect for making spreads, ketchup or sauces. The mild fruity taste of the ‘Banana Legs’ can be enjoyed as a fresh snack too.

If you want to start growing tomatoes outdoors, robust and hardy varieties are a good place to start. The plum tomato ˈRed Zoraˈ, for example, was specially developed for outdoor cultivation.