Concerned about Mr. Stripey Heirloom Tomatoes

May 14, 2013

I recently picked up a pakc of little tomato plants called Mr Stripey; they are yellow-red and of a beefsteak variety. I'm worried because I've been reading online about how some people say this particular variety is bad; it tastes bad, doesn't produce, etc.. They are still rather small(5") and haven't been put out in the garden yet, but I'm wondering if I should just abandon them and try something more viable.

NOTE: There is nothing wrong with the plants I have, I've just heard this variety is bad and I'm thinking of picking something else. Any comments?

Comments (34)

  • carolyn137

    There are many who think well of Mr Stripey and many who would never suggest that someone grow it.

    And I'm in the latter group and put Mr. Stripey way down on the possible gold/redbicolor vareities to grow.

    The most common complaints are that it's as splindly plant and poor fruit production and that there are other bicolor varieties that are better.

    That being said, would you be looking forplants of another gold/red bicolor or just possibly looking for a different kind of variety, and do you still have access to plants right now?


  • Becky

    Hey Carolyn!

    I might be able to get other bi-color plants, I'm looking for Hillbilly because I've heard wonders about that variety, but I haven't been able to find any plants lately.. I was just concerned because Mr Stripey looked good when I bought it, and I researched the variety a bit and it seems to end up being, well, a crapshoot.

    I still have access to plants, and as the season progresses I might be able to get others, but I was thinking for the Mr Stripey I bought to be set out in the garden next weekend. I'm just not sure if I should return them, or just go ahead and plant them.

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  • sharonrossy

    Hi Noteybook, I'm with Carolyn. Grew them last year, not impressed at all. Would never grow them again. I'm trying Big Rainbow as a bi-color. In any event there are just so many great varieties, don't waste your time, in my opinion.

  • afbq

    I grew them two years ago and was not impressed with them flavor wise. I don't remember if they were good producers or not.

  • theonebluegecko

    I grew them a few years back. They produced large fruit, though not that many of them. The taste was fine, but not the best I've had.

  • bigpinks

    If I could only grow 3-10 plants I wouldnt consider this cultivar. I have lots of room and have twenty Mr Stripey plants started and they are very nice. I have grown them for prob twenty yrs. They drop blooms and are very late. They dont have a long shelf life much like Cherokee Purple. Picked when ripe and eaten right away they are one of my favorite tomatoes. I get two pound fruit occasionally and lots of 16-24 oz specimens. Prob about 3 per plant from vines suckered to 1-3 stems. So I will pick about 60 of these this yr that will weigh about 70 pounds. Its all about how much room you have, what taste you prefer etc.

  • gsweater

    I've grown them for at least 10 years straight and have never had any of the issues that you mention. Delicious and tons of fruit, every year, guaranteed.

  • Julienne.Dalbi

    I am growing Mr Stripey for several years: Huge delicious tomatoes! A bit of fresh mozzarella - the real soft cheese, not the dry soap like cheese that can be bought already sliced - few basil leaves, olive oil and balsamic vinegar...And a Mr Stripey! Hmmm. Among the 8 tomato plants I have, I currently have 2 Mr Stripeys. I did not plant more as I know they are producing a lot.
    As for being concerned about growing them: I live in the Sacramento area NorCal, so it is sizzling hot and dry here. Lately, after a car accident, I have been in and out the hospital, no time for the garden. My tomato plants have been watered ( as it is automatic) but just c-o-m-p-l-e-t-e-l-y neglected. No fertilizer, no mulching, no care, nothing. Water that's all. Each plant is about 7ft tall, totally healthy, and is literally covered in big fruits! This Tomato plant is delicious and a no brainer, as long as you choose your plant wisely, you are pretty much set.

  • seysonn

    I have also read mixed reviews on Mr. Stripy.
    Last fall/winter a bought a heirloom tomato from store which I thought it was Mr. Stripy. I liked the color, shape and taste. So I save seed and have planted couple of them this year. So far they are very late (as most late season varieties are). So I am anxious to taste it this season and see how it does in my garden. I figured it must be productive to grow it commercially. That is one of the reason that I plant seeds from store bought heirlooms.

  • centexan254 zone 8 Temple, Tx

    I am growing Mr. Stripy this year. I have harvested 4 large fruit from the plant so far. I still have 6 on the plant waiting for them to break color. My wife loves the taste of them so they will be in the garden next year as well. I will just have to start larger plants to get better production as the season here is short before the heat shuts things down.

    If planting it make sure it has lots of room. Both of the plants I planted got huge. One is over 7 feet tall, and 4 feet of area around it is being conservative. Neither plant has been spindly at all. I am not going to blame low production on the plant. In this area if late producers are not started as a large plant. (1 Gal container sized.)

    One may not get many, if, any fruit off of it before the weather shuts things down till the heat breaks. After that it is a crap shoot for getting any that break color before the frost hits. Due to the plants being so large it is hard to for many to have a practical way to cover them.

  • Mike

    I worked with some Mr Stripey's last year and was utterly disappointed ... The lack of flavor was just that: no where to be found! Perhaps there's some other cultivars going around, or the satisfied growers just have a palate for them..

    It grew to be a pretty large plant at around 7' tall, 3-4' in circumference. They produced an average yield of beautiful large fruit, but I found more taste in a glass of water ;) lol.. I won't waste my time, energy or resources on them again.. Not to mention they never even striped for me; they just stayed a yellowy/orange..

    Edit: For the variety's sake, perhaps I was sold a mis-marked plant seeing as how it never striped.

    This post was edited by michael723 on Sat, Jul 12, 14 at 11:12

  • Julienne.Dalbi

    Well, in my experience, yes the color is not always the same. On the same plant you can have Yellow fruits or Orange fruits, or both colors on the same fruit, they rarely have strips when ripe ( but is it a deal breaker as long as the tomato is good?). Now with regard to the taste, so far, I haven't been confronted to tasteless Mr Stripey fruits. You raise a very good point, it could very well come from your provider. But maybe also from the dirt, the exposure or from watering...?
    In my garden Mr Stripeys are always a bit late but they bear fruits until the first frost. The Cherokee purple plants I have planted 2 weeks later than the MrS ( and in the same garden bed) gave fruits at least 2 weeks earlier for example.
    MrS Fruits are ready now and I have literally dozens of them on each plant with a vast majority of the fruits being between 4-6 in in diameter ( yes diameter ) and so heavy that I had to support some fruits. The plants keep on flowering and I have already a lot of little fruits growing.
    But when someone asks me for advice about what tomato they could plant, I always warn them, in my opinion, MrS are salad tomatoes only i.e: Not for cooking.
    I started with small plants ( 10 in max, 2.75$ at my nursery), planted them late April beginning of May. As I said earlier I totally neglected them and the only punishment I got for this extreme neglect was a couple of tomatoes with a benign case of blossom end rot and a couple of imperfectly shaped fruits. Period. The rest is in perfect shape and condition.
    I always get my plants from the same family owned nursery and I only buy organic cultivars ( I grow hot and sweet peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants and beans). Also I "work" my dirt ahead of time, I put organic horse manure several times during winter and I hoe, hoe, hoe and hoe again until the manure breaks down completely and the dirt is all light and "fluffy". Then I plant quite late for my zone. Are these the secrets for happy and tasty Mr Stripeys?

  • Mike


    Perhaps I misspoke with tasteless, more of a tangy - less sweet flavor than my palate enjoys. I also had 20 or so other plants that yielded delicioussssss fruit lol..

    Most definitely had nothing to do with my growing style as I've been growing tomatoes (with success) for over 15 years. I too prepare my soil a month or so ahead of time .. Except rather than just manure I amend with: green sand, earthworm castings, Gardentone, Kelp meal, azonite, cow manure and alfalfa meal.. I use less than recommended spread rates.. As stated, I wait a good month to allow the soil microbes to prepare the amendments for the plants (convert them to a usable form). I also inoculate my seedlings with mycorrhizal fungi when potting up from seed. My water is filtered and 85-90% chlorine free.. I continue feeding weekly for the first month or so with fish emulsion and liquid seaweed (excellent trace elements and growth stimulants).. I also give them bi-weekly stump tea drenches containing beneficial bacteria, molasses, mycorrhizae fungi (I over look the fungus as it's pretty useless without direct contact to the roots).

    I'm decently educated when it comes to soil biology etc.. I work my soil as little as possible in order to keep spurts of bacterial activity at bay.. We want slow break down to be sure there is still N available at the time of planting.. Over tilling incorporates a lot of Oxygen into the soil resulting in high bacterial activity which soon runs out of energy..

    I wanted to give you the run down on my approach as to not discredit my critique of Mr S.. Needless to say, not impressed with them. I too purchase from a local family owned nursery if I'm not starting from seed.. This year was all seed except for a black krim that was an after thought.. Take care =)

    This post was edited by michael723 on Sun, Jul 13, 14 at 9:36

  • Julienne.Dalbi

    OMG Michael, I did not mean to belittle your gardening skills! I just think there might be different MrS on the market because I have heard it all on here: Acidic, small fruits, rare fruits, diseases prone tomato plant, etc, etc. I am growing this tomato for years, I have never been confronted to any of these issues.
    Now I hear you MrS are sweet, some like it, some don't, but I have never found them as tasteless as a glass of water.

  • Mike

    Oh no insult taken! Just wanted to give you some background on my approach because any inexperienced grower can come on here and discredit a variety; while it could very well have been their approach. I just found them to be bland and lacking sweetness.. From their described high sugar content I could have been sold a mislabeled variety as we previously discussed.. But I will say that my brother had the same experience from an alternate supplier.. Take care =)

  • Julienne.Dalbi

    @ Michael: The more I read you, the more I think that you might have found what the real problem is ( i.e: "there's some other cultivars going around") because the MrS that I have are not just sweet, they are VERY sweet ( too sweet for my husband for example). All this does not add up I am left wondering if we are talking about the same tomato. Here is a pic of one of mine, currently in my garden. The pic is not very good, but do they look the same?

  • Mike

    Hey Julienne,

    Perhaps! My fruit did not display the deep ribbing as your's does; it was a more smooth fruit.. It was also closer to the yellow end of orange.. Hmmm


  • seysonn

    I Googled Mr Stripy images and found out that there are differen strains, shapes, sizes. The one that got seeds from looked likes this :

  • Julienne.Dalbi

    The blossom end of the tomato I posted turns that color when ripe - probably darker orange - but it is not a smooth fruit like this one. On the contrary, the fruits have this deep ribbing that you can see on the pic I posted. Fruits are very very large (one tomato is a lot for one person. Too much for most people). The plant is indeterminate so it grows & grows with big & beautiful dark green leaves - I trim them between 6 and 7 ft - it continuously produces dozens & dozens of big fruits.
    When I cut them, the fruit has a very dense flesh, yellow on the upper part with vermilion red zones ( specifically blossom end area),very few seeds, the flavor is very sweet with a fruity taste, not very acidic.

    Now there are different strains of MrS I am sure because of the diversity of what you can hear about them. In another post, there was a lady totally mad at MrS tomatoes saying that the plant was yielding " ridiculously small and rare fruits" which is the total opposite of what you can see on my pic... I don't know anything about her gardening skills but I can tell you that the one plant that you see on my pic has been neglected, big time, as I was in and out the hospital after a car accident ( and my husband knows nothing about gardening). When I came back my garden has been watered but not taken care of: it was the jungle in there! No leopard, snakes & monkeys yet but close enough... ;-)
    It is unbelievable that there are so many differences in shape, taste, size etc.
    Mind boggling.
    I can keep some seeds of mine and mail then over to you if you want ( don't know if it is legal though... Well normally California is making things very difficult with plants)
    Take care,

  • Mike

    Hey Julienne,
    Yea, your description is nothing like the variety I grew.. An abundance of large (late) smooth fruit, but lacking flavor of anything worth describing.. I'd absolutely love to grow out a few seeds from your particular strain.. I'm sure it's legal... Carolyn....? =)

  • Julienne.Dalbi

    No problem. Let me select the best fruits - while we are at it, let's keep the best genes - and I will keep/dry the seeds for you. I also have to... Find (viable) seeds as the fruit as big as it is, has very few seeds.
    I already grew some successfully but I remember that germination and beginning are quite slow. But as soon as the plant is outside and in the ground, its just grows very fast.

  • Mike

    Looking forward to it! You could send me an email when you're ready for my info etc... =)

  • kenzo

    This is my third year with Mr Stripey - this year I started from seed saved from last years plant. The strain I have was greener than the above to my memory - a leggy and not particularly productive plant I decided to give it another try because it was otherwise healthy through the season and after a long wait did produce a late crop, and the fruits were attractive and added some color and variety to the mix. Right now I have a tall lanky plant with one single fruit I am hoping for a late bloomer but I may not plant this again. I did notice that the nursery where I purchased the original plant did not have this variety in stock this year, perhaps it has not been very popular. To memory the taste was OK but nothing special.

  • gosalsk

    I had one of these (the big ones, it was Bonnie branded from Home Depot) and it did well for the first harvest but subsequent rounds of fruit had bad blossom end rot.

    That's a mystery to me because it is in a container and I have 20 other plants grown under the same conditions that had almost no BER.

    I could have forgotten to put lime in the mix for this one plant, but I don't think so.

  • aegis1000

    I harvested about 45 of these this year (from 2 vines), many weighing between 1 and 2 pounds ...

  • jrmagm

    I grew my first Mr. Stripey last year, a random plant I found in a nursery. Never heard about this variety before. I grew it in a large container, it was spindly and did not produce a lot. But what I got from my one plant made the best bruschetta. I bought seeds this year and will do several plants in huge containers and will try one in my little vegetable garden. I always give something a couple growing seasons before I decide against growing it again.

  • aegis1000

    I found that using an electric toothbrush to dislodge the blooms' pollen increased my yields tremendously.

  • Seysonn_ 8a-NC/HZ-7

    Thanks for sharing, aegis1000.
    Good to know. I should try it this year.


  • Seysonn_ 8a-NC/HZ-7

    About Mr Stripy described as being spindly ???

    Well, to me most indets have vine like growth habit and thus are spindly. You can encourage it to get more side branches by topping it early on.


  • aegis1000

    My Mr. Stripey plants were HUGE last year ... larger, by far, than any of my other tomato varieties.

    (2) plants completely took over my planting area.

  • booberry85

    Wow! I think there must be at least two strains of Mr. Stripey. I grew it several years ago. The ones I grew look nothing like the pictures above. They were salad tomatoes. The stripes were a lot more pronounced. The plants were productive (unfortunately). They were total spitters - very bitter / acidic.

  • farmerdill

    Tigerella is also often called Mr Stripey. It is a small tart salad type.

  • HU-732560788

    When I grew Mr Stripey, my fruit looked like Julienne's. It had the folds and was very delicious but low yields. ...but that could've been me.

  • HU-442864390

    I grew a Mr stripy for the 1st ttime e this summer. I found it took off once I put it in full sun and a bigger pot. Though I started it in June and moved it in July, I have had a big crop of tomatoes. My only concern now, being in MI is encouraging them to turn yellow! They're still green and night temps are dropping to mid 40.

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