- Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes: How To Distinguish A Determinate From An Indeterminate Tomato
- How to Distinguish a Determinate from an Indeterminate Tomato
- Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes
- Differences in Care
- Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes
- Determinate Tomatoes
- Indeterminate Tomatoes
- How To Decide Which Type Of Tomato Plant To Grow
- The Difference Between Determinate And Indeterminate Tomatoes
- Cage-free Tomatoes?
- Husk Tomatoes
- Lastly, Some All-Time Favorites!
- Steps to Determine if a Tomato Plant is a Determinate or Indeterminate Variety
- What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes?
- Should you Prune your Tomato Plant?
- What Types of Tomatoes are Determinate and Indeterminate?
- Related Questions
- Determinate and Indeterminate
- Ace 55 Heirloom Tomato
- Amelia Tomato
- Better Bush Tomato
- BHN 602 Tomato
- Biltmore Tomato
- Bonnie Centennial Tomato
- Bush Early Girl Tomato
- Bush Goliath Tomato
- Celebrity Tomato
- Debut Hybrid Tomato
- Defiant Tomato
- Heatmaster Tomato
- Heinz Super Roma Tomato
- Homestead Heirloom Tomato
- Little Bing Compact Cherry Tomato
- Little Napoli Compact Roma
- Little Sicily Compact Slicing Tomato
- Monica Roma Tomato
- Patio Tomato
- Phoenix Tomato
- Red Pride Tomato
- Red Robin Cherry Tomato
- Roma Tomato
- Rutgers Heirloom Tomato
- Solar Fire Tomato
- Summer Sandwich Tomato
- Summer Set Tomato
- Sunrise Sauce Tomato
- Sweet ‘n’ Neat Cherry Tomato
- Tumbling Tom Red Tomato
- Tumbling Tom Yellow Tomato
- Yellow Canary Tomato (Birdy Series)
- Are there different types of tomato leaves?
- What’s the difference between “indeterminate” and “determinate” tomatoes?
- Should I prune or not prune tomato suckers?
- Is pruning necessary at all?
- What is the best spacing for my tomato plants?
- What’s the difference between a regular tomato and an heirloom tomato?
- Can I save the seeds from hybrid tomatoes?
- Why are heirloom tomatoes so ‘ugly’?
- What can I do to get my kids to like tomatoes?
- What does “days to maturity” mean?
- Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
- What kind of tomatoes are best for canning?
- What tomatoes best for container planting?
- To mulch or not to mulch my tomato plants?
- How do I get rid of Stink Bugs and leaf Footed Bugs?
- I have a problem with squirrels. They have been eating up my tomatoes.
- What can I do organically to prevent pests like hornworms attacking my tomatoes in the hot and humid area of South Florida? Also, how can I reduce the fungal issues that are common here in Florida?
- I live in the high mountain country. What tomato varieties are best suited for me?
- I just moved to Florida from cold country. What tomatoes do well here?
- I have fur on the tomatoes of some of my plants. Is this unusual?
- Are cherry tomatoes good to grow for making a sauce?
- I am unable to find access to a couple hybrid tomato varieties that my family considered favorites in my youth. Do some hybrid tomatoes just become unavailable over time?
- What purple or red tomato would be best for growing in containers in the hot and humid South?
- My father likes the more robust acidic varieties of tomato. What is a tomato with a real bite of acid to its flavor?
- Are the green tomato varieties considered sweet tomatoes or tart tomatoes?
- Can you generalize whether a tomato will taste sweeter or tart by the color of the tomato?
- What are the terms most often used to describe tomato flavors?
- Determinate and Indeterminate
- Tomato Varieties: How to Understand the Way They are Classified
- Before you leave …
- Classification #1: Heirloom or Hybrid
- Classification #2: Determinate or indeterminate
- Classification #3: Shape
- Have A Favorite Tomato Variety?
- What Other Visitors Have Said
Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes: How To Distinguish A Determinate From An Indeterminate Tomato
There is nothing quite like a home-grown juicy, sweet ripe tomato. Tomatoes are classified by their growth habit and fall into the categories of determinate and indeterminate tomato varieties. Once you know the characteristics, it’s easy to tell which tomatoes are determinate and which are indeterminate.
Duration and form of growth are the main ways to tell the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. Which type you choose will depend upon the use, available space and the length of your growing season.
How to Distinguish a Determinate from an Indeterminate Tomato
There are so many varieties of tomato, and the choices can be overwhelming. One of the first things to consider is the length of your growing season.
- Determinate tomato varieties tend to ripen early.
- Indeterminate tomato varieties will have a longer growth period and can produce fruit until frost arrives.
The selection of tomato will also depend upon the use you have for the fruit. If you will be canning, a determinate type, which ripens all around the same time, is useful. If you want fruit throughout the growing season, then an
indeterminate tomato is best.
Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes
The form the tomato plant takes is a big clue as to which tomato variety you grow. A comparison of determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes shows one is a vine and one is bushy.
The determinate tomato plant is often grown in a cage or even without support, as it has a more compact shape. The determinate tomato varieties also produce most of their fruit on the terminal end.
The indeterminate tomato varieties have much longer stem growth, which continues to grow until cold weather arrives. They require staking and tying onto a structure to keep the fruit off the ground. This type sets fruit along the stem.
To learn how to distinguish a determinate from an indeterminate tomato, check the shoot formation.
- The determinate forms stop their shoot production once flowers form on the ends.
- Indeterminate tomato varieties will form flowers along the sides of the shoots but they continue to grow until weather conditions are no longer favorable.
This is the main difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. The formation of new leaves at branch areas is a characteristic of both types of plants and doesn’t help in distinguishing the forms. Just to confuse things a bit, there are also tomato forms that are semi-determinate and fall between the two main varieties in growth habit.
Differences in Care
Determinate tomato varieties produce the early season fruits and are generally set out earlier in the season. Determinate tomatoes are usually smaller and can be grown in containers.
The indeterminate tomato varieties span the sandwich and out of hand types of fruit. Indeterminate types usually need a garden bed or larger space to spread out. In addition, indeterminate plants can be pruned to just a couple of stems. Remove all the suckers up to the one just below the first flower cluster. This will promote the formation of the stem and flush new flower buds for better fruiting.
Determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes… what the heck is the difference? In this post, I’ll explain what those terms mean, and how to tell the difference between the two types of tomato plants. Then I’ll discuss the pros and cons of each, and show you how to decide which type to grow.
How can you tell the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes? This is a very common question that most new gardeners have when they first start growing vegetables.
The words may sound complicated, but don’t worry. Once you know the difference, you’ll easily be able to tell just by looking at the plants.
Below I’ll discuss determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes, and talk in depth about each type. I’ll also include the pros and cons, and help you decide which one is best for your needs.
Here’s what you’ll find in this guide…
- Determinate vs Indeterminate
- What’s The Difference?
- How To Tell Them Apart
- Determinate Tomatoes
- What Does Determinate Tomato Mean?
- How Long Do They Produce?
- How Big Do They Get?
- Determinate Tomato Varieties
- Indeterminate Tomatoes
- What Does Indeterminate Tomato Mean?
- How Long Do They Produce?
- How Big Do They Get?
- Indeterminate Tomato Varieties
- How To Decide Which Type To Grow
Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes
You may have heard the terms determinate and indeterminate in regards to tomatoes and wonder what they mean.
Well, don’t be intimidated. Those are just fancy words used to distinguish between the size and growth habits of the two types of tomato plants.
For me, it’s easy to remember determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes when I think of the meaning of the two words…
- The word determinate means having a determined or maximum size limit. Which makes me think of small, compact plants.
- The word indeterminate means there is no set limit, the size is undetermined. That makes me think of large, vining plants.
So let’s take those simple definitions and relate them to tomato plants…
What’s The Difference Between Indeterminate & Determinate Tomatoes?
The main differences between the two types of tomato plants are…
- Determinate tomatoes are small, bush plants that grow to a certain size. They produce their fruit all at once.
- Indeterminate tomatoes are large plants with long, pliable branches. They produce fruit throughout the growing season.
How To Tell Determinate From Indeterminate Tomatoes
When it comes to figuring out determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes, you can’t tell the difference just by look at the seeds or the seedlings. So it’s important to check the tag or seed packet before purchasing.
Once the plants mature, it’s easy to tell the difference based on the size of the plant, and the growth habit. Besides the obvious size difference of the two plants, there is one other distinguishing factor that you may be able to spot…
Indeterminate tomatoes will produce fruit all along the stems. While determinate plants will form their fruit on the ends of the branches.
Determinate tomatoes form fruit on the ends of the branches
Since you can’t tell the difference between indeterminate and determinate tomatoes just by looking at the seedlings or seeds, you must read the label to figure it out.
Determinate varieties are usually marketed as “bush”, “patio” or “container” plants since they grow very well in small spaces and pots. But of course you can grow them in your garden too.
Determinate tomato plants growing in containers
What Does Determinate Tomato Mean?
As I mentioned above, determinate tomatoes will get to a certain size, and then stop growing. So these types of tomato plants don’t grow to be very tall.
These smaller, more compact forms can be planted in the garden, or grown in planters and containers. They perform very well in pots, which means you can grow them anywhere – like on a patio, deck, or balcony.
How Long Do Determinate Tomatoes Produce?
Determinate tomato plants will stop growing once they begin setting fruit. Then the tomatoes will usually ripen all at once. The tomatoes are usually smaller, and the plants aren’t as productive as indeterminate varieties.
Some gardeners see this as a disadvantage, especially those who want to enjoy fresh tomatoes all summer long. But determinate varieties also tend to have a shorter growing season, which means the tomatoes will ripen earlier.
So, be sure to buy a few different varieties that have various maturity dates, or stagger your plantings. That will help to ensure you have a longer harvest time.
Related Post: Tomatoes Not Turning Red? Try These 5 Tricks
Determinate patio plants in pots with ripening tomatoes
How Big Do Determinate Tomatoes Get?
The full height of the plant depends on the variety you grow, but most determinate tomato plants will grow to be 2-4′ tall. Some semi-determinate varieties may grow slightly taller, but they will still keep their compact form.
Though they don’t grow as tall as indeterminate varieties, determinate tomatoes will still need some kind of support. Usually a tomato cage or plant stakes are sufficient to keep them from toppling over once they are heavy with fruit.
Determinate Tomato Varieties List
Though the majority of tomato plants are indeterminate, there are more determinate varieties to choose from these days than ever before. In fact, some common indeterminate varieties have even been bred to be determinate.
Here are a few of my favorite determinate tomato varieties to grow… ‘Glacier Bush‘, ‘Celebrity’, ‘Italian Roma‘, ‘Early Girl Bush’, ‘Red Pride‘, and ‘Super Bush‘.
Indeterminate tomatoes aren’t always labeled as such, which can make it hard to figure out what you’re buying. But in my experience, any tomato plant that’s not labeled as a patio, bush, or container variety is likely indeterminate.
But you can’t alway make that assumption. So, if the label doesn’t specify, then it’s best to look up the specific variety before purchasing it so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Indeterminate tomato plants growing on a trellis
What Does Indeterminate Mean In Tomatoes?
Indeterminate tomatoes don’t have a set size limit. They’ll keep growing until frost kills them. The plants get very tall, and have long, vining branches which can be trained to grow on a vertical support.
These plants can become huge monsters, and are best suited for growing in a large garden plot where they have plenty of space to branch out. In this case, you can prune tomato plants heavily to help control their size.
How Long Do Indeterminate Tomatoes Produce?
Indeterminate tomatoes are heavy producers, and will yield much more fruit than determinate varieties. They usually do take longer to begin producing. But once they get started, they’ll continue going through frost.
The fruits are larger on most indeterminate varieties, but can be much slower to ripen. If you have a short growing season like I do, be sure to plant them as early as possible to give them plenty of time to mature.
Indeterminate tomatoes growing in cages in the garden
How Big Do Indeterminate Tomatoes Get?
The full size of the plant will vary by type, but indeterminate tomatoes can reach staggering heights. It’s not uncommon to hear of plants reaching 12-15′ tall.
But most plants will only grow to be 6-8′ tall, with compact indeterminate varieties being the smallest.
The plants have long branches that require staking to keep them upright. They’re often referred to as vining plants, even though they aren’t actual vines.
Indeterminate tomatoes are usually grown in sturdy tomato cages. But the pliable branches can easily be trained to grow on a vertical support, like an a-frame or lean-to style trellis.
List Of Indeterminate Tomatoes
When it comes to choosing indeterminate varieties, you’ll have tons of options. Like I mentioned above, most types of tomato plants are indeterminate. So, your biggest struggle will be deciding which variety you want to grow.
A few of my personal favorite indeterminate tomato varieties are ‘Beefsteak’, ‘Big Boy’, ‘Red Cherry‘, ‘Sweet 100’, ‘Brandywine‘, ‘Early Girl’, and ‘Cherokee Purple‘.
Indeterminate tomatoes grow fruit all along the stems
How To Decide Which Type Of Tomato Plant To Grow
Sometimes it can be hard to choose between determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes. They both have their pros and cons, so how do you figure it out? Here are a few factors to help you decide…
Choose determinate tomatoes if you…
- don’t have a large garden plot, and need to grow tomatoes in small spaces
- want to grow tomatoes in containers on your deck or patio
- need them to ripen all at once for canning or cooking
Choose indeterminate tomatoes if you…
- have a large garden to fill
- want to grow them vertically
- prefer to harvest and enjoy your tomatoes all summer long
But you don’t have to chose one over the other, you can grow both! I personally like to grow a few varieties of both types of tomatoes every summer. That way, I can enjoy the benefits of each.
Now that you know the difference between determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes, you’ll be able to make an informed decision of which type to grow.
Just remember, if the plant doesn’t get much taller than 2-4′, then it’s a determinate variety. If it grows to be gigantic, and requires constant staking, then it’s definitely indeterminate.
More About Vegetable Gardening
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Share your preference of determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes in the comments below.
Just exactly what is the difference between determinate vs. indeterminate tomatoes?
Is one better than the other to grow?
Can I grow both in my garden? Do I need to grow a certain type if I want to can and preserve my harvest? What about fresh eating?
These are just a few of the oft-asked questions when it comes to growing determinate vs. indeterminate tomatoes.
This striped Green Zebra tomato is a flavor-packed heirloom that as an indeterminate, produces fruit until the first frost.
And with today’s article, we hope to answer all of those questions and more.
The Difference Between Determinate And Indeterminate Tomatoes
When it comes to determinate vs. indeterminate tomatoes, both can be packed full of flavor and nutrition.
And, both are perfectly fine to grow by themselves – or together in the same garden.
Choosing which of the two tomato types is best comes down to how the tomatoes will be used.
How you use your tomatoes is a big part of which tomato type is best.
And as you will see, in many cases, it makes good sense to plant both types.
With that said, let’s take an in-depth look at indeterminate and determinate tomatoes.
Determinate tomatoes are varieties that bloom, fruit and mature their entire crop all at a specific time.
These types of tomatoes will bloom during the same time-frame, fruit around same time, and finally, ripen their fruit during the same time period as well.
The Roma is a determinate tomato variety which produces all of its harvest during one time period.
And when they are done, they are done.
Determinate’s can produce a big harvest, but over a compact period of time. For most varieties, that time frame is usually two to three weeks.
Determinate varieties often require more robust tomato stakes and cages to support their heavy fruit load.
There are many determinate varieties that are wonderful for fresh eating. Just keep in mind that the harvest is for a very limited time.
But for those who like to can or preserve, determinate tomatoes are a great choice.
They are the perfect way to get a big harvest, and can and preserve all at once.
Determinate tomatoes are great for canning, producing all of their crop at once.
They can also be a great choice for those looking to make large batches of salsa, tomato sauce, or chili and tomato soup.
Determinate tomatoes can also be planted at staggered times. This allows for big harvests, but at different times of the season.
Two great examples of prolific determinate tomatoes are the Roma Tomato and Celebrity Tomato.
Both produce and ripen abundant crops over a two to three week time frame. And they are both perfect canning and preserving.
Indeterminate tomatoes continue to grow, bloom and produce throughout an entire season.
And they do so until the first hard frost or freeze finally takes them out.
Indeterminate tomatoes like this Genovese continue to produce until the first frost.
Indeterminate tomatoes constant production make them a great choice for those who love eating fresh tomatoes all summer long.
Many indeterminate varieties, like Brandywine and San Marzanno, are incredible for canning as well.
But remember, with indeterminate varieties, the harvest is spread out over an entire summer.
Cherry tomatoes can be found in both indeterminate and determinate varieties.
That means you may need to can or preserve in smaller batches. Or, perhaps grow more plants for larger single harvests.
Heirloom vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes
One final note – the term indeterminate is often confused as being identical to heirloom.
Heirloom refers to the quality of seed being open-pollinated. It does not refer to a plant’s growth habits.
So when it comes to determinate vs. indeterminate tomatoes, remember both can be found as heirloom varieties.
For more great tomato info, check out our article : The Secret To Planting Tomatoes
This Is My Garden
This Is My Garden is a garden website created by gardeners, publishing two articles every week, 52 weeks a year. This article may contain affiliate links.
Choosing tomatoes to plant in your garden can be a bit tricky if you don’t know a few key terms. Since there are so many different tomato varieties out there, it can be hard to figure out which one is right for your garden. Some varieties are perfect for making sauce, while others are great for tossing into salads all summer long.
Certified organic tomatoes grown at Southern Exposure
All of the tomato seeds Southern Exposure offers are non-GMO and non-hybrid. Most varieties are heirloom tomato seeds. People often debate about what “heirloom” means, but to us, an heirloom variety is generally one that was introduced before the widespread use of hybrid varieties in industrial agriculture. This began around 1940. The integrity of our heirloom tomato seeds has been preserved thanks to open pollination. Most of our tomato seeds are also certified organic, which means the seed was collected from plants grown without exposure to petrol chemicals.
The distinction between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes sometimes leaves people baffled, so here’s a little tutorial.
Determinate tomatoes will stop growing at a certain point, and generally they are shorter in height than indeterminate varieties. Here in Virginia, if a determinate tomato plant grows to be five feet tall, the same plant could be three feet tall in a colder climate. Either way, there is a limit to how tall a determinate tomato plant will get.
Determinate tomatoes include: Glacier, Roma VF Virginia Select, Marglobe VF, Neptune
Indeterminate tomatoes, on the other hand, will just keep growing and growing! Factors that affect height are climate/length of season, trellis size, and plant health. In tropical areas, indeterminate varieties can be like perennials and grow for a few years. Most tomato varieties, especially cherries, are indeterminate. One of our customers who planted our Matt’s Wild Cherry seeds in her greenhouse told us that the vine grew to be 17 feet long! (Please keep in mind that this is very unusual.)
Indeterminate tomatoes include: Yellow Brandywine, Georgia Streak, Abraham Lincoln
An advantage of growing determinate tomatoes is that there is less trellising work involved. Also, if you are going to be canning fresh tomatoes, you will probably want to go with a determinate variety as most of the fruit will need to be harvested over a short period of time. The disadvantage of determinate tomatoes is that they have fewer leaves than indeterminate varieties, meaning that the plant is less likely to receive nutrients. More leaves = more nutrients = tastier fruit. So, if you are hoping for a tomato plant that will consistently bear smaller amounts of tomatoes for snacking, sandwiches and salads, you’ll want to go with an indeterminate variety.
We’ve been asked if it’s absolutely necessary to trellis tomatoes. In other words, is it OK to let them sprawl on the ground? The short answer is yes. But it’s not the greatest idea! Cage-less tomatoes will bear less fruit than trellised tomatoes, and the fruit you will get
could be more vulnerable to rot and critters. If you really don’t have the funds for trellising materials, make sure to mulch the ground heavily to protect the tomatoes. If the mulch
gets wet, however, the ripe tomatoes sitting on the ground will certainly rot, so I’d recommend only trying cage-free tomatoes in hot, dry weather.
Although tomato trellising requires both time and money, it’s a worthy investment! You can reuse your tomato cages year after year. At Southern
Exposure, we use five-foot-tall cages made with concrete-reinforced wire cut into pieces that measure two to three feet in diameter. Also, we make sure to secure our cages with sturdy posts so that they don’t fall over.
Thanks to some of our seed growers just up the road, we now carry fives types of tomatillos! Our most recent addition is called Purple Tomatillo. In honor of this, I’d like to briefly explore the world of husk tomatoes with you.
Husk tomatoes, as our catalog describes, “are distinguished from tomatoes by the light-brown, papery husk which enlarges and covers the maturing berries.” Picture Chinese lanterns with goodies inside of them, and you’ve got husk tomatoes!
Ground cherries and tomatillos are the two most commonly cultivated species of husk tomatoes. Tomatillos are commonly used for salsa and other Mexican foods, and they are often cooked to bring out their full flavor. Ground cherries, on the other hand, can be eaten raw. They are deliciously sweet, so you could also try them in sauces, preserves, pies and other desserts!
Lastly, Some All-Time Favorites!
For storage – Garden Peach*
For sauce – Hungarian Italian Paste
Cherry tomatoes – Matt’s Wild Cherry
All-around good – Eva Purple Ball
*Personally, I’d say that Garden Peach is the most scrumptious tomato I’ve ever tasted. These little pinkish-yellow bulbs make the perfect snack, and if you pick them when light green, they’ll store well without splitting.
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Tomatoes are one of the most popular gardening plants to grow. One of the most common questions people ask is the difference between determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. I’ll admit, when I started gardening I didn’t even know these terms existed, so I’ve done a lot of research!
So what is the difference between a determinate and indeterminate tomato plant? Determinate tomato plants are small and bushy, typically no more than four to five feet tall. Indeterminate tomato plants have a more vine type of structure and can grow over ten feet tall.
That is the main visual way to quickly distinguish if a tomato plant is determinate or indeterminate. We can go into more detail on how to tell the difference and also find out which variety should you plant based on your specific needs.
Steps to Determine if a Tomato Plant is a Determinate or Indeterminate Variety
- Check the height of the plant. After the plant has been growing for a while and has tomatoes on it, check its height. If it is fairly short (no more than four to five feet tall), then it is probably a determinate tomato. Assuming the plant is staked to keep it upright if it is getting very tall (up to heights of eight feet or more), then it is most likely an indeterminate variety.
- Check the leaves of our plant. Determinate tomatoes commonly have leaves that are closer together on the stem, making them look bushier. Indeterminate varieties have leaves that are spaced out more and look more like vines.
- Check the flowers and fruit production. If the tomato plant is flowering all at once and producing all of its tomatoes at the same time, then it is a determinate tomato. It will grow all of its fruit and ripen all tomatoes within the same two to three week timespan and then the plant will be done growing and producing. On the other hand, indeterminate tomatoes will continue to grow and produce more flowers and fruit up to your first frost, so you’ll have a mix of new flowers and ripe fruit at the same time.
- Check the plant tag or seed packet. This might seem obvious but it may be something that was missed. If the plant was purchased at a nursery or garden center, it may say on the tag if it is determinate or indeterminate. If the plant was started from seed, it may say on the seed packet.
So now you know how to identify the type of tomato plant, but which type should you plant? Let’s find out next!
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes?
Depending on your needs and how you will use your tomatoes, some of the features listed below could be considered both an advantage or a disadvantage, so some are listed twice.
- Less maintenance because the plant is smaller in size and more manageable.
- More tomatoes produced earlier in the growing season.
- Avoid common disease issues that plague tomato plants later in the season because the plant will be finished producing.
- Get all tomatoes from the plant at about the same time. This might be beneficial for canning purposes.
- Once the plant is finished with its one batch of tomatoes, you can remove the plant and use that space for something else.
- Fewer tomatoes per plant.
- All the tomatoes will be picked from the plant at about the same time. If you are growing a lot of the same kind of tomato, you may have more than you can handle all at once.
- Fewer tomato plants per square foot because more space is needed in between each plant.
- The plant will die once it is finished producing and you’ll be left with empty space in your garden unless you plant something else.
- More tomatoes per plant.
- Larger tomatoes if the single stem method is used.
- Can grow more plants in a smaller amount of space if the single stem method is used.
- Will gradually produce more tomatoes all season long until the first frost.
- More maintenance is required because the plant never stops growing. More attention to staking and pruning will be necessary.
- If not pruning, you may receive a lot of tomatoes but they’ll likely be smaller in size.
Knowing this information should help you decide which type of tomato plants to grow. I’ve mentioned a few times about a single stem method and pruning, so let’s cover that next!
Should you Prune your Tomato Plant?
Everyone seems to have a different opinion on this popular topic so I will give you what I have learned from my experiences and research.
For either type of tomato plant, minimal pruning is recommended. The bottom branches of tomato plants should always be pruned in order to get good air flow between the plants and the soil. Common disease problems, like mildew and blight, that plague tomatoes can sometimes be prevented by making sure the leaves are not touching the ground and water isn’t splashing up on the plant during heavy rains. I also recommend cutting off leaf branches in between tomato plants to ensure proper air flow.
Now let’s talk about suckers (no not the candy!). A sucker is new growth that starts in between the main growing stem of the plant and a leaf stem. Suckers can be considered a new tomato plant because it becomes another main stem that can produce flowers, fruit and more suckers.
For determinate tomatoes, it is commonly recommended not to remove the suckers and to let your plant grow as much as it can. You only get one chance for your plant to set fruit, so you want as many growing stems and flowers as possible.
For indeterminate tomatoes, it can really be done either way. If you don’t prune any of the suckers, much more growth will occur and many more tomatoes will be produced. However, those tomatoes may be smaller in size because it takes much more energy from the plant to produce that many tomatoes.
If you do decide to prune the suckers, you will likely end up with larger tomatoes, less foliage to work with, and you’ll be able to plant more tomato plants closer together. This method of pruning is called the “single stem” method. The main growing stem can be tracked from the ground and followed up the plant. Any time a sucker appears in between the main stem and a leaf branch, remove that sucker. The main stem will need to be staked and will grow very tall and produce very nice, large tomatoes.
He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
What Types of Tomatoes are Determinate and Indeterminate?
So now you’re probably ready to buy some tomato seeds or plants, but you may not know which varieties you want because they are not always marked clearly as determinate or indeterminate. Many, many different varieties are out there but this is just a small list of some of the most common tomatoes.
- Roma – Small meaty tomato that is commonly used for sauces, canning, and making tomato paste.
- Ace 55 – Perfectly round shaped tomatoes that are small to medium in size.
- Rutgers – Another very round shaped tomato that is versatile enough to use for any situation!
- Grape – Semi-determinate variety that is in between a cherry tomato and Roma tomato in features.
- San Marzano – Semi-determinate similar to a Roma tomato with great flavor.
- Cherry – Bite sized tomatoes with a sweet flavor that are most commonly eaten whole. Most varieties are indeterminate.
- Jetstar – Low acidity, crack resistant tomato.
- Better Boy – A very common variety that produces medium sized fruit often seen in a grocery store. A good slicing tomato.
- Early Girl – A medium sized tomato that is known for its quick and early harvests.
- Beefsteak – Known for their very large fruit and great taste.
- Sungold – Similar to cherry tomatoes. Small in size, orange in color, and a very sweet flavor.
- Champion – Great medium sized tomato that produces an early harvest and continues to produce until your first frost.
Check out Our Favorite Products page to find everything you might need to help make your garden a success!
Are heirloom tomatoes determinate or indeterminate? Some heirloom tomatoes are determinate and some are indeterminate. Heirloom means that the plant is open pollinated and has been a variety in circulation for more than 50 years.
How long will determinate tomatoes produce? Determinate tomatoes will produce tomatoes according to the ‘days to maturity’ label on the seed packet. The plant will only produce one harvest of tomatoes at this time.
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Determinate and Indeterminate
When selecting tomato varieties, you must choose between plants with different types of growth habits called determinate or indeterminate. All tomatoes are either one or the other.
Determinate varieties (including bush varieties) reach a certain plant height and then stop growing. The majority of their fruit matures within a month or two and appears at the ends of the branches. These are popular with gardeners who like to can, make sauce, or have another reason for wanting most of their tomatoes at once. It might even be that you’d prefer to harvest early and leave late summer for a long vacation.
Most determinate varieties need a cage, but there are some very stocky varieties, such as Better Bush, that have a very sturdy main stems; they don’t need much support, just a stake to keep them from toppling in wind and rain. Varieties especially suited to growing in pots, such as Patio and Better Bush, are determinate. Little or no pruning is needed.
Indeterminate varieties continue to grow and produce tomatoes all along the stems throughout the growing season. Indeterminate plants need extra-tall supports of at least 5 feet. Because indeterminate varieties throw out so many shoots, gardeners often prune them for optimum-sized fruit or train them on a very tall trellis. However, if you don’t prune, no harm done! You may have seen photos of 10- or 15-foot tomato vines. These are definitely indeterminate types.
Most gardeners grow both types, determinate for large harvests for canning and freezing and indeterminate to get fruit for salads and sandwiches throughout the growing season.
A few varieties are called semi-determinate or compact indeterminate because they are somewhere in between. For best results, give them support.
Ace 55 Heirloom Tomato
Heirloom. Large, deep red fruit with low acid content–one of the few red tomatoes to be able to make that…
A great garden tomato, this variety is especially popular in Texas, where it made its debut at the 2004 and…
Ideal for containers
Resists spotted wilt
Super disease resistant
Better Bush Tomato
This is a great choice that bears sizeable fruits on a very compact plant that works well in containers and…
BHN 602 Tomato
Bred in Florida, where heat and humidity are extreme, BHN 602 tomato compensates for its plain-Jane name with a fruitful…
This tomato is celebrated for its ability to ripen a large amount of fruit all at once for efficient home…
Bonnie Centennial Tomato
Hybrid. Meet the Bonnie Centennial Tomato, an exclusive variety to mark Bonnie Plants’ 100th anniversary! This tomato was definitely worth…
New for 2018
Bush Early Girl Tomato
This hybrid is a relative of the well-known standard-sized Early Girl yet produces more tomatoes than many other compact varieties….
Pots & small spaces
Bush Goliath Tomato
For such a compact plant, Bush Goliath produces surprisingly large, 3 to 4 inch, sweet tomatoes on determinate vines consistently…
Extra large fruit
Celebrity vines bear clusters of medium-large tomatoes that are prized for their flavor. This is a great, all-round, dependable choice…
Debut Hybrid Tomato
Can’t wait for that first tomato? Debut yields flavor-filled slicer tomatoes in 70 days. Its compact size makes this tomato…
Defiant tomato was new for 2011, and you can still almost hear the trumpet fanfare. Named for its defiance of…
Heatmaster holds its own in hot Southern gardens, where temperatures are frequently high. A determinate hybrid tomato, plants produce strongly…
Heinz Super Roma Tomato
Heinz Super Roma (also known as Heinz 8009) offers all the benefits of meaty Roma fruits with one additional benefit:…
Homestead Heirloom Tomato
Heirloom. An old favorite dating from 1954. Developed by the University of Florida especially for hot climates and known for…
Little Bing Compact Cherry Tomato
Hybrid. If you love tomatoes but are short on space, this is the ideal plant for you. Little Bing’s compact,…
Great for cooking
New for 2020
Little Napoli Compact Roma
Hybrid. If you love making sauces and pastes but don’t have a lot of space to grow your own Roma…
Little Sicily Compact Slicing Tomato
Hybrid. If you love tomatoes but never grow them due to space restrictions, it’s time to make your green thumb—and…
Monica Roma Tomato
Compact and very productive, Monica produces lots of meaty Roma-style tomatoes. Fruit is blocky in shape, delicious in flavor. Just…
Patio hybrid is excellent for containers and small gardens, bearing tasty 3 to 4 oz tomatoes on strong, compact plants…
Phoenix tomato really shines in climes where summer heat makes the thermometer mercury rise! Developed for South Texas and places…
Red Pride Tomato
Hybrid. This strong, vigorous plant is perfect for small gardens and containers. Large, round, red fruits are ideal for slicing…
Red Robin Cherry Tomato
Hybrid. Talk about a space-saver! This super-compact tomato plant can be as small as just 8 inches tall, making it…
Prized for its use in tomato paste and sauces, Roma produces a large harvest of thick-walled, meaty, bright red, egg-shaped…
Rutgers Heirloom Tomato
Heirloom. An old favorite, Rutgers is proven to be highly productive. The large, red fruits have a thick flesh with…
Solar Fire Tomato
No, it’s not a hot tomato, but if you need a tomato that can set fruit in summer’s heat, try…
Summer Sandwich Tomato
Hybrid. Are you eager for summer’s first BLT? You’ll love this big, juicy, slicing tomato with its rich, old-time flavor—and…
Summer Set Tomato
High temperatures don’t usually affect fruit set on Summer Set tomato. This hybrid tomato has the genes to set fruit…
Sunrise Sauce Tomato
Hybrid. Grow gorgeous, bright orange, Roma-type tomatoes perfect for sauce—right on your patio or balcony! Sunrise Sauce produces high yields…
Sweet ‘n’ Neat Cherry Tomato
Sweet ‘n’ Neat is the perfect pick for balconies or other extra-small garden spaces. You can even try growing it…
Tumbling Tom Red Tomato
Trade flowering hanging baskets for pretty-as-a-picture trailing tomatoes. Tumbling Tom Red plants cascade from hanging baskets, tall containers, or window…
Tumbling Tom Yellow Tomato
Fill a few hanging baskets with Tumbling Tom Yellow tomatoes for an eye-catching — and tasty — show. Stems cascade…
Yellow and orange
Yellow Canary Tomato (Birdy Series)
Hybrid. Grow a beautiful, delicious edible garden in very little space with Yellow Canary Tomato. An ideal determinate tomato for…
New for 2019
Tomato Growing FAQ’s
Are there different types of tomato leaves?
Yes, There are two leaf types, Regular (RL) & Potato Leaf (PL) and there are also leaf variations for both types, (Rugose-a darker green rough-surfaced leaf, or Angora–a fuzzy, hairy type regular leaf.)
Regular Leaf is the most typical leaf type with leaf edges that are serrated. There are many variations in terms of size of leaf and leaf color with various shades of green or green-blue tint. Some leaves are very narrow and are sometimes called dissected because they look like a saw tooth cut them.
Potato Leaf usually has fewer cuts or serrations on the leaf edge. Sometimes there are a few large notches in the mostly smooth leaf edge.
What’s the difference between “indeterminate” and “determinate” tomatoes?
Determinate tomatoes, or “bush” tomatoes, are varieties that grow to a compact height (generally 3 – 4′). Determinates stop growing when fruit sets on the top bud. All the tomatoes from the plant ripen at approximately the same time (usually over period of 1- 2 weeks). They require a limited amount of staking for support and are perfectly suited for container planting.
Indeterminate tomatoes will grow and produce fruit until killed by frost. They can reach heights of up to 12 feet although 6 feet is normal. Indeterminates will bloom, set new fruit and ripen fruit all at the same time throughout the season. They require substantial staking for support.
Should I prune or not prune tomato suckers?
Never prune a ‘determinate’ type tomato. You want all the fruit you can get from these shorter plants. Indeterminate varieties vary in their response to pruning, some reportedly have increased yields when the young plant is pruned back to three or four vines. I prefer to let the plant produce stems for better fruit production and better leaf canopy to protect the fruit from sunscald. However, I like to remove most of the suckers at the bottom 10″ of the plant to invite greater air flow at the base of the plants and reduce the risk that fruit will touch the ground where they insects and disease might be encouraged. Know that removing new flowers near the end of the growing season can help speed up the ripening of mature fruit.
Is pruning necessary at all?
Pruning is not necessary at all. However, if you want taller plants or huge fruits you will need to prune excess vines that start to form where the leaf meets the main stem.
It turns out that different tomato cultivars vary in their response to sucker removal. For some, light pruning (removing the first four suckers) results in the greatest yield; for others, no pruning gives the highest yield. Experiment with your favorite variety.
What is the best spacing for my tomato plants?
Indeterminate Heirloom tomato plants can get really big (generally 7′ tall and 4′ wide). If you are planting the same variety in a row, I suggest spacing your plants 3′ apart. If you are using a circular wire trellis I suggest 4′-5′ apart. Determinate plants can be planted 2′ apart. You’ll want to separate different varieties by at least 8′.
What’s the difference between a regular tomato and an heirloom tomato?
For the past 40 years or so, when most people spoke of “regular” tomatoes they meant hybrid tomatoes because these were the most commonly available in markets and seed catalogues. Hybrid tomatoes are genetically created for a particular purpose the marketing and distribution interests (i.e., thick skins so they can withstand the weight of huge amounts of tomatoes stacked in a truck, a longer shelf-life so they might last a week or longer at the market, or a particular disease resistance). Too often a hybrid’s last priority has been taste. That said, there are some fine tasting hybrid tomatoes that have a loyal following. Like many gardeners, I only grew hybrid tomatoes BEFORE discovering the superior flavors of heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated tomatoes, whose seeds have been handed down from generation to generation. They are generally thin-skinned, extremely flavorful and have a natural resistance to disease.
Can I save the seeds from hybrid tomatoes?
Yes. However, you will not get a tomato like the parent. If you want to have fruit that is identical to the fruit you are seeding, you need to do so from an open-pollinated or heirloom tomato. One of the primary reasons that heirloom tomatoes are so popular is because after finding a favorite heirloom tomato variety, you can save the seeds of that variety for many generations to come.
Why are heirloom tomatoes so ‘ugly’?
Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. When I hear this comment it generally comes from someone who has only experienced the classic red, round, clear-skinned tomato. Heirloom tomatoes come in many ‘strange’ shapes, colors and sizes. They can also have markings that some might consider less-than-perfect or unattractive (cat-facing, concentric cracking, zipper or stitching lines, green shoulders) or deep folds or fluting. I like to point out to heirloom tomato novices that the wonderful diversity of physical features possible in the many varieties of heirloom tomatoes, are, like in people, a blessing. In fact, many of the colors and shapes of some heirloom tomatoes are more reminiscent of jewels. And behind the face of these wonderful diverse looking heirlooms, is the TASTE that will forever change how you think of a tomato.
What can I do to get my kids to like tomatoes?
Introduce them a tomato that has something to be excited about in the taste. Most kids have never tasted a tomato with taste. I would start them out with some of the sweeter cherry tomatoes. (Snow White, Isis Candy Cherry, Blondkopfchen, Camp Joy, Black Cherry, Yellow Pear) Offer them several kinds so they can distinguish the flavor differences and select favorites. Try have them grow their own tomatoes and appreciate some of their own harvest.
What does “days to maturity” mean?
This is the number of days from transplanting your seedlings in the garden until the first appearance of mature fruit. With all of my all my tomato descriptions on tomatofest.com I have (“Days 65”)
Is the tomato a fruit or a vegetable?
Generally I respond to this question with, “What do you think it is? And regardless of what they answer I say, “You’re right.” It’s a fruit, botanically speaking because it develops from a botanical ovary that contains the egg cells. According to the government, it’s classified as a vegetable so it can be taxed for additional revenues. If you have a bet going with a friend, say “it’s a fruit” to win.
What kind of tomatoes are best for canning?
Tomatoes with flavor. Although medium-sized, higher acid, red tomatoes have most often been used for canning, any colored tomato is suitable if sufficient acid (citric acid or lemon juice) is added to make up for the sweeter (low-acid) varieties. I love to chop a selection of different colored tomatoes or select a blend of yellow varieties or can variety-specific tomatoes.
What tomatoes best for container planting?
I used to grow almost all my tomatoes in containers around the house. You really can grow any variety in a container as long as the container is large enough for adequate nourishment, water, root growth and is available to sunlight. The larger your planter is the better. Staking opportunities for your plants in containers are limited especially if your planter surface is a solid patio. Under these circumstances, I’ve used stakes into the planter soil and where possible I tie the stems from above (roof eve, patio above if you are in an apartment, etc.) Planting determinate and semi-determinate tomato varieties offer less of a challenge since they don’t need much, if any, staking. See my determinate varieties. Generally, medium to smaller fruited varieties are better suited to container planting. Most important is to make sure your containers have a good amount of sunlight.
To mulch or not to mulch my tomato plants?
I believe in mulching. The benefits have been proven. Warms the soil, holds moisture in soil and keeps back weeds. I prefer plastic mulch (regardless of whether clear, black or red) to organic mulch.
How do I get rid of Stink Bugs and leaf Footed Bugs?
Here are a couple of links that you may find helpful.
Durham Extension Master Gardeners
Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
I have a problem with squirrels. They have been eating up my tomatoes.
If they are only eating your ripe fruit you can try harvesting your tomatoes earlier than full ripeness to complete the ripening indoors. You might also try providing the squirrels a source of water to access away from your tomato plants. Other than that you might have to provide your tomatoes a physical barrier against these pests like a netting. Or resort to live trapping the beasts and moving them away.
What can I do organically to prevent pests like hornworms attacking my tomatoes in the hot and humid area of South Florida? Also, how can I reduce the fungal issues that are common here in Florida?
Firstly, if you are not able to manage the hornworms or caterpillars by picking them off by hand (by the way, chickens love them) then BT, which is an organic pesticide that uses the natural pathogenic bacteria bacillus thuringiensis, (thus the name BT) will kill the critters before they are big enough to eat your plants. The BT is eaten and the BT cells germinate inside the pest causing death in a few days. Larger caterpillars, like the hornworm, should be sprayed with BT for it to work.
Using a mulch will help prevent fungal issues by keeping the soil off the lower leaves. Also, water your plants only at the base of the plants not wetting the leaves. It is advisable to keep the lower leaves as dry as possible by opening up space between the plants for adequate air flow. If you do find any blemished or damaged lower leaves remove them so the spores don’t spread to the surrounding leaves. I personally do not spray my plants but if you wish to then a copper spray is a standard organic fungal remedy. Once a fungal problem is identified it is best to respond as soon as possible before spreading of the problem occurs.
I live in the high mountain country. What tomato varieties are best suited for me?
There are many tomato choices available to you that are better suited to your shorter season and cooler climate. Seek those shorter season varieties with early maturity dates (50-65 days) Azoychka, Sasha’s Altai, Early Wonder and Buckbee’s New 50 day to name a few.
I just moved to Florida from cold country. What tomatoes do well here?
Florida can be wonderful for growing tomatoes. However your different growing conditions (hot & humid) will offer you different considerations in your tomato growing. Best to plan the starting dates for your tomatoes so that you have flowering before or after the most humid and hottest part of your season. Remember that it takes approximately two months from seed to putting out your tomatoes and another two months for getting ripe tomatoes. Here are a few varieties that I’ve found successful for the hot/humid area you are in: Arkansas Marvel, Atkinson, Creole, Florida Pink, Homestead 24, Neptune, Tropic.
I have fur on the tomatoes of some of my plants. Is this unusual?
Some tomato varieties do have a light fuzz on the fruit and some have this fuzz on the fruit and the plants. Some varieties have a light fuzz on the fruit when the fruit is young but then this disappears when the fruit ripens. There are varieties where this fuzziness is true to type and preferred, like Garden Peach and Wapsipinicon, which are both delightful and full of delicious flavors.
Are cherry tomatoes good to grow for making a sauce?
Well, you can make a sauce out of cherry tomatoes. However, generally cherry tomatoes are NOT suggested for making a good sauce because there are too many seeds and too much gel to the fruit, and not sufficient flesh. The best tomato varieties to grow for making the best sauce is a good paste tomato variety, like any of the San Marzano varieties, Amish Paste, or Long Tom. A favorite of mine is San Marzano Redorta.
The parents of any hybrid tomato are proprietary and owned by the company that has created the hybrid. Any hybrid may be discontinued or replaced by an ‘improved’ hybrid over time due to its lack of popularity and therefore no longer available to purchase or grow. (Unless you find some older saved seed.)
What purple or red tomato would be best for growing in containers in the hot and humid South?
You can grow ANY tomato in a container. It’s about the size of the container to suit what kind of tomato. For tall, indeterminate tomato varieties you should select at least a 10 gallon pot (15 gallon a better choice). And for determinate, shorter varieties or dwarf tomato varieties a 5 gallon pot would be ok. For a tall-growing purple, a good choice would be Cherokee Purple, Paul Robeson or Black From Tula. For a shorter purple: Black Sea Man or Pride of Flanders. For a tall growing red, Brandywine, OTV, Aussie, Good Old fashioned Red. For a shorter red there are many: Aurora, Bison, Bush Beefsteak, Sophie’s Choice and Tiny Tim are good choices.
My father likes the more robust acidic varieties of tomato. What is a tomato with a real bite of acid to its flavor?
To respond to the acidic quality of a tomato requires some explanation. My dear friend and Craig LeHoullier, Author of Epic Tomatoes, probably explained it best.
“Some decades ago the USDA ran a large scale test on hundreds of tomato varieties – a selection of different colors, shapes and sizes. Turns out that the pH range (true acidity levels) of tomatoes runs in a very, very narrow range – they essentially are all “acidic” (the pH tends to be in the 4.1-4.2 range or so), but the perceived acidity (how that acid comes across, or not) varies widely – which is why tomatoes are described as running very tart/acidic to very sweet/mild, even to bland. What DOES vary widely in tomatoes are sugar levels. As with wines, higher sugar levels mask acidity, and the flip side hold true of course – low sugar levels allow the acidity to show.” So what your father is seeking is a tomato with low sugar levels?low enough to let the acidity to show some boldness. And you can find this regardless of the color of the tomato. For example, Reds: Good Old fashioned Red, Andrew Rahart’s Jumbo Red, Rutgers. Blacks: Paul Robeson, Black Prince, Black From Tula. Yellow/Orange: Amish Gold, Azoychka, Flamme, Aunt Gertie’s Gold. Striped: Green Zebra, Black Zebra.
It’s important to remember that taste is subjective and can be very different from person to person. The same variety might be considered sweet to one person or slightly acidic to another.
Aside from the personal perception of sweetness of each person there is the scientific level of sweetness to each tomato measured in brix. (1 degree brix equals 1 gram of sucrose dissolved in 100 grams of solution, therefore the higher level of the brix, the more dissolved sugar, resulting in a sweeter flavor.)
On the whole, most tomatoes are well-balanced between sweet and acidic. However, many of the white varieties are sweeter and may appear as bland tasting because the sweetness overshadows the acid.
Are the green tomato varieties considered sweet tomatoes or tart tomatoes?
They can be either sweeter, yet balanced, (like Green Giant, Aunt Ruby’s Green, or Cherokee Green) or lower in sugars and therefore have a citric tartness to them (like Green Zebra and Green Grape).
Can you generalize whether a tomato will taste sweeter or tart by the color of the tomato?
Generally not, because all tomato colors can have a range of sugar content. I used to think the red, purple and black tomatoes had the biggest boldest, most acidic flavors but I’ve found the same quality in every color, with exception of most of the whites.
What are the terms most often used to describe tomato flavors?
I generally use the following: I compare: sweetness to tartness (or acidic), complex to simple, fullness to bland. I use the descriptions: mild, moderate and intense/bold or robust. I also, at times, might make an attempt to describe nuances I might pick up: earthy, chocolaty, spicy, fruity, citrusy but at different times for the same varieties I might also contradict my prior nuance descriptors. I too am subjective and able to be influenced by soil or fertilizer differences and even emotions. (As an example, at a tomato tasting I met a man who was seeking a tomato that would be boldly delicious and sweet as the tomato his grandfather used to grow when he was a kid. I advised him that he would most likely never find a tomato that sweet and bold in flavor because of how much he cherished his grandfather.)
Tomato Varieties: How to Understand the Way They are Classified
Some experts estimate there are up to 25,000 tomato varieties to choose from.
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That can be overwhelming, even for the most enthusiastic home gardener.
So many tomatoes – so little garden space!
Here’s the dirt.
There are at least 3 different (and simple) ways to classify tomato varieties. Here you can see how tomatoes can be classified by their genetics, the time of length that they produce, and yes – even their shapes.
This way you’ll have a better understanding of this whole tomato variety business. You’ll understand the terms (at least a bit.) You won’t be so confused when you’re at the garden center. And you’ll have a better idea of how to choose varieties for your garden.
If you want to know which varieties are most popular in the home garden, . And read on to learn about classifications.
Classification #1: Heirloom or Hybrid
This classification centers on a tomato’s genetic line.
Heirloom tomatoes are strains that have been reproduced for generations without cross-breeding.
Hybrid tomatoes, on the other hand, are a cross between two different varieties. Hybrids are cultivated both commercially and in the home garden.
As you get to know varieties, you’ll soon recognize which tomatoes are heirlooms and which are hybrids. Hybrid seedlings are often identified as “hybrid” on their identification tags in nurseries and garden centers. (Learn more about heirlooms and hybrids herehref>.)
Classification #2: Determinate or indeterminate
This classification centers on the length of time a tomato produces fruit during season.
A determinate tomato plant produces fruit for a couple of weeks and then production fades out. That’s because it eventually forms a flower cluster at the terminal growing point, which causes it to stop growing in height.
An indeterminate tomato plant produces fruit throughout the season, often until frost. It never sets terminal flower clusters, but only lateral ones, and continues indefinitely to grow taller.
Classification #3: Shape
This classification centers on a tomato’s shape.
Looks count – even for tomatoes! Whether a tomato is a hybrid or an heirloom, or determinate or indeterminate, it is also classified according to its shape.
There are four broad shape classifications for tomatoes:
- Globe tomatoes: the most heavily commercially-cultivated fruit
- Beefsteak tomatoes: the biggest fruit
- Paste tomatoes: thick-walled fruit, used to make sauces
- Cherry tomatoes: smallest fruit
Lists of tomato varieties
How to choose tomato varieties for your garden …
Grafted tomatoes: what are they and why grow them?
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Readers share their favorite varieties …
Have A Favorite Tomato Variety?
Is there a tomato variety that you’ve had success with or that you like to grow? Share it with our readers. Tell us what it is, a little bit about the variety, and why you like this type of tomato.
What Other Visitors Have Said
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Best of both worlds!. Amish Paste Tomato has good tomato flavor, large ox-heart shape, meaty. I can slice for sandwiches or cook down for paste. It is …
Early Girl Vine Tomato Not rated yet
We grow Early Girl Vine Tomato in a 31″ round terra cotta container. Last year it grew between 5 feet and 6 feet, giving us over 100 tomatoes. We are …
Cherokee Purple is the tastiest tomato! Not rated yet
The taste is fabulous and the tomatoes are meaty and visually appealing alone or in salads or other dishes. If I had to choose one variety to grow, this …
My favorite tomato varieties Not rated yet
I live in zone 7a. I know too many gardeners in my area that don’t actually know much about gardening. They just put the plant in the ground, throw some …
Yellow (big) Rainbow is sweetest large, tomato Not rated yet
This large tomato produces a sweet great tasting fruit. It is yellow with mixtures of red. Great color for the tasty large fruit
Romas give me no problems Not rated yet
Just entered “Tomato Dirt” into “My Favorites” as it is the best Web Page I have come across since I started growing tomatoes in 2002. I plant Roma …
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