Choosing Your Tomato Varieties

Tomatoes are grouped into types according to their growth habit and production.

Determinate Types

Grow in a compact, bush form, and need little or no staking. The fruit is produced on the ends of the branches and most of the crop ripens at the same time. One or more consecutive plantings will ensure an extended harvest period. These types are often the choice of those who want a large supply of ripe fruit at once for canning.

Indeterminate Varieties

This variety continues to grow and produce fruit all season – until first frost. Tomatoes in all different stages of development may be on the plants at one time. The plants set fruit clusters along a vining stem, which will grow vigorously and long. Under the best conditions, some can grow to over 15′, but in most home gardens they will generally reach about 6′. Some indeterminates can have a bush form with stockier vines, which set fruit clusters closer together.


These are in-between these two types. The plants will tend to grow larger than determinate varieties, but will not be as large as indeterminate. They produce a main crop that ripens at once, but will also continue to produce up until frost.

Tomatoes can be also grouped by use, shape, and size.

  • Slicing tomatoes – large and juicy
  • Paste tomatoes (sauce/roma/plum) – drier (concentrated flavor), with fewer seeds, making them ideal for sauce but also excellent for slicing
  • Cherry tomatoes – bite-sized and come in several shapes like oblong, pear-shaped or round
  • Low acid tomatoes – a great tomato alternative for people with medical diets, cold sores, stomach problems, and acid reflux

From our friends at Botanical Interests:

Tomato VarietiesOther Tomato Varieties