Determinate Vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

determinate vs indeterminate tomatoes

Determinate Vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes – Which Type is Best for Your Garden?

Tomatoes are one of my favorite garden vegetables. When it comes to growing tomatoes, most gardeners, including me, are faced with choosing between determinate Vs. Indeterminate tomatoes. 

Knowing their difference will help you choose which type is best for your garden. The main difference between them is their growing habits. Additionally, they also have different yields and maintenance needs. 

Keep reading to know more about their characteristics so you can choose which is best suited for your garden.

1. Determinate Tomatoes

Determinate tomatoes, referred to as ‘bush’ or compact tomatoes, grow up to 4 feet, then stop growing. The fruits ripen all at once within a few weeks, and then the plant dies. 

Because they ripen all at once, they are used to make cans and sauces. Due to their compact size, they are mostly grown in containers

Care Needs

Pruning

Determinant tomatoes don’t need pruning because they fruit and stop growing early in the growing season.

Providing Support

Although determinate tomatoes are compact, they can still use support. Use tomato cages or stakes to keep it upright. They tend to become heavy when they set fruits. 

Harvesting 

Determinate tomatoes ripen all at once, about two weeks. Harvest when the fruits are fully ripe and always cut the fruit from the vine. 

Determinate Tomato Varieties

Roma tomato plant

Here are some popular determinate tomato varieties that you can consider to grow in your garden or containers

1. Roma (Paste Tomato)

It has thick and meaty flesh with a low moisture content, which is why it’s preferred for sauces and canning. The fruits are oval-shaped, and they mature within 80 days.

2. Celebrity (Slicer Tomato)

A disease-resistant variety that produces medium to large round fruits that mature around 70 days. 

3. Bush Early Girl (Early Tomato)

This variety matures early, around 54 days, and produces medium-sized round fruits.

4. Patio (Compact Tomato)

The patio is a dwarf variety, making it ideal for container gardening. It produces small, round fruits that are ready for harvesting after 70 days. 

5. Tumbler (Cherry Tomato)

This variety produces many sweet, small, round fruits—ideal for containers and hanging baskets. They mature after 55 days. 

2. Indeterminate Tomatoes

Most tomatoes you see in the garden are probably indeterminate varieties. They are known as vining tomatoes. These tomatoes continue to grow and produce fruits throughout the growing season until the first day of frost, after which the plant dies. They can grow up to 10 feet tall.

Care Needs

Providing Support

Indeterminate tomatoes can grow really large; that’s why they need a large space like in gardens. When they fruit, they become heavy and hence need support. The support should at least be four feet tall, whether you’re using tomato cages or stakes. 

Pruning

Unlike determinate varieties, indeterminate tomatoes need pruning to remove suckers and yellow leaves. I prefer removing suckers when they are still young because they are easy to pinch and remove. 

Furthermore, if your tomato plants have a lot of leaves, trim some to allow even air circulation. Prune throughout the growing season – avoid over pruning. Also, remove the lower leaves touching the ground to protect them from getting diseases. 

RELATED: How to Prune Tomato Plants for Maximum Yields

Harvesting

Indeterminate varieties produce fruits throughout the growing season, so you harvest as they ripen. Besides, regular picking encourages the plant to produce more fruits. Unlike determinate varieties, they start to produce fruits later in the season. 

Popular Indeterminate Varieties

Vining tomato plant

Here are popular indeterminate varieties found in most gardens:

1. Beefsteak

They are known for large, juicy fruits often used for sandwiches and slicing. They often take approximately 85 days to mature.

2. Heirloom Varieties

Heirlooms are known for their unique colors and flavors. Most heirloom varieties include Brandywine and Cherokee Purple. They take around 80-100 days to mature.

3. Cherry Tomatoes

They are ideal for salads and knacking. Popular varieties include Sun Gold and Sweet 100. They take 55 to 70 days to mature. 

4. Black Krim

They produce dark red-purple fruits that have a slightly salty flavor. They take approximately 80 days to mature.

5. Juliet

Juliet tomatoes are grape-shaped with a sweet flavor. Perfect for salads and eating raw. Expect them to mature after 60 days.

6. San Marzano 

It has a meaty texture and a rich flavor, making it excellent for pastes and sauces. Produces elongated fruits that mature after 85 days. 

Ultimate Thoughts

If you want more tomatoes at once and have a limited space, determinate varieties are the best option. However, if you have enough space and want to enjoy fresh tomatoes for a long time, indeterminate varieties are the way to go. 

FAQs

Can You Plant Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes Together?

Yes, both determinate and indeterminate tomatoes can be planted together—just ensure you give them enough spacing, as indeterminate varieties need more space. Planting them together will give you a continuous supply with determinate fruiting early in the season and indeterminate later.

What Produces More Tomatoes Determinate or Indeterminate?

Indeterminate variety produces more tomatoes because of their long fruiting period. However, you can grow both varieties for a continuous supply of tomatoes over a long time.

Are All Cherry Tomatoes Determinate or Indeterminate?

Cherry tomatoes are available in both varieties – determinate and indeterminate. Determinate are like Patio Princess and Tiny Tim, while indeterminate cherry tomatoes are Sun Gold and Sweet 100.

 

Author Profile

Mary
Mary
🌿 Hello! I'm Mary, the nature-loving soul behind Serene Eden. Gardener, plant whisperer, compost connoisseur, sun-soaked plant enthusiast, and avid bee-watcher. Let's cultivate beauty, one bloom at a time. 🌱🌼