There are many varieties of tomato you can grow. Being the most popular food plant in the garden, tomatoes have seen a lot of experimentation and change over time. Literally thousands of types have been bred and cultivated around the world.
If you’ve read our other post, Tomato Terminology Made Easy, then you’ll understand what the topics below mean. Today, we’re going to look at what types (varieties) of tomato plant fall into which category. For many gardeners, the classification (a form of pedigree, if you will) is important. It becomes especially important if you’re competing in garden contests or are looking to work with or preserve a specific type of tomato.
Heirloom Tomato Varieties
An heirloom is passed down from generation to generation or grown commercially for at least 50 years. These are popular amongst those looking for a local, tried-and-true variety to grow and some heirlooms are literally family treasures to be inherited by each generation. They include:
Brandywine – large tomatoes with a 90+ day maturity period.
Cherokee Purple – medium tomatoes with a 70+ maturity.
Green Zebra – medium tomatoes with a 70+ maturity.
Kumato – small/medium tomatoes with a 70+ maturity.
Mortgage Lifter – medium tomatoes with a 70+ maturity time.
Mr. Stripey – medium/large tomatoes with an 80+ day maturity.
Pantano Romanesco – medium tomatoes with a 70+ maturity.
Pear – small tomatoes with a 70+ maturity time.
Roma – plum tomatoes with a 70+ maturity period.
Stupice – medium tomatoes with a 55+ maturity.
Hybrid Tomato Varieties
These are heirlooms crossed to retain or create specific traits. These are also popular garden growers with a wider (less regional) appeal. They include:
Better Boy – medium/large tomatoes with a 70+ day maturity time.
Big Beef – medium tomatoes with a 70+ maturity time.
Celebrity – large tomatoes with a 70+ day maturity.
Early Girl – medium tomatoes with a 70+ maturity.
Enchantment – small tomatoes with a 70+ maturity time.
Fourth of July – medium tomatoes with a 55+ maturity.
Husky Gold – large tomatoes with a 70+ day maturity.
Juliet – small tomatoes with a 55+ day maturity time.
Lizzano – cherry with a 60+ day maturity.
Small Fry – cherry tomato with a 65+ day maturity time.
Spring Giant – medium tomato with a 65+ day maturity.
Sugary – cherry with a 60+ day maturity time.
Terenzo – cherry tomatoes with a 55+ day maturity.
There are not many determinate varieties on our list, because their indeterminate cousins are much more popular. Determinates from the above list include only the Celebrity, Roma, and Small Fry tomatoes. All other varieties listed are Indeterminate.
These are much more popular because of their longer fruiting and larger harvest. Nearly all tomatoes on our list are indeterminate, including popular British varieties such as the Moneymaker and the Gardener’s Delight.
Want to learn more about tomato varieties?
Be sure to check out these helpful resources:
Tomato Varieties by Washington State University Extension
Tomatoes by University of Illinois Extension
Thomas Boyer says
What I have found out is that I take after my grandparents in the vegetable garden. They had a variety of tomato plants. In my garden I am growing green zebra, small fry, roma, san diego and better boy. What would really be nice to have is an equally large variety of peppers.
Darlene Parah says
would like to know what veg.garden plants will grow near others compainion planting why each plant is paired with what plant to help it grow ?
would like a chart to go by .