Pick the Perfect Tomato
This helpful list is divided into Indeterminate, Determinate, Dwarf and Container-tastic varieties. The list also shows their use in (parenthesis) after each tomato name.
- Indeterminate tomatoes require support and pruning to keep them healthy. In commercial settings, indeterminate tomatoes are often trained up hanging trellises and have been known to reach as tall as 12 feet! The big perk of this vining habit is that these tomatoes produce fruit over a longer season. They often produce their first ripe fruits in mid-late summer and continue to produce until the first killing frost which, in Chicago's 5b USDA Hardiness Zone, is typically October 26 but may be as late as November 14.
- Determinate plants are also called "bush variety". They will top out at one size (typically between 3-5 feet). They require less support and pruning but also produce fruit in a shorter production window. Most tomatoes from a determinate variety will ripen within two weeks of each other. They can work well for smaller space gardens or for gardeners who want to do a lot of canning or other preservation
- Dwarf tomatoes are smaller plants that typically top out between 3-4 feet. They can be planted closer together and do well in pots. They typically produce fruit over a longer stretch of the growing season than determinate varieties.
Indeterminate - Paste
Tomato, Amish Paste (AOT) Indeterminate plants produces large red fruits that ripen regularly throughout the season. With firm, flavorful flesh and low juice content these beauties are an excellent choice for sauces and fresh eating.
Tomato, San Marzano A classic Italian paste tomato with a balanced flavor that makes a wonderful sauce. This indeterminate plant produces medium sized fruits with very few seeds for easy processing.
Indeterminate - Cherry
Tomato, Cherry, Black The striking color and rich flavor of these cherries make them a yearly favorite. They grow abundantly on large indeterminate plants and are great to grow with kids!
Tomato, Cherry, Red This classic, indeterminate plant is sure to please in the garden. Large, productive plants grow a prolific number of small, flavorful fruits from mid-season through first frost.
Tomato, Cherry, Sweet 100 Long branches of sweet ruby fruits are the hallmark of this vigorous plant. Disease resistant production starts early and goes until frost.
Tomato, Cherry, Yellow This prolific tomato offers all the benefits of the red cherry tomato with a milder, less acidic flavor. Expect a big plant with big yields of small tasty fruits.
Indeterminate - Slicer/Beefsteak
Tomato, Black from Tula With rich flavor and dramatic coloring this tomato is sure to make a statement in the garden. Hearty, medium-sized, fruits grow on a large indeterminate plant.
Tomato, Cherokee Purple (AOT) This classic slicer grows on vigorous, indeterminate vines. The dusky color and vibrant taste are sure to be a crowd pleaser.
Tomato, Early Girl//Early Girl This prolific indeterminate plant produces medium slicing fruits. Living up to its name, Early Girl fruits are ready weeks before other varieties and continue to produce throughout the season
Tomato, Great White This excellent fresh eating tomato is produced on indeterminate vines. The plants produce large, light yellow, slicers that go great on just about anything. Some people claim "white" tomatoes are lower in acid and better for people who get heartburn from eating red tomatoes
Tomato, Green Zebra These pretty, tangy fruits are a fun addition to your garden. High yielding, indeterminate plants produce an abundance of these striking fruits.
Tomato, Paul Robeson Vigorous, indeterminate plants produce large, dark red beefsteak tomatoes. The appetizing fruits have a unique sweet and smoky flavor. This tomato is Russian in origin and was named after the civil rights activist and singer/actor, Paul Robeson.
Tomato, Valencia Orange Slicer (AOT) Indeterminate, disease-resistant plants ripen midseason with medium orange slicers. Pleasant fruits boast a deep orange color, firm texture, and balanced taste.
Tomato, Whittemore Large, pink fruits grow on indeterminate plants. Largely considered to be an excellent tasting tomato, this beefsteak tomato is great for sandwiches and other fresh eating.
Tomato, Celebrity (Red Slicer) Producing medium-large fruits that fill most fresh eating tomato needs, this compact plant is popular in home gardens. The dependable vines are considered semi-determinant, growing no larger than four feet and producing consistently all season.
Tomato, Patio This plant is a great choice for container gardeners or others with small spaces producing a good crop of medium-small tomatoes that are great for salads. Plants are short, strong, and disease resistant.
Tomato, Patio Yellow Producing large yields of cherry-sized fruits, this compact plant is great for small spaces and hanging baskets. The fruits have a mild flavor that is great for fresh eating.
Tomato, Silvery Fir Tree The distinctive foliage on this compact plant is a great way to grow delicious and decorative tomatoes in smaller spaces. Fruits are medium-small with a bright red color and classic tomato flavor. Plants do well in containers and in hanging baskets.