Determinate & indeterminate tomato plants – what’s the difference, and why you should care?

Photo by Vince Lee on Unsplash

Determinate tomatoes, are known as bush-type tomato plants, as they tend to grow more like a bush than a vine. They grow to about 3' tall and need little to no pruning. They're a patio gardener’s dream, as they can be supported with simple cages and are an excellent choice for containers or large pots. These beauties set fruit, then concentrate on ripening all that fruit in one big wave. This makes these tomatoes great for cold-climate gardeners who need to harvest their entire crop within a couple of weeks. 💪

Indeterminate tomatoes: are known as vining tomatoes and usually grow to about 6' tall, but don’t be shocked if they hit 10 feet! These plants are huge!

Not ideal for planters, although it is possible to achieve success with a large and deep planter. Indeterminate plants keep growing taller and taller, setting and ripening fruit as they grow, until the frost kills them completely.

These varieties definitely require more space, support, attention and general commitment from gardeners than their determinate counterparts.

So, which will work best for you and your garden? If you have plenty of space, prefer to pick your tomatoes over several months, and are prepared to provide sturdy support for your tomato plants, then an indeterminate variety may be perfect for you.

If, however, you’re growing your tomatoes in planters, or if your garden has a shorter growing season, then determinate tomatoes may be just what your home needs.

PS - signup for our newsletter to hear when we launch our free Tomato Growing guide! We'll be sending it out to everyone who's subscribed. :)

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