Difference Between Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes

Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes

The growth habit is important when choosing the variety of tomato to grow. All the tomato varieties fall into four basic categories based on the plant size and production of fruits. They are determinate, indeterminate, dwarf and dwarf- indeterminate. Out of these four categories, the best verities of tomatoes are found in the dwarf- indeterminate category. However the most common crop tomatoes are found in the indeterminate category.  Depending on the variety, the size of the tomato fruit can range from one to six inches in diameter.

Determinate Tomatoes

Determinate tomato plants are also called bush tomato, which grow up to about five feet. They stop growing once the shoots set fruits. These varieties usually produce fewer crops, but their fruits are matured in a short period of time.

Indeterminate Tomatoes

Indeterminate tomato plants continuously grow even after they produce fruits until they are killed by frost or disease. They usually grow up to 10 feet; hence require supportive staking or caging, unlike the determinate tomato varieties. Unlike the determinate varieties, these varieties produce larger crops but take a longer period to mature fruits. Indeterminate tomatoes are also called vining tomatoes.

What is the difference between Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes?

• Determinate tomatoes are called ‘bush tomatoes’, whereas indeterminate tomatoes are sometimes called ‘vining tomatoes’.

• Determinate tomato varieties usually reach up to five feet. In contrast, indeterminate tomato plants can reach up to 10 feet.

• Determinate tomato plants stop growing once the fruits set on the buds while indeterminate tomatoes plants grow continuously even after they produce fruits and can be stopped only by frost, insects, and diseases.

• Determinate tomato plants produce small crops and fruits ripen over a shorter period of time, whereas indeterminate tomato plants produce large crops and fruits ripen over a large period of time.

• Unlike determinate tomato plant varieties, indeterminate tomato plants need supportive staking or caging.

• Examples of determinate tomato varieties include ‘Solar Fire’ and ‘Oregon Spring’, whereas those of indeterminate tomato varieties include ‘Better Boy’ and ‘Brandywine’.

• Determinate varieties mature their fruits earlier than indeterminate varieties.


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