10 Difference Between Determinate And Indeterminate Tomatoes


Whether you’re prepping a garden bed or just getting ready to peruse the vegetable aisle at the supermarket, choosing the right tomato for the job is a must. Two popular types of tomatoes are determinate and indeterminate tomatoes. While both can be found in a wide range of colors and flavors, their differences are worth noting.

Here’s what you need to know about the two main types of tomatoes: determinate and indeterminate. Whether you want a smaller plant with less maintenance or one that produces larger fruit, this guide will help you choose between determinate and indeterminate tomato plants.

What is a determinate tomato plant?

Determinate tomatoes are a specific type of tomato plant that grows to a determinate size. This means that the plant will stop growing when it reaches a certain size, usually two to three feet tall.

Determinate tomato plants are great for gardeners who have a small space or who don’t want to deal with a plant that keeps getting larger and larger. Because determinate tomato plants have a limited growth, they are l known as “bush” tomatoes. These plants typically produce smaller tomatoes, but they tend to ripen at the same time, making them ideal for canning or preserving. They can also be eaten fresh, but you’ll need to harvest them right when they’re ripe to get the best flavor.

You can use determinate tomatoes in a number of ways. One of our favorite methods is to just cut them up and add them to salads. Their slight sweetness and juicy texture is a perfect complement to greens and other veggies. You can also use them as a topping for pizza or pasta. Another option is to roast them in the oven with a bit of olive oil and herbs. They make a delicious side dish or appetizer!

Determinate tomatoes are the easiest of all tomatoes to take care of. They don’t need a lot of fuss, and they are usually very sturdy plants. The biggest thing you need to remember with determinate tomatoes is not to over water them. Determinate tomatoes are bred to grow a certain way and ripen all at once. If you water them too much, they will rot and you will lose your crop. So, give them a good watering when you first plant them, and then wait until the soil dries out before watering again.

Characteristics of determinate tomatoes

  • Have a bush like habit, often called “bush” tomatoes 
  • The plant will grow vertically at first, and then stop and the remainder of growth will take place on the side shoots  
  • Growth habit is approximately 4″ tall or less
  • Crop bearing is over the course of four or five weeks and then it is done
  • The plant requires minimal staking
  • Tend to be more compact and manageable, but not always 
  • Suitable for container planting and will perform well in 5 gal pots  
  • Determinate Tomatoes do not require heavy pruning or sucker removal for good crop yield
  • Examples of determinate tomato varieties are:  Rutgers, Roma Celebrity.

Also Read: Difference Between Gardening And Landscaping

What is an Indeterminate Tomato Plant?

An indeterminate tomato, also called a vining tomato, is a type of tomato plant that doesn’t have a set growth limit. This means that the plant will continue to grow and produce fruit until it is killed by frost or disease. For that reason, indeterminate tomatoes are a good choice for gardeners who want to produce a lot of tomatoes over a long season. Because they keep growing, indeterminate tomatoes need to be staked or caged to keep them from sprawling all over the garden. They are also more susceptible to pests and diseases, so they need to be watched carefully.

The upside to growing indeterminate tomatoes is that they will continue to produce fruit until the frost comes, unlike determinate tomatoes which ripen all at once. The downside is that they require more care and attention than other types of tomatoes. Indeterminate tomatoes are best suited for those who have the time and resources to monitor them carefully.

If you want to grow indeterminate tomatoes indoors, there are a few varieties you can easily choose from. One of our favorites is the Sun Gold cherry tomato. This bright, golden tomato is perfect for small spaces and can be grown both indoors and out. Another great option is the Sweet Million cherry tomato. This tasty tomato is known for its abundance of sweet, juicy fruits.

If you’re growing indeterminate tomatoes, you’ll need to provide them with a sturdy support system, as they can grow quite large. A trellis or tomato cage work well for this. Be sure to keep the soil around your tomato plants well-watered and fertilized, as they will need a lot of nutrients to produce a lot of fruit. When it comes to using indeterminate tomatoes, there are endless possibilities. They are perfect for fresh salads, salsas, sandwiches and more.

Characteristics of Indeterminate tomatoes

  • Indeterminate tomatoes are bred to be taller and will keep growing and producing tomatoes until killed by frost.
  • Often called “vining” tomatoes because they will continue to flower and bear fruit over the course of the season until the plant is killed by frost.
  • They require staking or caging for support
  • Require removal of suckers, wait until two leaves develop before removing.
  • They’re also incredibly tasty, with sweet and juicy fruit that’s perfect for fresh eating.
  • They are also more susceptible to pests and diseases, so they need to be watched carefully.
  • Examples of Indeterminate Varieties Include:  Beefsteak, Goldie, Cherry, Early some heirloom.
  • This tomatoes are a great choice for gardeners who want a longer harvest season.
  • Indeterminate tomatoes are also taller plants, reaching up to 8 feet tall. Because of their size, indeterminate tomatoes need sturdy stakes or a trellis to support them.

Also Read: How to grow and care for Roma Tomatoes

Key Notes

  • Indeterminate tomato plants grow into vines that can continue to expand indefinitely, producing fruits all season long until they are killed by frost.
  • Determinate tomatoes are a specific type of tomato plant. Unlike indeterminate tomatoes, determinate tomatoes reach a predetermined size and stop growing.
  • Determinate tomatoes are usually harvested earlier in the season, typically within 65 days of planting. Indeterminate tomatoes are typically harvested later in the season, typically within 85 days of planting.
  • Determinate tomatoes are also bushier, meaning that they take up less space than indeterminate tomatoes. This makes them a good choice for gardeners with limited space.
  • Determinate tomatoes flower and fruit all at once, while indeterminate tomatoes flower and fruit continuously.
  • Determinate tomatoes produce fruit all at once, meaning that you can harvest a large amount of tomatoes all at once. This is in contrast to indeterminate tomatoes, which produce tomatoes over the course of the growing season.
  • Indeterminate tomatoes are also taller plants, reaching up to 8 feet tall. Because of their size, indeterminate tomatoes need sturdy stakes or a trellis to support them.
  • Indeterminate tomatoes are known for their sweeter, richer flavor, while determinate tomatoes are usually more acidic.
  • Determinate tomatoes produce smaller, uniform fruit and are great for patio gardens and small spaces. Indeterminate are better for gardeners who have the space to let them grow, as they yield more fruit than determinate tomatoes.
  • Determinate tomatoes are bushier and tend to produce one large crop over a few weeks. Indeterminate tomatoes are vining plants that produce tomatoes over an extended period of time.
  • Determinate tomatoes are often chosen for commercial canning and salsa because of their uniformity in size and shape. Indeterminate tomatoes are often chosen for eating fresh because of their flavor and the range of sizes and shapes of the tomatoes they produce.
  • Determinate tomato plants are smaller in size whereas indeterminate tomato plants are larger in size.

Also Read: Difference Between Squash And Pumpkin


Tomatoes are one of the most popular garden plants, but they come in different types. There are determinant tomatoes and indeterminate tomatoes that differ in size, production levels, growth habit and more. Determinant tomato plants grow to a certain height before “determining” or stopping their growth; these plants produce all of their fruit at once for an abundant harvest over a short period of time. Indeterminate tomato plants continue growing until frost kills them back; these plants produce fruit continually throughout the season.