Top 12 Indeterminate Tomato Varieties To Grow: Personal Favorites

I have a special place in my heart for indeterminate (also known as cordon or vine) tomato varieties. Their continuous growth and fruiting throughout the season make my garden a place of endless discovery and culinary inspiration. Here are my top 12 favorites, each with its unique charm.

Top 12 Indeterminate Tomato Varieties To Grow Personal Favorites

The Difference Between Indeterminate and Determinate Tomatoes

Indeterminate tomatoes are the marathon runners of the tomato world, producing fruit consistently until the first frost. In contrast, determinate tomatoes have a more concentrated fruiting period, often ending once the bulk of the fruit has been produced.

When choosing between indeterminate and determinate tomato varieties for your garden, it’s important to understand their distinct characteristics. Each type has its pros and cons, which can influence your decision based on your gardening space, goals, and preferences.

Indeterminate Tomatoes

Pros:

  1. Continuous Harvest: Indeterminate tomatoes produce fruit continuously throughout the growing season until frost, providing a steady supply of tomatoes.
  2. Extended Fruit Quality: The quality of fruit often remains high throughout the season, as these plants focus on both growth and fruit production simultaneously.
  3. Higher Yield Over Time: Because they keep producing, indeterminate varieties often yield more fruit overall, albeit spread out over a longer period.
  4. Variety of Heirlooms: Many heirloom varieties are indeterminate, offering a wider range of flavors, colors, and sizes.

Cons:

  1. Requires More Space: These plants grow larger and taller, often requiring more space in the garden.
  2. Needs Staking or Caging: Due to their vining habit, they require sturdy support like cages, stakes, or trellises.
  3. More Maintenance: They need regular pruning (especially of suckers) to maintain shape and health.
  4. Slower Initial Harvest: It may take longer to get the first ripe fruit compared to determinate varieties.

Determinate Tomatoes

Pros:

  1. Compact Growth: Determinate tomatoes have a bushier growth habit and don’t grow as tall, making them ideal for smaller spaces or container gardening.
  2. Less Support Required: They generally require less staking or caging due to their more compact size.
  3. Concentrated Harvest: They produce a single, large crop over a short period, which can be beneficial for canning or processing.
  4. Earlier Harvest: Determinate varieties often produce fruit earlier in the season.

Cons:

  1. Limited Harvest Window: Once the main crop is harvested, the plant typically declines, providing a shorter harvest period.
  2. Lower Overall Yield: While the harvest is concentrated, the total yield over a season is often less than indeterminate varieties.
  3. Fewer Heirloom Options: There are fewer heirloom varieties available in determinate tomatoes compared to indeterminate.

In summary, indeterminate tomatoes are better for gardeners who want a steady supply of tomatoes throughout the season and are willing to put in more effort for staking and maintenance. Determinate tomatoes are ideal for those with limited space, or who prefer a large harvest over a short period, such as for canning or making sauce. Your choice will depend on your specific gardening needs, space availability, and how you plan to use your tomatoes.

My Favorite Indeterminate Tomato Varieties

1. Brandywine

Brandywine tomatoes are the quintessential heirloom variety, known for their impressive size and exceptional flavor. These tomatoes often weigh a pound or more and have a rich, slightly sweet taste. They’re perfect for a classic BLT sandwich or a hearty burger, providing a juicy, flavor-packed addition. The vines of Brandywine tomatoes are robust, requiring sturdy staking but rewarding the gardener with a bountiful harvest.

  • Qualities: Large, beefsteak-type fruits with a rich, full flavor.
  • Benefits: Excellent for slicing and caprese salads.

2. Sungold

Sungold tomatoes are like little bursts of sunshine in the garden. Their bright, golden-orange color is matched by their incredibly sweet, fruity flavor, which is almost tropical. These cherry-sized tomatoes are prolific producers, often the first to ripen in the garden and the last to stop. They are a hit with kids and adults alike and make a beautiful addition to salads or as a healthy snack.

  • Qualities: Small, cherry-sized, golden-orange fruits with a sweet, tangy flavor.
  • Benefits: Perfect for snacking and salads.
Sungold

3. Green Zebra

The Green Zebra is a striking variety, with its vibrant green stripes and tangy, slightly acidic flavor. It’s a beautiful tomato that adds a pop of color and a burst of flavor to any salad. The fruits are medium-sized and perfect for slicing. Green Zebra tomatoes are not just a novelty; their rich flavor profile makes them a favorite among chefs and home cooks.

  • Qualities: Striking green-striped fruits with a tangy taste.
  • Benefits: Adds visual and flavor variety to dishes.

4. Cherokee Purple

Cherokee Purple tomatoes are deeply colored, with a rich, smoky, and sweet flavor that sets them apart from other varieties. The fruits are large, with a dense, juicy texture. They are fantastic in sandwiches or salads, where their unique color and flavor can really shine. The Cherokee Purple is a heritage variety, reputed to have been grown by the Cherokee people.

  • Qualities: Deep purple-red fruits with a complex, smoky flavor.
  • Benefits: Ideal for gourmet dishes and sandwiches.

5. Sweet Million

Sweet Million tomatoes are a prolific cherry variety, producing hundreds of small, sweet fruits. They are ideal for gardeners who enjoy a steady supply of fresh, sweet tomatoes for salads, snacks, or cooking. The plants are vigorous and can grow quite tall, so they require good support. Kids love them for their sweetness, making them a great choice for family gardens.

  • Qualities: Cherry-sized, very sweet fruits.
  • Benefits: High yield, great for kids and salads.
Sweet Million

6. San Marzano

San Marzano tomatoes are a classic Italian variety, highly prized for making sauces and pastes. These plum-shaped tomatoes have fewer seeds, a firmer texture, and a richer, sweeter flavor than other paste tomatoes. They are also excellent for drying or canning. San Marzano tomatoes have a strong, indeterminate vine that requires staking.

  • Qualities: Elongated, plum-shaped fruits, ideal for sauces.
  • Benefits: Less acidic, with a richer flavor ideal for cooking.

7. Black Krim

Black Krim tomatoes are an heirloom variety from Russia with a unique, dark color and a rich, slightly salty flavor. The fruits are medium to large, with a deep reddish-purple color that can appear almost black. They are excellent for adding a unique flavor and color to salads and gourmet dishes.

  • Qualities: Dark, almost black fruits with a rich taste.
  • Benefits: Unique appearance and flavor for gourmet cooking.

8. Beefsteak

Beefsteak tomatoes are well-known for their large size and classic tomato flavor. They are perfect for slicing, with a meaty texture and few seeds. The taste is well-balanced, neither too sweet nor too acidic, making them versatile for both cooking and fresh eating. Beefsteak tomato plants are robust and require significant space and support.

  • Qualities: Large, meaty fruits perfect for slicing.
  • Benefits: Classic tomato flavor, great for burgers and sandwiches.
Beefsteak

9. Amish Paste

Amish Paste tomatoes are a versatile heirloom variety, known for their excellent flavor and texture. They are large for a paste tomato, with a sweet, rich taste that is perfect for sauces, soups, and canning. The plants are hardy and prolific, making them a great choice for gardeners looking to preserve their harvest.

  • Qualities: Large, plum-shaped fruits, excellent for sauces and canning.
  • Benefits: Versatile, both for fresh eating and cooking.

10. Big Rainbow

Big Rainbow tomatoes are as beautiful as they are delicious. They feature striking stripes of red and gold and have a mild, sweet flavor. The fruits are large, often weighing over a pound, and have a meaty texture with few seeds. They’re perfect for adding a splash of color and a sweet, fruity flavor to any dish.

  • Qualities: Striped yellow and red fruits, very sweet.
  • Benefits: Aesthetic appeal and great for fresh eating.

11. Golden Jubilee

Golden Jubilee tomatoes are an award-winning variety known for their vibrant golden-orange color and mild, low-acid flavor. They are medium-sized, perfect for slicing, and have a smooth, meaty texture. These tomatoes are particularly appealing to those who prefer a gentler tomato flavor or have sensitivity to acidic foods.

  • Qualities: Orange, medium-sized fruits with a mild flavor.
  • Benefits: Lower acidity, easier on the stomach.
Golden Jubilee

12. Pineapple

Pineapple tomatoes are a stunning bi-colored variety, with yellow and red marbling both inside and out. They are large and beefsteak-like in shape, with a very sweet, fruity flavor. The visual appeal of these tomatoes makes them a showstopper in salads and sandwiches. Their sweet, tropical flavor is a favorite in my garden.

  • Qualities: Large, bi-colored fruits with a sweet, fruity flavor.
  • Benefits: Stunning appearance and excellent for tropical-themed dishes.

For My Favorite Places To Purchase Garden Seeds, Check Out This Article

Conclusion

Each of these indeterminate tomato varieties brings its own unique qualities to the garden and the table. From the rich, smoky flavor of Cherokee Purple to the sweet, tropical taste of Pineapple, there’s a variety to suit every palate. Happy gardening, and enjoy the diverse flavors these tomatoes bring to your culinary creations!

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