Many gardeners have been disappointed with the size of tomatoes they have grown in their gardens, or even the size of the tomato plant itself. With the many varieties of tomato plants on the market it is often confusing to know which tomato variety to buy so you will end up with the exact tomato size and tomato plant size that you want in your garden.
Understanding the growing sizes of the popular tomato varieties can help you choose the tomato and tomato plant size that is best for your garden.
The tomato plant height has absolutely no bearing upon the size of the tomatoes the plant will grow. Take for instance the cherry tomato, also called salad tomatoes. All cherry tomato plants will produce an abundance of small tomatoes, but the dwarf Tiny Tim cherry tomato plant will remain small and compact while a Sweet 100 cherry tomato plant can grow to be 7 foot tall.
Determinate tomato plants grow to a certain height, as indicated on the seed packet or plant label, set and ripen all their tomatoes at the same time, and won’t produce any more tomatoes. Determinate varieties of tomato plants are best for growing in your garden if you want to can tomatoes or make tomato juice.
Indeterminate tomato plants will grow and produce tomatoes all summer. The tomato plants will need to be staked and tied for best results.
Beefsteak tomato varieties grow large, sandwich-sized tomatoes on medium to tall plants. The beefsteak variety of tomatoes will ripen late in the growing season.
Standard size tomato plants produce tomatoes that are about 8-10 ounces and are good for salads and slicing. Standard size tomato plants begin producing ripe tomatoes early in the growing season.
Roma or Paste tomato plants produce tomatoes that are pear shaped that have more ‘meat’ and less juice, and Roma’s and Paste tomatoes have few seeds and no central core. Paste tomatoes are best for making tomato paste and sauces, Roma’s are good for salads. Tomato cages work well to support the size of Roma or Paste tomato plants.
Patio, dwarf or midget tomato plant varieties are compact growers that can produce either standard sized tomatoes or cherry sized tomatoes, depending on the particular variety you choose. These tomato varieties work well when grown in container gardens.
The smallest of the small tomato plants and tomatoes are miniature dwarf tomatoes. These tomato plants grow to the height of 12 inches or less and produce an abundance of tiny cherry tomatoes. Excellent tomato plant choice for container gardening or hanging baskets.
If you have the garden space, planting some determinate and indeterminate tomato plants of different tomato varieties will ensure you have a steady supply of fresh garden tomatoes for eating and preserving all summer long.