Determinate vs Indeterminate Tomatoes: Understanding The Difference

Determinate Tomatoes

These are bush types that grow 2-3 feet tall. Growing TomatoesThe buds at the ends of all the branches will form flowers instead of leaves. Those flowers will occur all at once, set and ripen fruit, then die.

Indeterminate Tomatoes

These are vining types that can reach 8-10’ tall and will need caging or staking for support. They will continue to grow and set fruit until frost kills them. They’re generally later than determinate tomatoes, and produce larger crops over a longer period.


Planting and Caring For Your Tomatoes

Growing Tomatoes
  • Choose a sunny spot that receives 6 to 8 hours of sun, and well-amended, well-drained soil.
  • Determine Support for your tomatoes. Most tomato plants will need to be staked, caged or supported by a trellis. It’s important to keep the plants off of the ground.
  • Provide room to grow. Space long-vined, indeterminate tomato varieties about 3 feet apart. Stockier determinate plants can be grown 2 feet apart. If you are growing in containers, you will want to used a pot that is at least 24 inches for indeterminate varieties and 18 inches for determinate varieties.
  • Dig a wide hole deep enough to bury half to two-thirds of the plant and supplement soil with E.B. Stone Tomato and Vegetable Food. Tomato and Vegetable Food Also at the same time, mix in 3 to 4 inches of compost, to provide minor nutrients and hold moisture and fertilizer in the soil until needed by the plant.
  • Remove the tomato from its pot, loosen the roots and most importantly, pinch off the lower two sets of leaves. This part of the stem will be buried so it develops additional roots for a stronger plant.
  • Set the plant in the hole and mound the soil so that just the top half or top third of the plant is above ground. Cover with 2 to 4 inches of mulch to minimize weeds and help keep the soil evenly moist.
  • Water the seedlings to help them settle in.
  • Support the plant with the predetermined stakes, cage or trellis to keep it off the ground and prevent disease.
  • Tomato Cages
  • Water regularly… Shoot for at least an inch of moisture per week for your tomatoes – and more during the warmer summer months. A soaker hose is a great way to water. Feel the soil; if the top inch is dry, it’s time to water.

Hybrid Tomato Varieties                Heirloom Tomato Varieties

Cherry Tomato Varieties                Raised Bed Gardening


At SummerWinds Nursery, we pride ourselves on having the best products and most knowledgeable staff. Stop in today and let one of our Trusted Garden Advisors show you how to plant and care for your tomatoes.