Tomato Types and Varieties
There are numerous types and varieties of tomato plants, so choose tomato plants according to your needs and preferences, but also feel free to experiment a little bit - having different tomato types and varieties can be very decorative and also can prolong the harvesting season.
Not to mention that different tomatoes can be used for different purposes, including salads, tomato purees, sauces, etc.
Updated: February 16, 2023.
The Most Common Tomato Types
Common tomato types that can be found in the home and small gardens include:
Beefsteak tomatoes or beef tomatoes
Beefsteak tomatoes or beef tomatoes are large varieties with some fruits weighing 500g or even more. Most of the varieties are pink or red, often with pronounced ribbing.
Common beefsteak tomato varieties include Brandywine, Beefmaster, Beefsteak, Big Beef, Cherokee Purple, Mortgage Lifter, Bucking Bronco, Pink Beefsteak, and many others.
Cherry and grape tomatoes
Cherry tomatoes are small and rounded tomatoes range in size from a cherry up to the size of a golf ball. Cherry tomatoes are spherical to slightly oblong in shape and mostly red in color, but yellow, green, and black varieties also exist.
The more oblong cherry tomatoes share some characteristics with plum tomatoes and are commonly known as grape tomatoes.
The most popular cherry tomato varieties are Super Sweet 100, Yellow Pear, Italian Ice, Bloody Butcher, Black Pearl, Sun Gold, Honeybunch Cherry, Cherries Jubilee, Green Envy, Napa Grape, etc.
Plum tomatoes are a type of tomato bred for sauce and packing purposes.
They are generally oval or cylindrical in shape, with significantly fewer seed compartments (locules) than standard round tomatoes, and have a generally higher solid content, making them more suitable for processing.
Campari tomatoes are tomatoes noted for their juiciness, low acidity, high sugar level, and lack of mealiness.
Campari tomatoes are deep red and larger than cherry tomatoes but smaller and rounder than plum tomatoes. They are often sold on vines. Campari-type tomatoes include different varieties, such as Magic Mountain, Cornell M, etc.
Patio tomatoes are hybrids excellent for growing in containers, bags, and small gardens.
They bear tasty tomatoes on strong, compact plants that grow only 2 - 2.5 feet tall. Plants generally don't require support, but the weight of the fruits can be too heavy for the plant, especially when exposed to wind.
During the harvesting period, a single small plant can produce 50 or even more tomatoes.
Black, purple, yellow, etc., tomatoes
Black, purple, yellow, etc. tomatoes are great decoration plants that yield very tasty tomatoes suitable for every use, just as regular tomatoes. However, such varieties are mostly used for meals and dishes like salads and cocktails.
Here are some of the most popular tomato varieties, ordered alphabetically:
Amish Paste Tomatoes: 80-85 days tomato with Roma-type, very tasty fruits; excellent for canning, pastes, sauces, etc.
Better Boy: high-yield plants, ripe tomatoes up to 350g (12 ounces), indeterminate plants, very tasty fruits.
Big Rainbow Tomato: 80-85 days heirloom tomato variety with fruits up to 2 pounds (0.9 kg); great tasting fruits.
Black Beauty Tomatoes: this is one of the darkest tomato varieties with dark blue, almost truly black skin. Tomato meaty flesh is dark purple. 80 days variety. Sprouts in 7-14 days, requires full sun, some 24-25 inches (60-65 cm) between the plants. Sensitive to frost, it should be started indoors some 6-10 weeks before the last frost date.
Black Pineapple (Ananas Noire) Tomatoes: 80-90 days tomato, relatively new variety. Excellent taste, fruits usually around 0.5 pounds (~220 grams), with bright green and red stripes.
Black Cherry Tomatoes: 75 days tomato with dark red-brownish, cherry-size tomatoes with great flavor; very vigorous decorative plants. It should be planted indoors, 5-10 weeks before the last frost date, with a few plants spaced 2-3 weeks between for a longer harvest.
Black From Tula: 70-80 days tomato heirloom variety, one of the best-tasting varieties. Fruits average 8-12 ounces (230-350 grams), suitable for various conditions but not frost.
Black Krim: very tasty, heirloom tomato suitable for containers. It has large, purple-reddish fruits. 80 days tomato, sensitive to frost. Sprouts in 7-14 days, should be started indoors some 5-8 (sometimes up to 10) weeks before the last frost date. Plant distance 20-24 inches.
Brandywine: very popular heirloom variety. Strong and rather large plants require a good cage or several stakes per plant. It can be kept 'under control' with regular pruning. One of the best-tasting tomato varieties with fruits up to 1.5 pounds (680 grams). Requires full sun, 80 days tomato, 24-25 inches (60-65 cm) between the plants. Should be started indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost date.
Carbon Tomato: 90 days tomato variety - one of the best-tasting tomato varieties. Fruits are dark purple, smooth; meaty inside.
Cherokee Purple Tomato: very popular variety - this is an old Cherokee Indian (hence the name) heirloom tomato with very large, dark purple color fruits - excellent, sweet flavor. Cherokee Purple tomato is sensitive to frost and should be started indoors 6-10 weeks before the last frost date. It requires full sun position, sprouts in 7-14 days, and requires some 24-25 inches (60-65 cm) between the plants. Some 75-80 days before the first fully ripe fruits.
Costoluto Genovese Tomatoes: 70-80 days old Italian tomato variety with strong ribbing. Deep red fruit flesh with excellent flavor; good for both eating fresh and processing in purees, sauces, for canning, and similar.
Earl Girl: F1 hybrid, indeterminate variety, very early fruit ripening - 50 to 60 days after transplanting. Well-suited for both colder and hot climates.
German Pink Tomatoes: 85-90 days tomato variety, with large 1-2 pounds (0.45-0.9 kg) fruits. Nice, sweet flavor of very meaty fruits. Good for eating fresh, but also for canning, freezing, juicing, etc.
Green Zebra Tomato: 75 days tomato; green-yellowish fruits with darker-greenish stripes, very decorative in both garden and salad bowl. Rich and complex taste. Excellent yield, but like other tomatoes, it requires full sun positions and should be started indoors. Very interesting variety.
Homestead: heirloom tomato, suitable for hot and humid climates; firm, tasty, meaty fruits; high-yield plants.
Hungarian Heart Tomato: 80 days heirloom tomato variety with red heart-shaped fruits. Full, rich-tasting aroma, good both fresh and processed. Crack-resistant meaty fruits with very few seeds.
Litchi Tomato (Morelle De Balbis): 75-90 days berry, that is called tomato, but it is a unique fruit that can be grown as a typical tomato plant. The plant grows up to 5 feet and is covered with thorns. Fruit tastes like something between tomato and cherry. Very interesting and decorative plant.
Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes: 85 days tomato with classic, smooth, 1 pound (0.45 kg), sweet and tasty fruits. Mortgage Lifter tomato requires full sun positions, is sensitive to frost, and can be grown in sufficiently large pots and containers, but it requires solid support, especially when the tomatoes grow larger. It should be started indoors, just in case.
Orange Hat Tomatoes: One of the smallest dwarf tomato varieties, suitable for growing in flower pots, even on a windowsill. Great tasting tiny little yellow tomatoes.
Paul Robeson Tomatoes: 85-90 days tomato with smokey, sweet, 7-10 ounces (200-280 grams), dark-reddish fruits. Requires full sun positions, some 24-25 inches between the plants, and good support.
Pineapple Tomatoes: 75-95 days tomato with very large, up to 2 pounds (0.9 kg) yellow-orange fruits with a sweet flavor. Very decorative plant with fully ripe tomatoes. Excellent, rich harvest. It needs rather strong support for heavy fruits.
Pink Berkeley Tie Dye Tomatoes: 65-75 days compact tomato with excellent, rich flavor. Tomatoes, on average, weigh 8-10 ounces (230-280 grams). Requires full sun, with 20-25 inches of spacing between the plants. Plants with numerous fruits require good support.
Pink Bumblebee Tomatoes: 60-70 days cherry sweet tomato; reddish fruits with orange stripes. It has a long harvest, and the fruits are very resistant to cracking. Also, it tolerates somewhat colder nights (but not frost!) and hot days.
Riesentraube: grape-type tomato, with 20-40 small tomatoes in clusters. Very tasty fruits, too. Early variety.
Roma: also a variety of plum tomato, egg or pear-shaped, red tomato; open-pollinated variety, but not considered as an heirloom tomato. One meter high plants; high yield.
Principe Borghese Tomato: 70-75 days Italien heirloom determinate variety, excellent for sun drying and sauces. Also, good eaten fresh.
San Marzano: a variety of plum tomatoes, with thinner and more pointed tomatoes than Roma tomatoes. The taste is stronger, sweeter, and less acidic - bittersweet. An indeterminate, heirloom plant.
Silvery Fir Tree: compact and ornamental plants, round red fruits with gray/silver-green leaves.
Spoon Tomatoes: 65-70 days tomatoes, one of the smallest, if not the smallest, tomato fruits - the size of smaller peas. Plants are very ornamental, but the fruits are excellent.
Sunrise Bumblebee Tomato: 70-75 days tomato with orange-reddish fruits with sweet and tasty flavor. Tomatoes weigh ~1 ounce.
Sungold: small, orange-red, cherry-type tomato, hybrid, nice sweet taste, plenty of fruits.
Stupice: tolerates cooler climate, the taste could be better, but it is OK, compact plant with red fruits. Rippen early.
Thorburn's Terra-Cotta Tomato: 75 days tomato variety, with great taste and visually very appealing. Excellent harvest, but sensitive to low temperatures in fall. Fruits are orange-brown with dark orange flesh.
Tommy Toe (Steakhouse) Tomatoes: 75 days tomato plant, very vigorous, bearing numerous 1-1.5 inch round tomatoes. The flavor is excellent, complex, not too sweet.
Wapsipinicon Peach: heirloom tomato, yellow-orange fruits with fuzzy skin (like a peach). Also, very ornamental plant with tasty fruits.
Yellow Pear Tomato: 80 days tomato plant with very sweet, compact 1.5 inches long pear-like fruits. Nice, mild flavor, good both fresh and processed.
Long Story Short: There are many other tomato varieties, but these are the most common ones found in small gardens. New varieties are created almost on a daily basis, so feel free to experiment :)