15 Types of Tomatoes to Grow

Tomato plant with yellow blossom in foreground, with tomatoes on vine in background

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Tomatoes are the ultimate summer treat, Tomato lovers anticipate the first fruit, ripe on the vine, because there's nothing better than a fresh local tomato; sliced on a sandwich, tossed in a salad, or made into a fresh salsa. Fresh tomatoes can also be cooked and preserved easily by canning or freezing, for making healthy and delicious dishes in winter.

Tomatoes requires extra care but once you develop a system, they aren't difficult to grow, either in the garden or in a container (we have tips to help you with that, too). If you have a sunny spot, and a bit of space, you can grow tomatoes! Be aware that cherry tomatoes, despite their small size, grow on plants that can get very big, and most tomato plants will need staking or support of some kind. Tomatoes are not cold hardy plants, and need hot weather to really flourish, but some varieties may reseed themselves in spring, particularly cherry tomatoes.

Of course we all have our favorite tomatoes, but we've put together a varied selection of excellent tomatoes you can grow in your own garden, with details about their qualities, best uses and some tips on growing. You can also check out some of the many articles and plant profiles we have focused on tomatoes.

  • 01 of 15

    San Marzano (Solanum lysopersicum 'San Marzano')

    Bright red Italian tomatoes against white background

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    This classic Italian (aka 'Roma') tomato is hardy, reliable and easy to grow, with rich flavor. It's the perfect tomato for cooking down into sauce, or for whipping up a quick cooked pasta sauce in minutes. This tomato usually starts to ripen by late August when planted in colder zones for summer harvest. The seeds cook down and the skins are thin, making for easy processing.

    • Native Area: Mediterranean and Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 4 to 5 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 02 of 15

    Sungold (Solanaceae Lycopersicon lycopersicum 'Sungold'))

    orange cherry tomatoes on the vine

    merlinpf / Getty Images

    The orange-yellow color of this cherry tomato is as attractive as the sweet, juicy flavor. A vigorous grower that produces loads of fruit, this is a nice cherry to grow for some variety and color in your salads and veggie trays. Great for roasting, too. This variety may keep producing after first frost if protected.

    • Native Area: Japan
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 3 to 4 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 03 of 15

    Brandywine (Solanum lysopersicum 'Brandywine')

    Bulbous bright red tomato on white background

    Thomas J Peterson / Getty Images

    A popular heirloom variety perfect for slicing onto a sandwich, this large, juicy, flavorful beefsteak-type tomato grows on plants that are sturdy and prolific. The strong plants do need staking or cages to support them, and keeping the stems trimmed and deadheaded ensures better fruit yield. This hefty red tomato has an attractive, irregular, bulbous shape, often seen in larger heirloom tomatoes.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 8 to 9 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 04 of 15

    Tiger Blush (Solanum lysopersicum 'Tiger Blush')

    Oval tomatoes in a pile, gold with reddish stripes

    Elena Estellés / Getty Images

    This attractive tomato is fast becoming a favorite with growers. Sometimes called a "gardenette" or a "julienne" tomato, Tiger Blush is a newer variety known for its delectable sweetness and firm, almost "crunchy" texture. It has an unusual oblong shape, and is slightly larger than a cherry tomato, more the size of a plum tomato. It has charming golden yellow coloring with pink to red stripes appearing as it ripens. The plants are prolific, can tolerate hot weather very well, and are among the best tomatoes to grow in containers. The smooth skin is resistant to cracking.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 3 to 4 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    Continue to 5 of 15 below.
  • 05 of 15

    Green Zebra (Solanum lycopersicum 'Green Zebra')

    Green tomatoes on plant in sunshine

    TKphotography64 / Getty Images

    Most of us associate green tomatoes with tomatoes picked before they're ripe, to be enjoyed any number of ways: sliced, breaded and fried ("fried green tomatoes"), or in a green tomato salsa. But these gorgeous heirlooms are ripe when they're green. You'll know when to pick them as the fruits will start to have a yellow blush and they will come away from the plant easily. The fruit looks beautiful sliced for a summer meal, and has a somewhat tart taste, as compared to sweeter red tomatoes. The plants can grow up to nine feet tall, so be sure to stake them well.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 8 to 9 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 06 of 15

    Black Krim (Solanum lycopersicum 'Black Krim')

    Large beefsteak tomatoes on vine, red with black tones

    Rachel Strawn Thibodeaux / Getty Images

    This large beefsteak style heirloom tomato has a bold, tart flavor, a firm juicy texture, and distinctive brown-black coloring. It is an open-pollinated heirloom that originated in Russia, and is now widely grown in the United States, where it has become a popular choice for farmers market growers and gourmet restaurants.

    • Native Area: Russia
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 8 to 9 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 07 of 15

    Better Boy (Solanum lycopersicum 'Better Boy')

    Bright red tomatoes in a box

    Steve Proehl / Getty Images

    The Better Boy tomato is a slightly improved version of the well-loved Big Boy (a hybrid introduced in 1949), and both are considered excellent tomatoes for salads , slicing, and cooking. Better Boy has the same medium size, firm, juicy sweet-tart flesh, and long harvest season as Big Boy, but with much better disease resistance. It is adaptable to a wide variety of growing conditions so it's a good choice for beginning gardeners.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 5 to 8 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 08 of 15

    Yellow Plum (Solanum lycopersicum 'Yellow Plum')

    Golden yellow plum tomatoes growing on a plant

    Yulia Reznikov / Getty Images

    This classic bright golden yellow cherry-type tomato is sweet and juicy, delicious right off the plant. It's a colorful and tasty addition to summer salads, and is also excellent for roasting or preserving. Like most cherry tomatoes, these plants are hardy and easy to grow.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: Up to 6 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    Continue to 9 of 15 below.
  • 09 of 15

    Cherokee Purple (Solanum lycopersicum 'Cherokee Purple')

    Large purple-red tomato ripening on vine next to green tomatoes

    MarieTDebs / Getty Images

    In 1990, a retired American chemist and heirloom tomato enthusiast received some seeds from another collector who said the seeds had been passed down from the Cherokee Nation in Tennessee. He grew them, was stunned by their unusual appearance and hearty flavor, and named the plants after their origins. Once introduced to the public, Cherokee Purple became one of the most popular heirloom tomatoes. Its large size and dusky purple-red color, tinged with dark green, make it a stand out at farmers' markets, but its wonderful sweet, rich taste also makes it one of the most desirable tomatoes to grow.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 8 to 9 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 10 of 15

    Early Girl (Solanum lycopersicum 'Early Girl')

    Tomatoes ripening on the vine

    Julie Craig / Getty Images

    True to its name, Early Girl is one of the first tomatoes to ripen in the garden. This medium size globe-type hybrid matures 50 days after being transplanted into the garden or a large container. The fruits are meaty and fragrant and suited to a variety of uses including slicing fresh onto sandwiches. The plants can grow up to nine feet tall.

    • Native Area: North America
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 8 to 9 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 11 of 15

    Black Cherry (Solanum lycopersicum ' ('Black Cherry')

    Black tomatoes on vine on a weathered wooden fence

    Campbell Downie / EyeEm / Getty Images

    First bred in Florida, Black Cherry tomatoes are now widely available. They have a tart-sweet and rather complex flavor and grow to about an inch in diameter. Their dark hued flesh ranges from a deep purple plum color to a shiny black, sometimes with green hues. Perfect in salads or eaten right off the vine.

    • Native Area: North America, Southeast
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 5 to 7 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 12 of 15

    Datterino (Solanum lycopersicum pomodoro 'Datterino')

    Pile of green and red oblong cherry tomatoes

    Luca Piccini Basile / Getty Images

    Also known as a "date" tomato due to being of similar size, shape and sweetness of dates, Datterino tomatoes are a well-known Italian cherry tomato variety. They come in a variety of colors, from yellow to deep red, with some new hybrids like 'Tigrato' featuring olive green and red striped fruits with a burnished almost metallic appearance when ripe. This plant does not grow straight upwards but has a trailing habit and needs support to keep the fruits off the ground.

    • Native Area: Italy
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 2 to 3 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
    Continue to 13 of 15 below.
  • 13 of 15

    Raspberry Oxheart (Solanum lycopersicon esculentum 'Raspberry Oxheart')

    Pinkish red ripe round tomatoes in a basket

    joannatkaczuk / Getty Images

    This heart-shaped, pink-red tomato has a smooth, shiny skin and a complex and sweet flavor. Technically this is a beefsteak tomato, but with a much more uniform shape, unlike some of the bulbous, bumpy beefsteak heirlooms. It's tasty eaten raw, but is also a fine choice for cooking into a fresh pasta sauce, or for roasting. The plants, which originate in Poland, are high-yielding and grow up to six feet tall.

    • Native Area: Poland
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 5 to 6 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 14 of 15

    Pineapple (Solanum lycopersicum 'Pineapple')

    Large yellow beefsteak heirloom tomatoes with reddish stripes

    Juanmonino / Getty Images

    Like the fruits they're named for, these large heirloom beefsteak tomatoes are sweet, juicy and a delightful golden color. The skins are usually bright yellow, sometimes streaked with orange or red, and the inner flesh is bright yellow, making this a colorful addition to your summer meals. They're particularly delectable in a sandwich, like a BLT or an open-faced sandwich with cheese broiled on top.

    • Native Area: Midwest United States
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 70 to 8 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • 15 of 15

    Yellow Pear (Solanum lycopersicum 'Yellow Pear')

    Small pear-shaped yellow cherry tomatoes

    aalex81 / Getty Images

    This older heirloom is growing in popularity. Its unusual shape makes it a desirable choice for the summer table; it's distinctively tangy and juicy. The plants are hardy and prolific, bearing loads of fruit; be ready with your basket to harvest these as they will fall off the plant once they begin to ripen quickly in late summer. The tomatoes may be small, but the plant can get enormous, often over ten feet tall. Trim the plant frequently, eliminating any discolored or wilting leaves.

    • Native Area: Europe
    • USDA Growing Zones: 9 to 11
    • Height: 11 to 12 feet
    • Sun Exposure: Full sun