The Difference Between Vining and Bush Tomatoes

Indeterminate and Determinate Tomato Varieties

Indeterminate tomato plants are perfect for all summer eating. Everett Mar

If you're new to tomato growing, one of the first things you'll want to understand is which type of tomato plants you want to plant in your garden: indeterminate (vining) or determinate (bush).  Both types have their advantages and most gardeners that I know grow both types for different reasons.

Indeterminate (vining) tomato varieties can grow anywhere from 5' tall on up so they continue to blossom and produce fruit all the way up until the next hard frost. Most people like the random, steady production because they're interested in using them for summer salads and sandwiches. Vining tomato varieties can also be used for canning purposes, but to ensure a sizable harvest (for a decent canning session) all at once, you would need several plants.    

Determinate (bush) tomato varieties are bred to flower and set fruit once they reach somewhere between 3'-4' tall. In other words, the flowers show up, the fruit is produced, the fruit ripens -- and that's the end of the show. Generally speaking, of course, since there's no accounting for randomness in nature - but you get the idea.

The beauty of bush tomatoes is that you get a big blast of fruit that's perfect for an epic canning session. The bush varieties are especially suited to container gardening, as well.