There are four main types of tomato plants: determinate, indeterminate, heirloom and hybrid varieties. Determinate varieties include Cherry Gold, Mountain Belle, Viva Italia and Mountain Gold. Indeterminate varieties include Champion, Sun Gold, Beefmaster, Better Boy and Top Sirloin. Heirloom varieties include Jubilee and Brandywine, while hybrid tomatoes include Lemon Boy, Fantastic, Dona and Mr. Stripey, among others.
Determinate tomato plants, or bush tomatoes, grow to a pre-determined height, which is usually less than 6 feet. This type of tomato requires no pruning or staking, and it is usually a quicker producer than its indeterminate counterparts. Determinate plants are good options for gardeners with limited growing spaces. Because tomatoes on determinate plants ripen all at one time, they are ideal for gardeners who plan to dry or can the tomatoes.
Indeterminate tomatoes grow to heights between 6 and 10 feet and require staking or some other type of support. The tomatoes on these plants ripen over a longer period of time, making them good for gardeners who want to have a consistent supply of tomatoes over the growing period.
Heirloom, or old-fashioned, tomato plants produce the same types of tomatoes each year. Gardeners can use the seeds from one crop to grow the same tomatoes the next year. Hybrid tomato plants are crossbred plants that combine traits of two varieties. Gardeners select hybrids to enjoy particular attributes from two separate strains of plant.