Red Tomato

Red Tomato, The 46 Varieties

Red tomato is one of the most extensively grown and consumed fruits worldwide is officially know as  Solanum lycopersicum. In culinary contexts, it is a vegetable, but botanically, it is a berry, consumed cooked or raw. Tomatoes are members of the Solanaceae family, related to potatoes, peppers, and eggplants.


Table of Contents

Origins and History:


The domestication of the tomato by indigenous peoples in Peru and Ecuador can be traced back to its beginnings in western South America. The term “tomatl” was used to refer to these fruits in the Nahuatl language of the Aztecs, where the word “tomato” originated. Following the Spanish colonization of the Americas in the sixteenth century, tomatoes found their way to Europe, where they finally established themselves as a mainstay of Mediterranean cooking.


Red Tomato Varieties:

Tomato varieties are determinate or indeterminate based on their growth habits.


Determinate Tomatoes:

Determinate tomato plants are commonly termed as bush or compact tomatoes. Their development habit is biologically programmed; they usually attain a given length, usually between three and four feet, and set fruit in a comparatively short time. Determinate varieties are ideal for container gardening and smaller spaces.

They tend to produce a concentrated harvest, making them suitable for those who want a large yield at once, such as for canning or processing.


Indeterminate Tomatoes:


Indeterminate tomato plants are known for their vining or sprawling growth habit. They keep growing and produce fruit throughout the growing season until winter or such adverse weather occur. Indeterminate varieties can grow quite tall, sometimes reaching 6 feet or more, and benefit from staking or other support structures to keep them upright.

These tomatoes are well-suited for gardeners who want a steady supply of fresh tomatoes over an extended period.

There are thousands (over 10000) of tomato varieties cultivated globally, ranging in size, shape, color, and flavor. The classic red tomato varieties include beefsteak, roma, cherry, grape, and plum. Each type has a distinct flavor profile, and can be used in a number of culinary contexts.


Here are 46 popular red tomato varieties and their respective uses:


  1. Beefsteak Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Large, meaty, and flavorful.
    • Uses: Ideal for slicing in sandwiches, burgers, and salads due to their substantial size and juicy texture.
  1. Roma (Plum) Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Oval or plum-shaped with fewer seeds and thicker flesh.
    • Uses: Excellent for making sauces, pastes, and canning due to their low moisture content.
  1. Cherry Tomatoes (e.g., Sweet 100, Sungold):
    • Characteristics: Small, round, and sweet.
    • Uses: Perfect for snacking, salads, and garnishes. Sungold, in particular, is known for its exceptional sweetness.
  1. Brandywine Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Heirloom variety with large, pink-red fruits and rich flavor.
    • Uses: Great for slicing and enjoying fresh in salads or sandwiches.
  1. San Marzano Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Plum-shaped, meaty, and less watery.
    • Uses: The preferred choice for making authentic Italian pasta sauces and canning.
  1. Early Girl Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Medium-sized, early ripening.
    • Uses: Versatile for salads, sandwiches, and early-season harvesting.
  1. Celebrity Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Disease-resistant, medium-sized.
    • Uses: All-purpose tomato suitable for various culinary applications.
  1. Campari Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Round, small, and known for sweetness.
    • Uses: Ideal for snacking, salads, and as a flavorful addition to appetizers.
  1. Yellow Pear Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Small, pear-shaped, and yellow.
    • Uses: Adds color and sweetness to salads and makes for a visually appealing snack.
  1. Cherokee Purple Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Heirloom variety with deep purple-red color and rich flavor.
    • Uses: Excellent for slicing and adding a unique, smoky flavor to salads and sandwiches.
  1. Big Boy Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Large, smooth, and meaty.
    • Uses: Perfect for slicing in sandwiches, burgers, and salads due to their size and flavor.
  1. Mortgage Lifter Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Heirloom variety known for large fruits.
    • Uses: Excellent for slicing and using in sandwiches or salads.
  1. Brandy Boy Tomatoes:
    • Characteristics: Hybrid variety with characteristics of Brandywine and Big Boy.
    • Uses: Combines the best of both varieties, suitable for various culinary applications.
  1. Amana Orange:
    • Characteristics: Heirloom with large, beefsteak-style fruits, known for their sweet and tangy flavor.
    • Uses: Perfect for slicing and enjoying fresh in salads or sandwiches.
  1. Black Krim:
    • Characteristics: Heirloom with dark red-purple color and rich, smoky flavor. It takes 75-80 days to mature.
    • Uses: Excellent for adding depth to salads and sandwiches.
  1. Yellow Brandywine:
    • Characteristics: A yellow variant of the popular Brandywine variety, known for its sweet and mild taste. It grows up to 1 pound.
    • Uses: Suitable for slicing and enjoying in salads or as a colorful addition to dishes.
  1. Green Zebra:
    • Characteristics: Small to medium-sized with green and yellow stripes, offering a unique tart flavor.
    • Uses: Adds a zesty kick to salads and makes a visually interesting addition to dishes.
  1. Sunset:
    • Characteristics: Medium-sized tomatoes with a vibrant red color and well-balanced flavor.
    • Uses: Versatile for salads, sandwiches, and fresh eating.
  1. Black Prince:
    • Characteristics: Small to medium-sized, dark red to almost black tomatoes with a rich, complex taste.
    • Uses: Ideal for slicing and incorporating into salads or as a unique addition to culinary creations.
  1. Rutgers:
    • Characteristics: Classic, determinate variety with round, red fruits and a well-balanced flavor.
    • Uses: Suitable for various culinary applications, including sauces and fresh eating.
  1. Costoluto Genovese:
    • Characteristics: Heirloom with deeply ribbed, fluted fruits and intense flavor.
    • Uses: Great for sauces, pastes, and adding a burst of flavor to dishes.
  1. Momotaro:
    • Characteristics: Japanese hybrid with large, round fruits and a sweet, juicy taste.
    • Uses: Excellent for salads, slicing, and enjoying fresh.
  1. Japanese Black Trifele:
    • Characteristics: Pear-shaped, dark red tomatoes with a rich, smoky flavor.
    • Uses: Adds a distinctive touch to salads and complements charcuterie boards.
  1. Black Cherry:
    • Characteristics: Small, dark red to almost black cherry tomatoes with a sweet and complex flavor.
    • Uses: Perfect for snacking, salads, and garnishing dishes.
  1. Marglobe:
    • Characteristics: Classic, disease-resistant variety with round, smooth red tomatoes.
    • Uses: Suitable for various culinary applications, including sauces and canning.
  1. Rose de Berne:
    • Characteristics: Heirloom with medium-sized, pink-red fruits and a sweet, fruity flavor.
    • Uses: Great for slicing and enjoying fresh in salads or sandwiches.
  1. Sub-Arctic Plenty:
    • Characteristics: Cold-tolerant variety, suitable for short growing seasons, with small to medium-sized red tomatoes.
    • Uses: Ideal for northern climates and for those with a shorter growing season.
  1. Matt’s Wild Cherry:
    • Characteristics: Small, cherry-sized tomatoes with intense sweetness.
    • Uses: Perfect for snacking, salads, and adding a burst of flavor to various dishes.
  1. Egg Yolk:
    • Characteristics: Small to medium-sized, round, and bright yellow tomatoes with a rich flavor.
    • Uses: Excellent for salads, snacking, and garnishes.
  1. Ace 55:
    • Characteristics: Determinate variety with medium-sized, round, yellow tomatoes and a mild flavor.
    • Uses: Suitable for slicing in salads and sandwiches.
  1. Yellow Beefsteak:
    • Characteristics: Large, beefsteak-style tomatoes with a golden-yellow color and a sweet, mild flavor.
    • Uses: Perfect for slicing and enjoying fresh, especially in sandwiches.
  1. Big Rainbow:
    • Characteristics: Large, ribbed, and bi-colored (yellow with red stripes) tomatoes with a sweet, fruity flavor.
    • Uses: Adds a visually stunning element to salads and is great for slicing.
  1. Calypso:
    • Characteristics: Medium-sized, round, and striped with orange, yellow, and red hues.
    • Uses: Suitable for fresh eating, salads, and as a colorful addition to dishes.
  1. Caribe:
    • Characteristics: Small to medium-sized, round, and yellow tomatoes with a tangy flavor.
    • Uses: Ideal for salads, snacking, and culinary garnishes.
  1. Creole:
    • Characteristics: Small to medium-sized, round, and red tomatoes with a balanced flavor.
    • Uses: Suitable for various culinary applications, including sauces and salads.
  1. Golden Sunray:
    • Characteristics: Large, golden-yellow tomatoes with a sweet and mild flavor.
    • Uses: Excellent for slicing and adding a burst of color to salads.
  1. Green Grape:
    • Characteristics: Small, round, and green when ripe, with a sweet and tangy flavor.
    • Uses: Perfect for snacking, salads, and as a unique addition to cheese plates.
  1. Heritage Rainbow Mix:
    • Characteristics: A mix of heirloom tomatoes in various colors, shapes, and sizes.
    • Uses: Adds diversity to salads, offers a range of flavors for fresh eating.
  1. Jubilee:
    • Characteristics: Large, golden-yellow, and meaty tomatoes with a mild, sweet flavor.
    • Uses: Ideal for slicing and fresh eating, especially in sandwiches.
  1. Stripey:
    • Characteristics: Large, beefsteak-type tomatoes with a yellow background and red stripes.
    • Uses: Adds a visually appealing element to salads and sandwiches.
  1. Oxheart:
    • Characteristics: Heart-shaped, large, and meaty tomatoes with a sweet, mild flavor.
    • Uses: Suitable for sauces, slicing, and fresh eating.
  1. Pineapple:
    • Characteristics: Large, bi-colored tomatoes with yellow and red streaks, known for their sweet and fruity flavor.
    • Uses: Perfect for slicing, fresh eating, and adding a unique touch to salads.
  1. Rio Grande:
    • Characteristics: Medium-sized, elongated tomatoes with a bright red color and a tangy flavor.
    • Uses: Ideal for sauces, pastes, and canning.
  1. Tigerella:
    • Characteristics: Small, round, and striped red and yellow tomatoes with a tangy flavor.
    • Uses: Adds visual interest to salads and is great for snacking.
  1. Tiny Tim:
    • Characteristics: Tiny, determinate plants with small, red cherry tomatoes.
    • Uses: Perfect for small spaces, container gardening, and snacking.
  1. VB Moscow:
    • Characteristics: Medium-sized, round, and red tomatoes with a balanced flavor.
    • Uses: Suitable for various culinary applications, including salads and fresh eating.


Nutritional Content of a red tomato:


It is well known that tomatoes have a high nutritious content. They are a great source of potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate. Lycopene, another antioxidant found in tomatoes, has been connected to several health benefits, such as a decreased risk of some cancers and better heart health. Tomatoes are beneficial to skin health due to Lycopene and other compounds. High concentration of Carotenoids found in tomatoes may protect against breast cancer.

They may also lower the risk of blood clotting and exhibit a protective impact on the inner layer of blood vessels.


Culinary Uses:


The red tomato is an incredibly versatile ingredient in the kitchen. It is used in salads, sauces, soups, stews, and a myriad of other dishes. Fresh tomatoes are a component in Mediterranean cuisine, often combined with olive oil, basil, and mozzarella in the famous Caprese salad. Tomato sauces, made from cooked and pureed tomatoes, are the foundation of many Italian dishes, such as pasta and pizza. Grape and cherry tomatoes are great for salads and snacks, while beefsteak and tomatoes on the vine are excellent for sandwiches.


Cultivation of the red tomato:


Tomatoes are cultivated in different climates and thrive in well-drained soil with ample sunlight. They are often grown in home gardens, commercial farms, and greenhouses. The cultivation of tomatoes requires careful attention to factors like temperature, water, and soil conditions to ensure optimal growth and fruit production.

Growing red tomatoes can be a rewarding experience, whether you have a small scale (backyard garden), large scale (commercial) or even just some containers on a sunny balcony.


Here is a step-by-step guide on how to grow red tomatoes:

Choose Red Tomato Varieties:

Select a tomato variety that suits your growing conditions and culinary preferences. Consider factors such as size, flavor, and disease resistance. Common varieties include beefsteak, roma, cherry, grape, and heirloom tomatoes.


  • Purchase Quality Seeds or Seedlings: You can grow tomatoes from seeds indoors or buy seedlings from a nursery or garden retailer. If starting from seed, sow them indoors 6-8 weeks before the last expected frost in your area.
  • Prepare the Soil: Tomatoes grow well in well drained soils because they are sensitive to water logging. The best soil is of pH 6-7. Temperature should be 20-27 degrees C. Fruit setting becomes poor above 30 or below 10 degrees C. Prepare the nursery by making beds of raised fine soil.
  • Topology: A gently sloppy land is ideal as it provide drainage during rainy season open air field farming.
  • Choose a Sunny Location: Tomatoes thrive in full sunshine, so choose an area that receives at least 6-8 hours of sunlight everyday. Ensure that the planting site has good air circulation to minimize the risk of diseases.

Red Tomato Planting

Nursery Preparation:

Plant the seeds at a depth of 1 centimeter and slightly cover with a fine soil of small particles to enable the tomato seeds break easily and germinate. The distance between the lines should be approximately 15 centimeters. Irrigation is best in the morning. Apply mulching to keep the soil moist. The seeds to sprout within 8-10 days. Stop watering 1-2 weeks before transplanting. Transplant one month after seed planting.

If you are using seedlings, transfer them into the garden once the last frost date for your area is over. Space the plants in accordance to the guidelines for the specific tomato variety. Sink a hole enough in depth to cover at least two-thirds of the stem, as tomatoes can develop roots along buried stems.


Plants like basil, marigolds, and nasturtiums can help repel pests and enhance the growth of tomatoes. Avoid planting tomatoes near potatoes, as they are susceptible to similar diseases.


Red Tomato Watering:

Make sure the soil is constantly damp but not soggy. Watering tomatoes on a regular basis is necessary, especially in dry spells. In order to ward off fungal illnesses, water the base of the plants. A drip irrigation system could be used to supply steady moisture.



Cover the ground around the plants with a natural mulching material such as chopped foliage or hay. Mulching aids in controlling soil temperature, weed suppression, and moisture retention.


Support Structures:

Many tomato varieties benefit from support structures such as cages, stakes, or trellises. As the plants grow, tie them to the support to prevent sprawling and to keep the fruits off the ground, reducing the risk of diseases.


Red Tomato Fertilizing:

Tomatoes are heavy feeders, so provide them with a balanced fertilizer. You can use a slow-release granular fertilizer at planting time and supplement with liquid fertilizer during the growing season. Follow the package instructions for application rates.


Tomatoes can be grown organically. Use organic fertilizers, practice natural pest control methods, and avoid synthetic pesticides and herbicides.


Flowering of Red Tomato:

Tomato plant requires sufficient sunlight to bloom. In some cases, the plant can flower but not fail to fruit. At this stage the plant is sensitive to temperature, irrigation, fertilization and pollination. All these can result in a plant that blooms but never fruits.


Here’s how temperature, irrigation, fertilization, and pollination affect these crucial stages of tomato plant development:


(a) Temperature:


Tomato plants thrive in warm temperatures. Ideal daytime temperatures for flowering range from 70 to 85°F (21 to 29°C). Night temperatures above 50°F (10°C) are generally preferred. Extremely high temperatures can sometimes lead to blossom drop.


Consistent warm temperatures are essential for proper fruit development. Night temperatures below 50°F (10°C) can negatively impact fruit setting and development. Pollination can be affected if temperatures exceed 90°F (32°C) during the day, leading to poor fruit development.


(b) Irrigation:


Consistent moisture is crucial during flowering. Blossom end rot, in which the blooms or early fruit may not develop properly, can be caused by irregular watering.


Fruiting for the red tomato:

Once fruiting begins, maintain consistent moisture to prevent issues like cracking. Inconsistent watering can result in uneven fruit development and affect fruit quality.


(c) Fertilization:


Phosphorus is essential for flower development. Use a balanced fertilizer with a slightly higher phosphorus content (the middle number in the fertilizer ratio) during the flowering stage to encourage robust flower production.



Too much nitrogen can lead to excessive vegetative growth at the expense of fruiting.


(d) Pollination of the Red Tomato:


Tomatoes are typically self-pollinating, but can benefit from wind or insect pollination to improve fruit set. Vibrating the plants gently or providing some airflow can enhance pollination.



Adequate pollination is crucial for fruit development. Factors like high humidity, excessive rain, or the absence of pollinators can lead to poor fruit set. In such cases, manual pollination may be necessary by tapping or shaking the flower clusters.


(e) Other Considerations when planting the red tomato:


High humidity can affect pollination and increase the risk of diseases. Proper spacing and good air circulation can assist reduce humidity-related issues.


Disease Management:

Diseases like fungal infections can affect flowering and fruiting. Use disease-resistant varieties, practice good garden hygiene, and consider preventive measures such as fungicide applications if needed.



Proper spacing is crucial for ensuring good air circulation, reducing the risk of diseases, and optimizing sunlight exposure, all of which contribute to healthy and productive tomato plants.

The spacing for red tomatoes depends on whether you’re growing determinate or indeterminate varieties as well as the specific recommendations for the tomato cultivar.

Here are general guidelines for spacing:


(A). Determinate Tomatoes:


Determinate tomatoes are often more compact and tend to have a predetermined size.

Space determinate tomato crops about 45 to 60 centimeters (18 to 24 inches) apart in lines.

The gap between the lines should be about 90 to 120 centimeters (3 to 4 feet) apart.


(B). Indeterminate Tomatoes:


Indeterminate tomatoes have a vining or sprawling growth habit and can continue to grow throughout the season.

Space indeterminate tomato plants about 60 to 90 centimeters (24 to 36 inches) apart in rows.

Rows should be spaced about 120 to 150 centimeters (4 to 5 feet) apart.

If you’re using a vertical support system like stakes or cages, you may need to adjust the spacing to allow for proper support and air circulation.


(C). Container Gardening:


  • If you’re growing tomatoes in containers, the size of the container will determine the spacing.
  • Use large containers, at least 5 gallons or more, for proper root development.
  • Space determinate varieties about 12 to 18 inches (30 to 45 cm) apart in containers.
  • Space indeterminate varieties about 18 to 24 inches (45 to 60 cm) apart in containers.

(D). Companion Planting of the Red Tomato:


Consider companion planting to make the most of your space and keep away pests. For example, planting basil, marigolds, or nasturtiums near tomatoes can be beneficial.


(E). Crop Rotation:

If you’re growing tomatoes in the location as previous years, practice crop rotation to reduce the risk of soil-borne diseases. It is best to wait three months before planting tomatoes after planting crops such as potatoes or peppers.


Crop rotation for the Red tomato is essential for several reasons.


Disease Management:

Different plants are susceptible to various diseases and pests. Planting the same crop in the same location season after season can lead to a buildup of soil-borne pathogens specific to that crop.

Crop rotation helps break the life cycle of these pathogens, reducing the risk of diseases affecting the new crop.

Nutrient Balance:
  • Different plants have different nutrient needs. If you repeatedly grow the same crop in the same spot, it can deplete specific nutrients from the soil while leaving others in excess.
  • Crop rotation helps maintain a more balanced and sustainable soil fertility, as different crops utilize and contribute to the soil differently.

Weed Control:

Crop rotation can interfere with the life cycle of weeds that are unique to certain crops. You may discourage the growth of weeds adapted to the previous crop by changing the type of plants in a particular area.

Improved Soil Structure:
  • Some crops have deep roots, while others have shallower root systems. Rotating crops with different root structures can help improve soil structure and reduce soil compaction.
Increased Yield and Quality:
  • Crop rotation increases yields and improves crop quality. By mitigating disease and pest pressures, maintaining soil fertility, and optimizing growing conditions, subsequent crops are more likely to thrive.

How to Implement Crop Rotation:


Plan Rotation Cycles:

Divide your garden into sections or beds and plan a rotation cycle for each area. Crop rotation should occur every two to three years, though this might change depending on your plants’ unique requirements.

Group Crops:

Group plants with similar characteristics and nutrient needs together helps you plan rotations more effectively.

Keep Records:

Maintain a garden journal or use a digital tool to record crops planted in each area. This documentation will help you plan rotations and track the success of previous crops.


Choose Cover Crops:


Consider planting cover crops during the off-season to improve soil health. Cover crops, such as legumes or grains, can add organic matter, fix nitrogen, and help with weed suppression.

Knowing what was previously planted in a specific area allows you to make informed decisions about the next crop, contributing to a healthier and more productive garden over time.



While not necessary for all varieties, pruning can minimize the danger of illness and increase air circulation. Remove the lower leaves, especially if they touch the soil and any non-productive branches.


Pest and Disease Management:

Monitor for pests like aphids, hornworms, and tomato fruit worms. Consider using natural predators, such as ladybugs, and practice companion planting to deter pests. Regularly inspect plants for signs of diseases like early blight or late blight and promptly address any issues.

Farmers and gardeners frequently utilize various techniques, such as crop rotation and the employment of natural predatory creatures, to control pests and diseases.



Tomatoes are ready for harvest when they reach their full color and are slightly soft to the touch. Tomatoes take 70 days to mature, depending on the variety. Pick them frequently to motivate the plant to bear more fruit. For the best flavor, allow tomatoes to ripen on the vine.


Store tomatoes at room temperature until completely ripe, then freeze them to slow down further ripening. However, refrigeration may affect the flavor and texture, so use them within a few days.


You can save tomato seeds for the next planting season by allowing the seeds to ferment for a few days, then rinse and dry them before storing in a cool, dry place.


The number of tomatoes a plant produces can vary greatly depending on several factors, such as the tomato variety, growing environment, maintenance, and the type of tomato plant (determinate or indeterminate).


Determinate Tomatoes:

  • Determinate tomato plants are often more compact and have a predetermined size. They produce a more concentrated crop over a relatively short period.
  • On average, a determinate tomato plant may yield a set number of fruits, usually within a few weeks.
  • The number of tomatoes per plant can range from a dozen to a few dozen, depending on the specific variety.


Indeterminate Tomatoes:

  • Indeterminate tomato plants have a vining or sprawling growth habit and can continue to produce fruit throughout the growing season until frost or unfavorable conditions occur.
  • The number of tomatoes per plant for indeterminate varieties can vary significantly.
  • A well-cared-for indeterminate tomato plant can produce 20 to 50 pounds or more of tomatoes over the season.

Factors Affecting Red Tomato Production:

  • Growing Conditions: Adequate sunlight, well-draining soil, and proper watering contribute to healthy plants and higher yields.
  • Care: Regular pruning, proper staking or support, and fertilizing can impact plant health and productivity.
  • Variety: Some tomato varieties naturally produce more fruit than others. Cherry and grape tomatoes often have higher yields per plant than large beefsteak types.
  • Example:
  • You might expect 8-12 tomatoes per plant for a determinate variety like Roma.
  • For an indeterminate variety like Brandywine, the plant can produce 20-30 or more tomatoes over the season.


It’s essential to note that the total yield per plant is just one aspect. The size and weight of individual tomatoes can also vary. Additionally, environmental factors such as temperature, diseases, and pests can impact production.

Canned and Processed Products:

Tomatoes are not only consumed fresh but processed into various products. Canned tomatoes, tomato paste, ketchup, and salsa are just a few examples of the many tomato-based products available in grocery stores. The canning and processing of tomatoes allow for year-round availability and extend their shelf life. Green tomatoes are great for canning, as are Roma and Heirloom tomatoes.


Cultural Significance of the Red Tomato:

Tomatoes have become an integral part of many cuisines worldwide and hold cultural significance in numerous societies. Festivals celebrating the tomato, such as La Tomatina in Spain, attract people worldwide who engage in the playful tradition of throwing ripe tomatoes at each other.

Read about Tomato Planters, A Comprehensive Guide for Success here.