What Are the Best Types of Tomatoes to Grow in Your Garden?

Katy Willis
Written by Katy Willis
Updated June 17, 2021
Tomatoes growing in garden
Sawitree Pamee / EyeEm via Getty Images

Sweetly tart and bursting with vibrant flavor, the best types of tomatoes to plant in your garden are delicious and easy to grow

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Fact: The best-tasting tomatoes are those that you pick right off the vine and shove straight into your mouth while they're still wonderfully sun-warmed and juicy. But with so many tomato varieties at the garden center, it can be challenging to narrow down your choices. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best types of tomatoes to grow in your garden, whether you’re growing tomatoes for salads, sauces, canning—or of course, eating raw.

For example, tomatoes with an even balance between sweet and tart with firm flesh are best as salad tomatoes, while those with softer flesh make a great sauce tomato. Brandywine or Cherokee purple make great salad or eating tomatoes, while Roma and Jersey Devil are among the best sauce or canning tomato varieties. 

1. Brandywine

Tomato lovers prize Brandywines for their depth of flavor and their firm, easily sliceable flesh. It's relatively easy to grow this beefsteak tomato type with large fruits weighing up to two pounds. Brandywine tomatoes come in different varieties, including pink, red, black, and yellow, and have a distinctive creamy texture and crisply sweet taste. 

Instead of the standard saw-toothed tomato foliage, Brandywines have smooth-edged leaves that look more like potato plants. 

You’ll have to be patient with this one: This tomato can take up to 100 days from germination to reach maturity.

2. Purple Cherokee

Purple Cherokees are a striped, deep red-purple tomato that take roughly 80 days to mature. These bush tomatoes vary in size considerably, with fruits commonly weighing up to a pound. Purple Cherokees are popular in hot and dry locations as they're hardy enough to withstand dry spells. Additionally, they're resistant to most common tomato diseases like fusarium wilt. These heirloom tomatoes have an intense, sweet-tart balanced flavor, and the firm flesh makes them popular for slicing.

3. Roma

Roma is the classic paste tomato, with dense, meaty flesh and low water content. This makes it well-suited to canning, paste, and sauces. Roma tomatoes are available in red, pink, and orange cultivars and take up to 80 days to mature. The fruits are cylindrical, measure up to 3 inches long and grow on compact, high-yield bushes. 

4. Jersey Devil

Jersey Devil tomatoes are another paste variety, with big, 6-inch fruits shaped like a banana pepper. This type of tomato grows on sprawling vines and, with basic care, is a prolific producer. While an old-fashioned favorite for sauce, paste, and canning because of the meaty, juicy flesh and lack of seeds, Jersey Devils are also well-suited as salad tomatoes. So if you only have room for one variety and want to enjoy fresh tomatoes as well as preserves, Jersey Devil is the best type of tomato for you.

5. Aunt Ruby's German Green Tomato

"Aunt Ruby's" German green tomatoes are heirloom beefsteak tomatoes that remain green when ripe. They take up to 100 days from germination to mature, and the fruits are large, weighing up to a pound. Growing on sprawling shrubs that require support or staking, this unusual tomato variety turns yellow-green and feels a little soft when ripe. Primarily used as a salad or slicing tomato, Aunt Ruby's German green tomato has a distinctive spicy-sweet flavor.

6. Black Cherry Tomato

Black cherry tomatoes are sweet, rich, and juicy. These are the tomatoes that you just can't resist popping in your mouth. Black cherry tomato plants have long, vigorous vines and are prolific producers. You'll get bucketfuls of intensely flavorful 1-inch fruits with a dark red to black color. Because they're a small, fast-growing variety, they only take 65 to 75 days to mature.

Cherry Tomatoes
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7. Hillbilly Tomato

Hillbilly tomatoes are bright mottled red and yellow beefsteaks that can weigh up to 2 pounds. These beasts are popular in hot climates as they're resistant to cracking and tolerate hot temperatures exceptionally well. The high-yield plants have long trailing vines, and the fruits are glossy, juicy, and sweet. Hillbillies taste best as raw sliced tomatoes. Despite their enormity, hillbilly tomatoes mature in around 90 days.

8. Yellow Pear

Yellow pear tomatoes are an old, heirloom cultivar with golden yellow pear-shaped fruits up to 2 inches long. This unusual cherry tomato is ideal for snacking and salads. They are an indeterminate variety, meaning that their growth habit is bush-like but with long vines, so you will need to provide adequate support. However, they'll reward you with an exceptionally high yield, and they'll continue to produce well into fall, so this yellow cherry tomato is worth considering even if you've got limited space. This type of tomato takes about 80 days to mature.

9. Amish Paste

Amish paste tomatoes are a plum tomato variety that matures pretty quickly for the size—65 to 80 days. The fruits reach up to 8 ounces and are dense, fleshy, and juicy, with a well-balanced tart-sweet flavor and a deep red, glossy red color. As the name suggests, this tomato variety originates from the Pennsylvanian Amish community and produces a fairly high yield. The plants are indeterminate—meaning they’ll keep growing all season long—so they require plenty of staking and support to keep the ripening fruits off the ground. 

10. Ace 55-VF

A vigorous bush tomato variety, Ace 55-VF is a disease-resistant cultivar. It's the best choice of tomato variety if your garden is prone to tomato problems such as Verticillium wilt and Fusarium wilt. Ace 55-VF is a high-yield beefsteak tomato that's bright orange-red and has a thick wall and juicy flesh that make it a good option for salads and slicing. It's a low acid variety with a distinctive sweet flavor, but it's not suitable for canning. 

If you're unsure which varieties are best suited to your garden, consult with a local garden specialist. They'll be able to help you choose the right cultivars for your local area and can even help you improve your soil health and find the best planting location for your tomatoes. 

A local garden designer may also help you figure out how best to plant your tomatoes and other flora based on which way your garden grows, what space you have, what existing plants you have, current landscape features, and more. 

If you have a small yard or even just a patio, you can still grow tomatoes. Smaller, more compact bush varieties, such as the aptly named Patio tomatoes, are good choices if you want to start container gardening with tomatoes. And you can also find a few tasty tumbling varieties that do well in hanging baskets, like Tumbling Tom, to make the most of your vertical growing space, too.

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