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Friday, June 8, 2012

Determinate and Indeterminate tomato plants (to prune or not to prune)

There are two main varieties of tomato plants: Determinate and Indeterminate. A seed package will tell you what you got. I don't know of a way to tell if a plant is determinate or indeterminate by just looking at a young plant, but later in the season you can see if it is a bush or a huge still growing plant.You will also learn if it is better to prune or not to prune tomato plants.

More on growing tomatoes: Instructions for Growing Tomatoes: in the garden and greenhouse


  1. I am confused as to how you actually prune the indeterminates. Do you only prune off suckers that grow between the main stem and a side branch or do you remove side branches.

    Do you think it makes sense to prune indeterminates if you live in a northern climate where they only grow from mid May to early September or is it best to just let them go wild?

    Thanks for any advice you can give.

    1. Hi Angela, Indeterminate tomato plants do not have side brunches. All of them start as suckers that grow between the main stem and a leaf. They will eventually grow to a side branch. If you decide to prune your plants, it is best to do it every week, otherwise they will grow to a branch.

      To prune or not to prune in a northern climate is a good question. It depends, if you do prune, you will have ripe tomatoes earlier in the season, and they will be bigger. If you do not prune, you will and up with more tomatoes, but they might not be ripe till the first frost comes. I have done both, and I think pruning is a better way for a short growing season, but it is up to you.

      Hope this helps, happy growing!


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