Best Tomato Varieties to Grow in the Garden

Capturing the fascinating form of the tomato is an art form in itself – from pleated heirlooms to bite-sized cherry tomatoes, tomatoes have graced the pages of countless home and garden magazines with their dazzling variance. Caressed by the warm sun, they ripen on their vines, dangling like hearts on chains and bursting with fresh flavor.  

Tomatoes are a versatile ingredient that’s been used in everything from garden fresh salsa paired with chips to Dutch babies (not real babies) cooked with simmering sausage. This season, take advantage of peak tomato season to explore the best varieties of tomatoes to grow for home gardeners. More vigorous growers will need trellising or staking, though there are some compact varieties that can be grown indoors in planters or right on the patio. 

  1. Reisetomate Tomatoes

An Old German variety, the reisetomate tomato (traveler’s tomato) is among the most curiously shaped tomatoes, its fused masses resembling twisted balloon animals. Considered an extremely rare heirloom, it somehow manages to be both grotesque and appealing at the same time. Its parts are able to be peeled one at a time, making it quite handy for travelers – giving rise to its colloquial name. 

Flavor: Sweet acidic flavor 

Uses: Snacking, great for salsa 

  1. Cherokee Purple   

The Cherokee purple is a big, bulgy tomato with a dusky rose tint that fades to green. For an heirloom, it is rather disease resistant, though its vigorous vines do require the support of a strong trellis. With an appealing, almost smoky flavor, this delicious tomato ranks among the most well-liked heirlooms, with a taste that some say surpasses even that of the Brandywine.  

Flavor: Rich, tangy taste 

Uses: Excellent in sandwiches and burgers  

  1. Pink Brandywine Tomatoes  

This old-time favorite woos with its rosy red flesh and larger-than-average fruit, nestled among its distinct, potato-leaf foliage. First cultivated by the Amish over two centuries ago, it’s a riotous amalgamation of old-school vigor and timeless taste that’s sure to uphold its prestige for decades to come. As with all heavier indeterminates, trellising is recommended. 

Flavor: Old-timey tomato flavor 

Uses: Multipurposesliced, sauteed, grilled, eating raw 

  1. Green Zebra Tomato   

The green zebra is a medium-sized tomato with rockstar quality – the flesh is a striking chartreuse inlaid with golden stripes. Noted for its piquant taste, it’s often used by gourmet chefs to enhance their dishes. It has a prolific yield and the skin grows unblemished, the same which can’t be said for many beefier heirlooms, which are prone to cracking. 

Flavor: Zingy flavor 

Uses: Fresh eating, roasting, and in salsa verde  

  1. Black Beauty          

Though they can be fickle and slow to grow, black beauty tomatoes have a tendency to steal the show, like a noir star. It’s also loaded with anthocyanins – the same pigments found in blueberries that has been shown to protect against diabetes. Whether you’re seeking a vegetable that reflects the color of your soul or crave diversity in the garden, the black beauty stars as one of the most unique tomatoes available. 

Flavor: Sweet, but not overwhelming, with earthy tones 

Uses: Great for slicing and canning 

  1. Ananas Noire (Pineapple) 

Those who seek novelty must try this experimental tomato, developed by a Belgian horticulturist who discovered this strain growing amidst regular pineapple tomatoes. This specialty cultivar produces magnificent jumbo orbs in wildly multicolored shades; when served in a salad platter, it’s sure to add intrigue to the table. 

Flavor: Tangy, exceedingly sweet

Uses: Try in stacked salad with mozzarella, tomato sauce 

  1. Rosella Cherry Tomato          

This very productive variety of cherry tomatoes, known for its superb taste and smoky blush, might as well be candy off the vine. A marked departure from the sugary sweet Sungold, it imparts a wine-like, unusually rich taste that makes it ideal both for snacking and cooking. It produces its first crop in 65 days and thrives in cool maritime climates.  

Flavor: Bright berry taste 

Uses: Snacking, grilling, served in salads 

  1. San Marzano 

If you’re looking to grow a pizza garden, then the San Marzano definitely deserves a mention. Lauded as the best tomatoes for pizza sauce, they are distinguished by their elongated shape and their firm flesh, yielding a mellow flavor. San Marzanos grow in oblong trusses all at once, ensuring enough fruit for an ample batch. 

Type: Determinate

Uses: Pizza sauce, salsa, marinara sauce   


  1. Costoluto Genovese

Travelers will not need to venture far to discover this carmine oddity, a favorite in Italian cooking. Its famously convoluted shape, lobed like a pumpkin, is characteristic of the heirlooms of the 19th century. Unlike strictly paste tomatoes, this strange heirloom can be used in a variety of raw and cooked applications. It has an intense, acidic flavor that is as stellar as its appearance. 

Type: Indeterminate

Uses: Sliced, fresh eating, grilling, tomato sauces 

  1. Blueberries Tomatoes  

Many gardeners swear up and down that tomatoes aren’t fruits, even though they’re classified as such botanically. Settle the debate once and for all with blueberries tomatoes, an unusual variety that combines the color of blueberries with the savory flavor of cherry tomatoes. It’s a diminutive tomato that bears a prolific crop; at its nascent stages, it glistens a deep amethyst.  

Type: Indeterminate

Uses: Snacking, perfect addition to salads or baked into pizza / focaccia 


  1. Sungold   

Sungolds are the go-to for many gardeners, its citrine color only outshined by its flavor, which is considered the ‘gold standard’ for tomatoes – a tart, fruity flavor with a tropical bent. Sungold performs especially well in pastas, transmuting into a mouthwatering combination when paired with fresh herbs from the garden. 

Type: Indeterminate

Uses: Snacking, pasta sauce 

  1. Brutus Tomato    

This gigantic tomato takes to heart the motto, “Go big or go home.” It’s not the most aesthetic of tomatoes, but once you look past its beastly appearance, it compensates with its meaty flesh and prodigious size. With the potential to weigh up to 2 kg, it has found its second calling as a contestant in tomato competitions. Make sure to stake plants well. 

Flavor: Old-timey tomato flavor 

Uses: Sliced or canned

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