Vining vs Bush Tomatoes – What Suits Your Garden?

Tomatoes are one of the most popular ingredients in dishes all around the world. The tangy and sweet flavorful fruit is well loved and what’s better than growing your own tomatoes at home to enjoy them fresh?

If you are thinking about having your own tomato plants at home, it’s important to choose the types that best suit the gardening environment you will provide. Let’s look at vining vs bush tomato to see what suits your garden so that you can choose the right type for you.

Vining Vs Bush Tomatoes – The Differences

vining vs bush tomatoes graphic

There are two major types of tomatoes, the vining tomatoes, and the bush tomatoes. They are differentiated according to their yield, frequency, and plant size.

·      How to Differentiate by Appearance

You should be able to differentiate between vine and bush tomatoes just by looking at how their shoots form.

In bush tomatoes, the shoot stops growing when the plant bears flowers at the tip of the branches. While in the vine tomatoes, the shoots continue to grow till there is frost, even when the flowers form at the sides of the shoots.

·      Botanical Characteristics of Vining And Bush Tomatoes

Bush tomatoes are also called determinate tomatoes as they have a determined height to which they grow, and vine tomatoes are termed indeterminate tomatoes simply because they don’t have a determined height to which they grow.

The vining tomatoes can grow to heights between 6 and 20 feet, while the bush tomatoes stay short, about 3-4 feet tall.

Bush tomatoes bear flowers and fruits at the tips of the plant’s branches, while vining tomatoes grow flowers and fruits at different places on the branches.

Bush tomatoes ripe earlier than the vining tomatoes during the season.

The biggest difference between both varieties of tomatoes is that the bush variety of tomatoes produces fruit at one time of the year. While the vining tomatoes continue to bear fruit all through the season, till the plant stops growing after a frost.

This can be a main consideration when you choose your tomato types. If you wish to make sauces and ketchup, bush tomato is the right variety to grow as it yields a large batch of tomatoes all at once. But if you wish to enjoy fresh tomatoes in salads and sandwiches daily, vining tomatoes is the right variety as they continue to bear fruit throughout the season.

·      Differences Between Bush and Vining Tomatoes

Vining TomatoesBush Tomatoes
Need a lot of room to growGrow well in smaller spaces, pots, and containers
Need support and skatingNeed cages to support the plant
Produce smaller batches of fruit, but all through the seasonOne large harvest
Can be as small as cherry tomatoes and as big as extra-long tomatoesMedium to small
Juicy with a greater number of seedsDenser flesh with fewer seeds
Thin skinThicker skin
Best used when freshBest for sauces and canning

Bush Tomatoes – The Advantages

more bush tomatoes

Here are some reasons why you should consider bush tomatoes:

  • Small space: If you don’t have a large garden or a big place to grow tomatoes, then bush tomato is the right plant for you. They can be easily grown in pots on a patio or balcony. Bush tomatoes stay small and compact in tight spaces, while the vining plants need more space to climb high. There are even dwarf varieties of bush tomatoes available, that you can grow in smaller pots.
  • Less care and maintenance: Most of the bush varieties are pest resistant, and you do not need to care for them very much. Unlike the vining tomatoes, bush varieties grow on their own and do not need to be tied up, and require lesser pruning.
  • An early harvest: Bush tomatoes usually mature fruits earlier in the season, while the vining tomatoes ripen fruits quite late. This way, you could enjoy fresh tomatoes earlier in the summer, and fewer or no fruits are left on the plant when the frost comes.
  • A large batch of tomatoes in a single go: Bush tomatoes produce abundant tomatoes at one time of the year. They produce fruit in a shorter period of time, and you can use this fruit to make sauces, salsa, and other preserving dishes or can.

Here are some popular varieties of bush tomatoes:

  • Amelia
  • Top Gun
  • Roma VF
  • Early Wonder
  • Sophie’s Choice
  • Baby Cakes
  • Margherita
  • Bush Champion
  • Grandaddy
  • Orange Pixie
  • Shady Lady
  • New Yorker
  • Marglobe
  • Beefsteak
  • Celebrity
  • Patio Plum
  • Banana legs

Vining Tomatoes – The Advantages

vining tomatoes

Here are some reasons why you may prefer vining tomatoes over the bush varieties:

  • Lesser space per plant: By growing the tomato plants vertically, there will be more space to cultivate other types of vegetables, as the plants can be grown upwards vertically. This way, the harvest is increased without increasing the overall size of the garden.
  • Easy to harvest: As these tomatoes grow in vines and the tomatoes hang high, you can easily harvest them without the need to bend over and pick the fruit.
  • Healthier fruit: When the plants are tied to poles and supports, they have better air circulation. Furthermore, there is a lesser risk of exposure to dirt, fungal diseases, bacteria, four-footed pests, and insects.
  • Longer production time: The bush varieties produce tomatoes just once, while the vining tomatoes remain fruitful throughout the seasons. Bush varieties reach a certain height and then produce flowers and fruit. After that, the plant becomes useless for this reason. While the vining varieties continually produce fruits for a long time.
  • The garden is tidy and accessible: The vining tomatoes can be tied neatly to poles and trellises, so one can walk easily and safely through the garden. No tomato plants obstruct the way and no ripen tomatoes get squashed under the feet.

Here are some of the most popular vining tomato varieties:

  • Goliath
  • Big Bee
  • Abraham Lincoln
  • Matt’s Wild Cherry
  • Manapal
  • Amish Paste
  • Clint Eastwood Rowdy Red
  • Ananas Noire
  • Brandywine
  • Christmas Grapes
  • Giant Paste
  • Julia Child
  • Green Grape
  • Northern Lights
  • Ceylon
  • Beefsteak Rainbow Mix
  • Golden Queen
  • Red Calabash
  • Arkansas Traveler

Which Tomato Variety Is Right for Your Garden?


If you need a large harvest of tomatoes in a very short time, then growing bush tomatoes is the thing you should do. If you are growing tomatoes for commercial purposes, to preserve them, make sauces and canned tomatoes, then bush tomatoes are right for you.

On the other hand, if you would like fresh tomatoes for salads and sandwiches for many months, then vining tomatoes would be suitable. You may start getting ripe tomatoes in June and continue getting them till the first frost of the season.

If you have a lot of horizontal space, but less vertical space, then consider growing bush tomatoes. While the garden is small, but you can grow the plants upwards on poles, then growing vining tomatoes would be more suitable. If you wish to fill the patio and balcony space with something fruitful, then grow bush tomatoes in pots and containers.

Wrapping Up

If you would like a yield of fresh home-grown tomatoes for salads, sauces, sandwiches, soups, and all different dishes? Look at your garden and determine which type of tomatoes would suit your garden spaces and select some of the top varieties that are listed here.

But if you have a garden as well as an empty balcony or patio, then why not try out both types of tomatoes? Now that you are aware of vining vs bush tomatoes, you can choose what is best for your garden and get started on your homegrown fresh tomatoes.