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Tomato selection guide

Black tomato 'Indigo Rose' from Suttons

The most exciting thing about growing your own tomato plants is the sheer number of incredible varieties on offer. From tiny cherries though to plums, salad tomatoes and giant beefsteaks, the choice is huge. To help you decide, we’ve listed some of our customers’ favourites based on performance, flavour and ease of growing. If you’re looking for a reliable new tomato variety to grow in your garden or allotment this year, take a look through these lists for inspiration…

Best tomatoes for outdoor growing

Beefsteak tomatoes produce huge fruit that look fantastic on the vine
Image: Tomato Grafted ‘Buffalo Trio’ from Suttons

You don’t need a greenhouse to grow tomatoes; many varieties have been specially bred to grow outdoors in the UK. Here are some of the most popular top performers:

  • Tomato ‘Gardeners Delight’ is a reliable favourite and an AGM winner. A cordon variety, these plants need good, strong support and pinching out as they grow. Suitable for containers or garden beds, enjoy long trusses of tiny, sweet, red cherry fruits.
  • Tomato ‘F1 Honeycomb’ rocketed to the very top of our own taste tests. This yellow cherry tomato crops through the summer from June into autumn. Available as a grafted plant, it benefits from improved disease resistance and vigour, but if you prefer to sow your own, ‘F1 Honeycomb’ seeds are available too.
  • Tomato ‘F1 Crimson Crush’ produces larger fruit weighing up to 200g that ripen well outdoors. This cordon variety has very good blight resistance, so is a great choice for affected gardens.
  • Tomato ‘Crimson Blush’ is a beefsteak that has been bred with the UK climate in mind and will crop from June to September. Start this blight-resistant variety as a grafted plant for extra vigour. 
  • Tomato ‘F1 Lizzano’ is a heavy-yielding bush variety that thrives in a large patio container or in a sheltered bed. Grafted plants give you a good head start in the growing season, but you can enjoy sowing your own ‘F1 Lizzano’ seeds too. 

Best tomatoes for greenhouse growing

Dark red cherry tomato 'Rosella' from Suttons on vine
‘Rosella’ produces prolific crops of dark red, cherry-sized fruit with a unique ‘smoky’ flavour
Image: Tomato Seeds ‘Rosella’ from Suttons

Large, slow-ripening beefsteaks and heavy-cropping cordon varieties are best grown in the greenhouse where they use the extra warmth to ripen more quickly and are protected from strong wind. Here are our favourite tomatoes for greenhouse growing:

  • Tomato ‘Rosella’ ripens to a dark red colour when grown in a greenhouse. The high antioxidant content makes this an especially healthy variety, and the fruits contain fewer seeds than usual, so they’re perfect for eating fresh from the vine. Sowing to harvest takes between 17 and 19 weeks.
  • Tomato ‘F1 Brandy Boy’ is an improved version of the heritage beefsteak ‘Brandywine’, producing huge fruits with the same rich flavour. As a cordon variety, your plants will need to be supported. 
  • Tomato ‘Costoluto Fiorentino’ is a deeply ribbed classic Italian beefsteak variety, producing highly attractive fruit that can swell to 10cm across. Delicious when simply sliced, but roasting brings out an exceptional flavour. 

Best tomatoes for hanging baskets

Hanging basket tomato 'Hundreds and Thousands' variety from Suttons growing vertically
Dwarf varieties like ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ save space when grown in hanging baskets
Image: Tomato ‘Hundreds and Thousands’ from Suttons

You don’t need a huge amount of space to grow your own tomatoes. Special dwarf varieties grow beautifully in hanging baskets or window boxes. Here are our top picks:

  • Tomato F1 ‘Firecracker’ naturally cascades over the edges of a hanging basket. The yellow and red striped fruits reach weights of 30 to 35g, and you can expect to harvest 60 to 80 from one plant in a season. This bush variety requires no pinching out or special treatment. 
  • Tomato ‘Tumbling Tom Red’ is a high-yielding bush variety that requires no support and little maintenance. The orangey/red fruits are delicious and are ready to harvest 16 to 18 weeks after you sow your seeds. 
  • Tomato ‘Tumbling Bella’ is a new and improved British bred version of the popular ‘Tumbler’. Plant up a basket with jumbo plugs after the risk of frost has passed in late spring. The fruit is very tasty and crack resistant, perfect for patio snacking.

Best grafted tomato varieties

Grafted plants show improved vigour and better disease resistance 
Image: Tomato Grafted ‘Cocktail Crush’ from Suttons

Grafted plants have a strong root system that improves the vigour and disease-resistance of the above ground growth. Here are our top varieties available as grafted plants:

  • Tomato ‘Shimmer’ produces fruit that are between a cherry and a plum in size. The skins have a shimmery pattern of green, yellow and red which make this a perfect salad tomato. Specially bred for high nutritional value, the plants have excellent resilience to late blight.
  • Tomato ‘Crimson Plum’ is an unbeatable roma-style plum with solid meaty flesh, few seeds and a rich, deep flavour. This variety is also the first completely blight-resistant plum tomato available!
  • Tomato ‘Moneymaker’ is a classic variety that gets a boost as a grafted plant. A favourite with commercial growers for its regular round fruit and attractive colour, it’s a great multipurpose tomato for eating raw and cooking into soups and sauces. Benefits from good resilience to greenback disease.

Best disease resistant tomatoes

Yellow tomato 'Sungold' variety from Suttons on vine
Tomato ‘Sungold’ shows good resistance to tobacco mosaic virus and fusarium wilt
Image: Floramedia

Disease resistant tomatoes can be easier to keep healthy, and are an excellent choice if you live in an area prone to potato/tomato blight. Here are our top picks:

  • Tomato ‘Crimson Collection’ contains four blight-resistant varieties including a plum, cherry, beefsteak and salad tomato. Bread for exceptional flavour, these great value plants crop heavily. 
  • Tomato ‘Rubylicious’ is a new blight-resistant cherry tomato. Each truss carries 12 orangey-red cherry fruits with excellent sweet tangy flavour. Reaching up to 200cm height, this cordon variety is a good one to stake in containers on a sunny patio or grow in the greenhouse with twine.
  • Tomato ‘Bellandine’ is a large plum with good all-round disease resistance including blossom end rot. This variety is also known as the ‘Horn of the Andes’ because of its heritage breeding and unique long shape. Best grown in a greenhouse, the large fleshy fruits have few seeds and reach a length of 18cm, ideal for sauces or slicing onto pizza.

Best tomato varieties for unusual fruit

Striped yellow and red tomato 'Striped Stuffer' from Suttons
Tomatoes come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colours 
Image: Tomato ‘Striped Stuffer’ from Suttons
  • Tomato Artisan™ Bumble Bee Mix produces attractive cherry sized fruits in a mixture of purple striped with green; pink with yellow colouration; and yellow with orange stripes. The large yields of flavoursome fruit are crack-resistant too. 
  • Tomato ‘Green Zebra’ boasts unique fruits that turn green with yellow stripes when they’re fully ripe. The 5-7cm tomatoes weigh up to 100g and are ideal for slicing into wedges in a salad or making wonderful tasting tomato soup.
  • Tomato ‘Indigo Rose’ is known as ‘the black tomato’ and contains the same amount of antioxidants as a blueberry. The glossy, black-skinned fruits look fantastic, and can be grown in a greenhouse or outdoors.
  • Tomato ‘Noir De Crimee’ is a beefsteak with lovely multi-coloured fruit with dark red, purple, chocolate and green coloured tones. A very tasty heritage variety originating on the Isle of Krim in the Black Sea. It does well in our mild climate, so is a good choice for outdoor growing. 

We hope this has provided you with plenty of inspiration. To find out how to start your tomatoes from seed, read our helpful article. And if you’re looking for tips and tricks to improve your harvest, our Best expert advice on how to grow tomatoes is a good place to start. Share your harvest with us on Twitter or Instagram.

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