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Tomato Crop Guide: Growth patterns

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Tomato cultivars may be classified into three groups by their growth patterns, which are recognized by the arrangement and the frequency of leaves and the inflorescence on the stem.


a) Indeterminate growth – the main and side stems continue their growth in a continuous pattern. The number of leaves between inflorescence is more or less constant, starting from a specific flowering set (Fig. 1a). Cultivars of indeterminate growth are usually grown as greenhouse or staked tomatoes.


b) Determinate growth – the main and side stems stop growth after a specific number of inflorescences that varies with the specific cultivar (Fig. 1b). Processing tomatoes are often belong to determinate cultivars.


c) Semi-determinate growth - branches stop growth with an inflorescence, but this usually occurs at an advanced growth stage. Cultivars of this group are usually grown as out-door, non-staked tomatoes.

Table 1: Number of leaves between inflorescence in different growth patterns.

No. of leaves before inflorescence




1st inflorescence



2nd inflorescence



 Figure 1a: Indeterminate type of tomato growth  Figure 1b: Determinate type of tomato growth
Need more information about growing tomatoes? You can always return to the tomato fertilizer & tomato crop guide table of contents
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