Tomato – How to Know if It is Determinate or Indeterminate

Q: I planted a ‘Celebrity’ tomato. The label says it is a determinate type. But mine already has six vigorous stems and doesn’t look determinate to me. I thought I’d have more of a bushy type plant.

A: I once saw a toddler at a garden center pull labels from pots to make a “collection”. I then observed the harried mother take the labels, put them back in random pots, and hurry the kid away. So even though the label says ‘Celebrity’, that might not actually be the tomato you have.

‘Celebrity, is the most popular determinate tomato variety but it more correctly is “semi-determinate”. Shoots of semi-determinates produce several flower clusters to the side of an apparent main stem, like indeterminates, but eventually the shoot terminates in a flower cluster, as in other determinate plants.

Watch your plants for a week or so and note where the flowers form. On a determinate tomato, flowers typically occur at the ends of branches and will all be about the same size at the same time. An indeterminate variety will have flowers in various stages of maturity, some having small fruit and some not.

Here is a good article on how to figure out if a tomato is actually determinate or indeterminate.