I bought a potted tomato plant

by Laura
(Newfoundland, Canada)

I'm searching the internet for some help on how to ensure my tomato plant gets the most life it deserves. I bought a plant that was already potted, simply because green tomatoes were already growing on it. It was ten dollars, and I figured if anything happened, it was worth the money. I keep the plant in the window of my living room. I water it daily with very little water. The tomatoes are now turning red. I am wondering if the plant dies after it produced tomatoes or if it is a plant I can keep and will continue to grow. I am reading things about cutting stems off that are not producing tomatoes. I don't want to rush into this and kill the plant. The info I am finding online is more about planting seeds and growing the tomato. I am not sure of the type of tomato or anything. Any advice would be much appreciated!

Tomato Dirt responds ...
Indeterminate tomato varieties are those types of tomatoes which produce fruit throughout the season, often until frost. Indeterminates never sets terminal flower clusters, but only lateral ones, and continue indefinitely to grow taller. If your tomato plant is an indeterminate, it will continue to grow more branches. You will need to re-pot it and even set it out in the garden once temperatures warm. (Get re-potting info here.)

Determinate tomatoes, on the other hand, produce fruit for a couple of weeks and then production fades out. That’s because determinate tomatoes eventually form a flower cluster at the terminal growing point, which causes them to stop growing in height.

In reputable garden centers, tomato plants are labeled by variety. Once you know the variety, you can determine if the plant is indeterminate or determinate. (Read more about different tomato varieties.)

Generally determinates do best in containers since they do not get too big to manage. Nevertheless, you will likely need to move a growing plant to a large pot -- at least 5 gallons -- unless it's a miniature variety.

There is a case to be made for pruning tomatoes if you want to produce earlier fruit or larger fruit. In your situation, we don't see a strong reason to prune.

Inquire at the nursery where you purchased the plant to find out the tomato variety. Then you'll know if it's a determinate or indeterminate -- and subsequently, how large it will get.

Good luck and happy gardening!
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