When I started gardening, I was overwhelmed by the thousands of different seed varieties in each catalog. I only wanted a quick reward of juicy tomatoes for snacks and burgers. But I knew I wanted to start from seed. After six years of gardening and commercial organic farming, I finally cracked the code to the easiest tomatoes you can grow from seed in any climate.
Let’s dig into 11 beginner-friendly varieties for rapid, low-maintenance growth in containers or raised garden beds.
What Are the Easiest Tomatoes to Grow from Seed?
Cherry tomatoes are the easiest to grow from seed, especially hybrid determinate bush varieties.
The easiest tomatoes to grow from seed are cherry tomatoes, with high germination rates, rapid growth, and disease-resistant traits. Generally, hybrid determinate bush varieties are the easiest for beginner gardeners because they mature quickly and don’t require much pruning or staking.
When looking for an easy-to-grow tomato, look for:
High Germination Rate
Viable seeds offer 95-100% germination, meaning almost all seeds you plant will emerge under the right conditions. Fresh seeds (i.e. purchased this year) have higher germination rates than older packets. Consistent warmth and moisture after planting will ensure that most of your tomatoes sprout.
Some tomatoes emerge in as little as five days, while others take up to two weeks. We chose seeds that emerge as quickly as possible for the impatient beginner!
Due to a phenomenon called hybrid vigor, hybrid varieties tend to grow the fastest. This is because the parents with the best traits are crossed together for ultra-vigorous offspring. Hybrid cultivars are the easiest for beginner gardeners, while heirlooms may be more difficult due to longer growth times and vulnerability to more pests or diseases.
Days to Maturity
At 50 to 65 days to maturity, cherry tomatoes are typically ready to harvest much more quickly than large slicer tomatoes. If you are impatient or nervous about growing from seed, choose a small-fruited tomato variety to start with.
Easy to Prune and Stake
Determinate (bush) varieties are easier for novice growers because they require little to no pruning and can be grown with a simple tomato cage. If you are up for a little more maintenance, indeterminate (vining) cultivars can be pruned and trained up a stake or trellis.
If you want the easiest possible tomato-growing experience, start with seeds that are genetically resistant to major tomato diseases. Plant breeding involves crossing certain parent types together to develop offspring seeds that are resistant to major diseases. These varieties are completely non-GMO. They have been naturally selected for traits that make them more resilient and easy to grow for beginners!
11 Easy Tomato Varieties to Grow from Seed
By most definitions, easy gardening means you sow seeds, water them, and they produce delicious food with minimal effort. These tomato varieties check all the boxes for laidback production with low maintenance. As long as you provide consistent moisture, warm temperatures, and full sunlight, these seeds will sprout and flourish in no time!
‘Gardener’s Delight’ Cherry Tomato
These cherry tomatoes are a tasty, fast-maturing heirloom variety with good yield potential.
For a summer of sweet delights ready to pop right in your mouth, ‘Gardener’s Delight’ won’t disappoint. This is the perfect fast-maturing cherry tomato that is extra flavorful and lowkey in the garden.
As a 1950s German heirloom, ‘Gardener’s Delight’ has withstood the tests of time and weather in American gardens. While it may not have the impressive disease-resistance package of a hybrid type, it grows and yields quickly enough to satisfy any beginner.
Our Botanical Interests community reports as high as 100% germination from over 70 seeds in a single packet! The seeds germinate quickly within 5-10 days under the right moisture and warmth conditions.
For the best results, start indoors in seed trays 4 to 6 weeks before your last frost and use a soil thermometer to ensure your soil mix is 70-90°F. If your home or nursery is a bit cooler, place a heating mat under the seed trays to encourage rapid emergence. Sow seeds at a depth of ⅛” in a well-drained seed starting mix.
Transplant seedlings when the air temperature is reliably above 45°F, and your garden soil is at least 60°F. Provide a stake, such as a T-post or a tomato trellis, for the long vines to ramble up. You can expect bright red sun-ripened cherries within 65 days of sowing.
‘Supersweet 100’ F1 Cherry Tomato
These easy-to-grow cherry tomatoes are disease-resistant, indeterminate plants that require warm soil for rapid germination.
This classic cherry tomato produces massive clusters of mini fruits all summer long. The prolific plants are remarkably easy to grow— they practically grow themselves! ‘Supersweet 100’ is an F1 hybrid, meaning it is extra vigorous and bred for resistance to diseases like Fusarium wilt and Verticillium wilt.
It is indeterminate, meaning the vines need support like a stake, cage, or A-frame trellis. The seeds germinate rapidly in soils around 85°F and especially appreciate a heating mat when started indoors.
The key to happy plants is to avoid starting too early. Sow 5-6 weeks before you plan to transplant and maintain consistent moisture. Transplant ‘Supersweet 100’ seedlings deeply to encourage roots to form along the stems. Within 60 days, you can start harvesting decadent red fruits!
This variety will yield prolifically all summer if it gets a nice addition of all-purpose fertilizer and consistent moisture throughout the season. Full sunlight is a must to prevent plants from becoming spindly or leggy.
‘Red Pride’ Bush Tomato
‘Red Pride’ tomatoes are a disease-resistant, compact, determinate variety that yields 10-ounce slicer fruits.
This award-winning tomato is amazingly compact yet yields a bountiful harvest of 10-ounce 3”-diameter slicer fruits. ‘Red Pride’ seeds are bred with superb disease resistance, including natural resilience against Alternaria stem canker, Fusarium wilt, and gray leaf spot. This easy-to-grow tomato is a determinate bush variety that requires little more than a tomato cage, regular watering, and plenty of sunlight.
Sow the seeds indoors 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting, usually 1 to 2 weeks after your last frost date in the spring. Plant about ¼” deep and water consistently until they emerge in 5-10 days. Provide a heating mat for faster, more even germination.
Our community reports highly successful germination both indoors and out! If you live in a mild climate, you can sow seeds directly in the garden once temperatures are consistently above 50°F.
‘Sun Gold’ Pole Cherry Tomato
They’re disease-resistant, perfect for fresh eating, and benefit from strong support and occasional pruning.
The iconic ‘Sun Gold’ cherry has superior sweetness and a bright orange color unmatched by any other tomato in the garden. This is my personal favorite and the most successful plant I grew in my early years of gardening. ‘Sun Gold’ plants practically grow themselves and start yielding just 57 days from transplanting. You can pull golden summer drops from the vines through the first frosts of autumn.
This variety is disease-resistant and produces low-acid fruits perfect for fresh eating. The seeds germinate rapidly and easily in warm, moist conditions with bright light. I’ve started them indoors in 4” pots by a south-facing windowsill with great results.
When you transplant in the garden, strong support is needed for the vigorous vines. A T-post trellis is great for training the vines, especially if you’re willing to do a little pruning to choose just one or two “leader” vines. Removing the side shoots (“suckers”) will dramatically improve yields, but it is not essential.
These fruits are rare in grocery stores, making them even more desirable in the garden. Be sure the plants have 6-8 hours of direct sunlight and well-drained loamy soil. If you can, cut slightly back on watering when they begin fruiting, and you will harvest the sweetest golden cherries you’ve ever tasted!
‘Italian Roma’ Bush Tomato
This is an easy-to-grow, determinate sauce tomato that yields large quantities of oblong fruits.
If you love canning or making pasta sauce, you don’t want to miss this easy-to-grow Italian classic. A beginner-friendly determinate sauce tomato, ‘Italian Roma’ is one of those heirlooms that behaves like a hybrid. The compact vines are seriously productive and yield huge quantities of 3” oblong fruits that ripen all around the same time.
I love ‘Italian Roma’ because it requires little to no maintenance. If you are overwhelmed by tomato pruning, you’ll be excited to see how these plants take care of themselves with a simple tomato cage. If you have time, a little bit of sucker removal will improve airflow and signal the plant to channel more energy to its fruits.
At 80 days to maturity, this variety takes a little longer to grow than others on this list. However, the seeds provide quick, easy germination, and the plants seem to double in size every week. Avoid fertilizing with high-nitrogen fertilizer that may cause an overgrowth of foliage development. Instead, feed with a slow-release all-purpose fertilizer like Espoma Tomato-Tone Organic Plant Food.
‘Mountain Merit’ Bush Tomato
‘Mountain Merit’ is a beginner-friendly, compact, determinate beefsteak tomato with superb disease resistance.
Patio and container gardeners take note! This is one of the only beefsteak-type tomatoes I’d recommend for beginners. ‘Mountain Merit’ has earned its merits by growing compact, vigorous plants that yield delicious slicer tomatoes with a classic flavor. It is an All-American Selections Heartland winner for its superb disease resistance and production. It can even withstand root-knot nematodes and late blight!
‘Mountain Merit’ is a determinate type perfect for containers or small garden beds. It keeps a tidy growth habit and behaves well in a simple tomato cage with little pruning. The 8-10 ounce slicing tomatoes ripen around the same time, perfect for a big summer barbeque, freezing, or preserving.
For easier planting, these seeds are covered with an inert organic coating that makes them more visible in the soil. It’s best to start indoors in cell trays or 4” pots under grow lights or in a bright south-facing window. Sow them ¼” deep in warm, well-drained soil that is at least 70°F. Wait 5-10 days from germination and transplant in the garden about two weeks after your last frost. Expect delicious BLT-ready tomatoes around 75 days after transplanting.
‘Moneymaker’ Pole Tomato
It thrives in humid summers, and you can direct-sow its small seeds 1-2 weeks after the last frost for a bountiful harvest.
‘Moneymaker’ is a high-yielding favorite among southern growers with humid, scorching summers. It got its name because of its popularity amongst commercial growers in the 60s. The heavy yields of medium-sized fruits appear 75-80 days after planting and continue to yield all summer. This indeterminate pole tomato is one of the easiest to grow from seed and enjoys a supportive trellis and light pruning to encourage lots of energy toward the globe-shaped fruits.
The small seeds can be directly sown 1 to 2 weeks after your average frost date. Plant about ⅛” deep in rows 36” apart with 24-36” between plants. Consistent moisture and loamy, compost-rich soil ensure thriving fast growth. Night temperatures between 55° and 75°F are ideal for optimal fruit sets.
‘Patio Choice’ Yellow Bush Cherry Tomato
‘Patio Choice’ is a quick-growing, disease-resistant yellow cherry tomato, perfect for containers.
Another great option for container gardeners, ‘Patio Choice,’ is a unique yellow cherry tomato that performs excellently in a pot. It grows so quickly that you can start harvesting fruits in as little as 45 days after planting! The compact, bushy plants produce an abundance of sweet half-ounce cherry tomatoes in a very small space. The eye-catching yellow color looks beautiful in salads or salsas.
‘Patio Choice’ is an All American Selections award winner with superior disease resistance, including resilience to the dreadful tobacco mosaic virus! Southern growers will be happy to know that this plant performs well in high heat and humidity. They only ask for 18-24” of space or a medium-sized (5 gal+) container with a tomato cage.
Ensure the soil temperature is around 80°F for optimal germination. Whether sowing indoors or out, I like to check my soil temperature with a soil thermometer before planting. Sow seeds 1⁄8” deep and lightly cover with a thin layer of vermiculite or soil mix. ‘Patio Choice’ enjoys consistent moist but never soggy soil. Plants growing in the ground become slightly more drought-tolerant once established. Container plants need continuous irrigation throughout the summer.
‘Cherry Falls’ Bush Cherry Tomato
‘Cherry Falls’ is a versatile and decorative bush cherry that can be grown in pots or hanging baskets.
This easy-going bush cherry is functional and aesthetic. You can grow ‘Cherry Falls’ in pots or hanging baskets. The vines will droop over the sides with dazzling clusters of bright red tomatoes with plenty of ornamental value. But that doesn’t mean this variety is lacking in flavor. The fruits aren’t as easy as ‘Sun Gold,’ but they make a nice rainbow of color when mixed with their orange cousins and ‘Patio Yellow’ cherries.
‘Cherry Falls’ matures just 55-65 days after planting and performs well with a simple trellis or cage. The determinate vines grow around 18” long yet retain their bushy habit. The seeds germinate evenly and quickly in a well-drained soil blend with even moisture and full sunlight.
‘Early Girl’ F1 Tomato
This tomato is a drought-tolerant, disease-resistant hybrid that ripens quickly, making it ideal for beginners.
An iconic hybrid, ‘Early Girl’ is often the first slicer tomato to ripen in late spring or early summer. This variety is ultra drought tolerant and resistant to blossom end-rot as well as several types of wilt.
‘Early Girl’ vines are very vigorous even in low moisture conditions, making this perfect for beginner gardeners who occasionally forget to water. The plants yield in as little as 60 days, and the fruits have a meaty texture with a balanced flavor.
While ‘Early Girl’ fruits extra-early in the season, that doesn’t mean you should start the plants too early. If starting seeds indoors, wait to sow until 4-5 weeks before your expected last frost date. Lightly cover the seeds and keep the mix at 75-85°F with bright, direct light. I always supplement with a grow light when starting these on a windowsill because spring weather can be fairly gray in northern zones.
Transplant out when the risk of frost has passed and use a row cover to protect young plants from nighttime temperature fluctuations. I keep the row fabric on my ‘Early Girls’ until they start flowering, at which time it must be removed to allow proper pollination.
‘Glacier’ Bush Tomato
‘Glacier’ is a great choice for cold-weather gardeners as it’s among the first and last tomatoes of the season.
For cold-weather gardeners, ‘Glacier’ is an essential seed for your annual tomato repertoire. This compact plant will be one of your first ripe tomatoes in the summer and among the last in the fall. The 30” vines reliably set fruit in cooler temperatures and tolerate a bit more cold than other varieties. Still, ‘Glacier’ needs at least 60 days of frost-free weather to set fruit properly.
Seeds can be sown at a 1⁄4” depth for 4 to 6 weeks before transplanting. Warm soil mix encourages the most, even sprouting within 5-7 days. Transplant to containers or outdoor beds when the weather is settled, about two weeks after your last frost date. These semi-determinate plants enjoy tomato cage support.
The leaves are “potato-leaf’ style, which distinguishes them from many other types. While they tolerate some cold, I still like to use row covers on early plants to encourage faster growth. Round 2 to 3-ounce fruits will begin forming within 55 days of planting.
Frequently Asked Questions
Hybrid cherry tomatoes like ‘Sun Gold’ or reliable heirlooms like ‘Gardener’s Delight’ are extremely easy to grow from seed and produce quick rewards in as little as 55 days after planting. These ultra-vigorous plants are beginner-friendly and disease-resistant. The key to happy tomatoes is warm soil (use a soil thermometer to check it is at least 70°F), consistently moist (never soggy) soil, and at least 6-8 hours of bright sunlight.
‘Glacier’ and ‘Early Girl’ are the most popular and fast-growing slicer tomatoes for beginners. They tolerate a bit more neglect and thrive with little more than warm weather, consistent moisture, and bright sunlight. Both plants will reliably yield with little pruning and a generous helping of slow-release, all-purpose fertilizer.
The most beginner-friendly tomatoes are time-trusted heirlooms or well-bred hybrids. Cherry and determinate (bush) types are usually the easiest to care for because they yield quickly and don’t require much staking or pruning.
For a simplified gardening season, look for varieties with short days to maturity, adaptation to your region, and a nice disease-resistance package to minimize your garden headaches. For the best germination and growth, don’t forget to start tomato seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before planting in soils at least 70°F.