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Potato Leaf or Regular Leaf Tomato Varieties Plants, which is Best?

I inherited my love of gardening from my mother and grandmother. I am a garden blogger, freelance writer, and Master Gardener emeritus.

On the left, regular leaf and on the right, potato leaf tomato plants

On the left, regular leaf and on the right, potato leaf tomato plants

Regular Leaf Tomatoes and Potato Leaf Tomatoes

This year I am focusing on a BLT garden. Basil, Lettuce and Tomato garden. I have raised beds and high hopes in zone 6A, a Southeast Missouri garden.

The best tomatoes for a northwest or southern garden might or might not be successful in my southeast Missouri garden.

We can all get commercially grown Celebrity, Big Boys and Early Girls. I've grown buckets full of Celebrity tomatoes in years past. But, these days, the history and stories behind heirlooms, win me over as I read through seed catalogs in the winter. Like this one from the Baker Creek catalog:

Granny Cantrell German Red Tomato. This meaty beefsteak-type tomato is named after Lettie Cantrell, who received seeds from a soldier returning from Germany during World War II. She grew this tomato in the hills of eastern Kentucky for many years. This was her favorite tomato and the only one she grew. Each year she saved seeds from the largest tomatoes, some of which reached 2 1/2 lbs.

I just like that story and I wanted to grow a big red tomato. So, I ordered a Granny Cantrell tomato plant from Missouri grower, Abundant Acres. You can also get seed from Baker Creek.. Granny Cantrell tomato is listed as 90 days, indet., regular leaf plant.

Big Red Beefsteak Type Tomato

Find lots of tomato plants that will produce juicy red one pound tmatoes, including Granny Cantrell.

Find lots of tomato plants that will produce juicy red one pound tmatoes, including Granny Cantrell.

Fuzzy tomato?

Regular Leaf and Potato Leaf Tomatoes

Regular tomato leaves are the ones you most likely recognize as a tomato plant leaf. The leaf is deeply serrated or has an irregular leaf edge.

Potato leaf tomato plants have a smooth leaf edge, or possibly a lightly lobed leaf.

The same tomato plant in my garden and my neighbor’s garden may have larger, thicker or greener leaves. Tomato leaf color comes in all shades of green, dependent on the variety, climate, soil, and nutrients.

Examples of RL varieties might include: Celebrity, Big Boy, Red Brandywine, German Red Strawberry, Omar's Lebanese, Granny Cantrell and Carbon.

Examples of PL varieties are: Prudens Purple, Brandy Boy, Brandywine, Lillian's Yellow Heirloom, Bloody Butcher.

I asked the grower where I buy many of my tomato plants, "What's the difference"?

Randel A. Agrella, owner of Abundant Acres said, “Not everyone recognizes PL types--we once had a shopper tell us that a Brandywine (a PL variety) wasn't even a tomato!”

Angora and Rugose type tomato leaves

Other tomato leaf variation you might find on the label are Angora and Rugose. Angora is a fuzzy, hairy type tomato leaf (and vine). Rugose usually has rough surfaced, dark green tomato leaves.

I grow both PL and RL tomatoes in my garden. Leaf shape is not a deciding factor in choosing my tomato plants. For the past few years, I've been growing heirloom tomatoes. Many heritage tomatoes are potato leaf varieties.

I'll usually find both Angora and Rugose textured leaves in my darden. It makes no difference in tomato plant selection. PL or RL or Angora and Rugose are just curiosities.


Patsy Bell Hobson (author) from zone 6a, SEMO on May 08, 2012:

A dog would be a good solution. Or redirecting them to another food source. Kennel your tomatoes. Put the tomatoes in the cage. I'd like to know what solution you come up with. Raccoons Know the exact best time to harvest your produce. Pick your tomatoes after they get a little color, but before they are ripe. Let them ripen inside.

Iain M. on May 08, 2012:

I love my Brandywines, but have a problem with raccoons. I am also growing in large pots. Any suggestions?

Patsy Bell Hobson (author) from zone 6a, SEMO on February 25, 2012:

What kind of tomatoes do you grow?

Patsy Bell Hobson (author) from zone 6a, SEMO on February 25, 2012:

Tomatoes are the most popular home vegetable. Give it a try.

Patsy Bell Hobson (author) from zone 6a, SEMO on February 25, 2012:

I have been thinking of growing all the Bradywines to compare the flavor.

Patsy Bell Hobson (author) from zone 6a, SEMO on July 10, 2011:

Another devoted Brandywine fan! Does cardboard have DNA? I think they've included that in some of the commercal varieties.

FoodWorks Farm on July 10, 2011:

Patsybell I think you're awesome! I grow tomatoes in raised beds. When I first started I was growing in five gallon buckets. I started off with regular hybrid tomatoes that everybody was growing because I wanted mine to be like everybody else's. Then I learned what was actually being done to produce those tomato seeds and I stopped. Heirloom tomatoes that have not been genetically altered or modifed are the way to go. You would not believe some of the things they mix with vegetable DNA to create hybrid plants. My favorite are Brandywine tomatoes in all shapes sizes and colors!

Patsy Bell Hobson (author) from zone 6a, SEMO on July 09, 2011:

This year I am also growing tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets. You don't even need a garden space to grow tomatoes at home.

JD Barlow from Southeast US on July 08, 2011:

Great informational hub on tomatoes.

Lord Sergell of House Stark from Darwin, Australia on July 08, 2011:

Don't know much anything on tomatoes though. Enjoy growing tomatoes my friend! Take care and Godbless always. :D

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