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Are Roma Tomatoes Open Pollinated

The Roma tomato is one of the most popular tomatoes across the world. It was created in 1955 by a man named William Porte. Roma tomato is a cross between the San Marzano and Red Top tomato varieties, making the Roma tomato a hybrid tomato. They are a unique egg shape and almost a cherry and regular sandwich tomato combination. 

Roma tomatoes are exceptional because they are open-pollinated; however, they are hybrids. Almost all other times open-pollinated tomatoes are heirloom varieties since hybrid tomatoes need to be man made. 

Keep reading to learn more about open pollination and the difference between heirloom and hybrid tomatoes. 

What is the Difference Between Open Pollination, Heirloom, and Hybrid Tomatoes?

There are some key differences between open pollination, heirloom, and hybrid tomatoes. Let’s take a look. 

Open PollinationHeirloomHybrid
Open pollination is pollination
that occurs naturally. Whether it be from a bird, the bees, or the wind, this is how the
plant gets pollinated to produce tomatoes.
All heirloom tomatoes are open pollinated. However, not all open pollinated tomatoes
are heirloom. Like our friend, the Roma tomato. Heirloom tomatoes have been passed down between friends and family for centuries without any change in the tomatoes structure. Heirloom tomatoes are the parents tomatoes.
Hybrid tomatoes are the babies of heirloom tomatoes. To make a hybrid tomato, you need two heirloom tomatoes. It is the combination of pollens from two different tomatoes and essentially
man made. Hybrid tomatoes are made to have a certain flavor, color, grow time, be resistant to
diseases or pests. While they are handy in that sense and easy to grow, there is nothing like the beauty of an heirloom tomato.

What Tomatoes are Open-Pollinated?

All heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated. But that doesn’t mean all open-pollinated tomatoes are heirlooms! But it’s not very common to see hybrid tomatoes that are open-pollinated. Here are some examples of open pollinated tomatoes. Note: these are all heirloom variety tomatoes.

  • Beefsteak 
  • Black Cherry
  • Brandywine
  • Cherokee Purple
  • German Queen

Can You Save Seeds From Open Pollinated Tomatoes?

You can save seeds from open-pollinated tomatoes. You can also save hybrid tomato seeds, but there is a difference. When you save seeds from an open-pollinated tomato, you will know exactly what you get. You will get seeds that will be exactly like that tomato. When you save seeds from a hybrid tomato, the experience will be much different.

There is no way of telling what you will get from saved hybrid tomato seeds. For some gardeners, it can be a fun experiment. For others, they would like to know exactly what they are growing.

Depending on your garden and what you are looking for out of it, it can be a fun experience to grow a mystery tomato. However, by growing something in which you know exactly what it is, you can better prepare for diseases, pests, and trellis/caging. 

What is Better Hybrid Tomatoes or Heirloom Tomatoes?

We have talked about the differences between hybrid tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes. Heirloom tomatoes benefit from being open-pollinated and can grow true from seed, which is very helpful if you want to grow tomatoes from saved seeds.

Heirloom tomatoes also have vibrant flavors and can grow in so many beautiful colors and unique shapes. However, the downside to heirloom tomatoes is that they are more prone to disease and don’t always produce as much as a hybrid tomato. Hybrid tomatoes are created to be disease resistant and ward off pests and produce as much as possible. 

When you think about what to grow in your garden, it depends on what you are going for. If you are looking for something easier and guaranteed to taste good and produce a lot, then hybrid tomatoes are probably better. Heirloom tomatoes can be a bit more of a challenge.

Though, if you are selling tomatoes, having heirloom tomatoes is a great mix to have for sale since they really stand out and look beautiful. Everyone has different opinions on which is better, and at the end of the day, it will always be a personal choice. Try both and see what you like! 

What Are Determinate and Indeterminate Tomatoes?

Indeterminate tomatoes are tomatoes that shoot out flowers and sprout fruit until the weather is not favorable anymore. These tomatoes will be done at all different times but produce for a long while. Most heirloom tomatoes are indeterminate.

Determinate tomatoes flower and fruit simultaneously and only do once, growing only until this certain point, and then the plant’s life will be over. Although open-pollinated, Roma tomatoes are still hybrid tomatoes, and they are considered determinate tomatoes.

Determinate tomatoes are great for canning and making large batches of sauces, etc. You can get your whole harvest in at once. 

Final Thoughts

Roma tomatoes are unique tomatoes in that they are hybrid tomatoes (man made created from two heirloom tomatoes), but they are still open-pollinated. You can save their seeds, and you are guaranteed to get Roma tomatoes from that seed.

Unlike other hybrid tomatoes, where you can’t save their seeds and expect to get that specific tomato. Usually, only heirloom tomatoes are open-pollinated. There is no right or wrong in growing heirloom or hybrid variety tomatoes; you should grow whatever you think sounds and looks the best!