Can You Plant Different Varieties of Tomatoes Together?

With such wide varieties of tomatoes available to home gardeners, you may want to try out a few different varieties each season. Each variety has special characteristics, and some varieties require less care than others. However, when growing different varieties of tomatoes together, you’ll have to take care not to let them cross-pollinate. 

You can grow different varieties of tomatoes together as long as you don’t plan on using the seeds next season. Growing different varieties of tomatoes close together won’t affect the current season’s fruit. However, if you save the seeds for next season’s crop, you’ll likely get hybrid plants. 

This article will look at whether growing different varieties of tomatoes close together will have any negative effects on the plants. It will also look at different ways to prevent different tomato varieties from cross-pollinating. I’ll also give you some spacing tips when growing different tomato varieties. 

Can Different Varieties of Tomatoes Grow Side by Side?

When it comes to growing different varieties of a certain plant together, you’ll have to look at the purpose of growing them. If you plan to experiment with different varieties to create a new hybrid, then you’ll need to plant different varieties together. Otherwise, you’ll have to worry about cross-pollination and hybrid seeds

Different varieties of tomatoes can grow together without any issue. However, there is a chance that the plants will cross-pollinate, producing hybrid seeds that may affect future crops. If you plan on saving seeds from your tomatoes, avoid planting different tomatoes together. 

Tomatoes are self-pollinating and don’t need to be grown together to produce healthy fruit. However, all tomatoes are also able to cross-pollinate with each other through bees, insects, and even wind pollination.

Professional growers are very careful not to plant different varieties of tomatoes in the same fields since the hybrids can destroy the original variety’s gene pool over a few seasons. However, if you don’t plan on saving the seeds from your plants, then there’s no harm in planting multiple varieties in the same field. 

How Can You Prevent Tomato Varieties From Cross-Pollinating? 

Tomato plants don’t need to grow around other plants to pollinate since they are self-pollinating. However, if you grow them close enough with other varieties, they will most likely cross-pollinate naturally. It’s important to know how to prevent this from happening.

To prevent tomatoes from cross-pollinating, use a mesh bag to block flower clusters. You can also plant different varieties far apart or plant different varieties in different seasons. If you’re planting tomatoes together with similar blossoming times, the best method is to use mesh bags. 

Here are some ways to keep different varieties of tomatoes from cross-pollinating: 

Don’t Plant Different Varieties Together

The best way to prevent cross-pollination is to avoid planting different varieties in the same bed or field. While this solution is effective, it works better for large-scale farmers since they have more space to diversify their crops. 

However, you can scatter the plants in your garden by planting one variety in a single cluster and another variety in another corner of the garden. While this should reduce the risk of cross-pollination, it’s not the best solution since there’s still a risk of bees cross-pollinating the plants. 

Plant Different Varieties in Different Seasons 

If you want to plant different tomato varieties together, you can avoid cross-pollination by planting one variety slightly earlier to avoid cross-pollination. When one type has passed the flowering stage, the other varieties may only start flowering.

This method is quite effective and allows you to plant wide varieties of the same plant without creating a hybrid. You can also make better use of different seasons this way since some varieties can be planted earlier in the spring. 

Use Mesh Bags 

Mesh bags are also an effective way of preventing cross-pollination. Tie a mesh bag around a cluster of flowers, and you’ll effectively prevent pollinating insects from reaching the flowers. Since tomatoes aren’t likely to pollinate with wind, the mesh bags effectively prevent cross-pollination. 

Avoid tying plastic bags around the flowers since they don’t have effective ventilation, and the plastic may trap moisture, damaging the flowers. You can remove the mesh bags when the flowers start to get fruit, and there’s no risk of cross-pollination. 

How Far Apart Should You Plant Tomatoes? 

Tomatoes come in both vine and bush varieties. Both varieties have different spacing requirements depending on whether you want to go for a bulk harvest or you’re looking to harvest a prized crop. Home gardeners will give more space between their plants for better quality fruit. 

You should plant tomatoes at least 18 – 24 inches (46 – 61 cm) apart, especially when you’re growing a bush variety of tomato plants. However, vine varieties require less space since they can be grown vertically. You can place vine-type tomato plants around 12 inches (30.5 cm) apart.

How much distance to give between tomato plants also depends on the garden type. If you’re gardening in the ground, you’ll have more space to plant your plants, and you can leave more space between individual plants. If you’re growing in a container or raised bed, you’ll have to save space by planting the tomatoes with less distance between plants. 

What Happens if You Plant Tomato Varieties Too Close Together?

If you’re trying to save space by planting tomatoes closer than the recommended distance, you’ll have to deal with several issues. In addition to the risk of cross-pollination, you may encounter other problems from growing different tomato varieties too close together.

Planting different tomato varieties too close to each other increases the risk of diseases and may cause the plants to have stunted growth. You’ll also get a much lower yield than you normally would if the plants were planted at the correct distance from each other. 

Always follow the distance guidelines for different tomato varieties to prevent these issues. If you want to maximize space when planting tomatoes, try these strategies: 

Plant Smaller Varieties 

Some tomato plants will take more space than others. If you want to save space, try planting smaller varieties that don’t branch out as much as others. Vine plants take up less space than bush varieties since you can grow them vertically on a stick or rack, but these require careful pruning. 

Trim the Plants Properly

If you’re looking to save space with your tomatoes, you’ll have to trim them correctly. Both bush and vine varieties require trimming for optimal growth. Trim the plants in a way that they grow vertically instead of branching out, and you’ll have more space in your garden. 

Does Cross-Pollination Damage Tomato Plants? 

Cross-pollination is a problem for conservationists and breeders since it can damage the gene pool and wipe out certain varieties of plants. However, this isn’t a major issue when you’re growing a popular plant like tomatoes since there are always seeds of different varieties available. 

Cross-pollination of different tomato varieties won’t affect the fruit, but it may alter the tomato seeds. If you plant these seeds, you’ll have new hybrid varieties that may not produce high-quality tomatoes and may be more vulnerable to diseases. However, the opposite is also true. 

So, if you plan on buying new seeds each season, you shouldn’t worry about damaging your plants through cross-pollination. 

On the other hand, if you’re willing to take risks and want to breed a better hybrid variety, you can try cross-pollinating different varieties. However, it is best to leave this practice to professional breeders because there is no guarantee that you will get hybrid tomatoes with better qualities.

It can also be troublesome to eliminate sickly tomato hybrids properly to prevent contaminating other nearby plants.


There’s no harm in planting different varieties of tomatoes together as long as you aren’t going to harvest the seeds. If you plan on growing the seeds from your crop, it’s better to isolate the plants to prevent cross-pollination. 

You can also prevent cross-pollination with other techniques, such as growing different varieties at different times or using mesh bags to prevent pollinators from reaching the flowers. If you’re trying to grow bumper hybrid crops, you can selectively cross-pollinate different tomato varieties, but this requires skill.

Alexander Picot

Alexander Picot is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to gardening tips. Inspired by his mother’s love of gardening, Alex has a passion for taking care of plants and turning backyards into feel-good places and loves to share his experience with the rest of the world.

Recent Posts