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