Heirloom tomato leaves have two main different and distinct types of leaves – potato leaf and regular leaf. Plants with regular tomato leaves are what we are all familiar with; multi-lobed, serrated and sometimes almost toothed branching off of the stem. Potato leaved plants have broader, smoother single leaves branching off of the stem, missing the multiple lobes and serrations.
Regular Leaf Tomatoes
These are by far the most common and well-known type of tomato leaves – they are what we think of when we think of “tomato plants”. The shape and color of the leaves can vary – from slightly serrated to extremely and from a light pale green to a deep dark green and almost a bluish leaf. The width and length of the leaf can vary a lot as well from small narrow leaves which almost always curl to long and wide leaves that droop.
Potato Leaf Tomatoes
As mentioned above, these leaves are almost always much bigger and smoother on the edges than regular leaves, with more heft. They look much more like potato leaves than tomato leaves, thus the name. Potato leaves tend to give more shade to a plant than regular leaves, due to the larger area that the leaves have and more shade from each leaf.
Examples of potato leaf tomatoes are:
- Stupice Tomato
- Japanese Black Trifele Tomato
There doesn’t seem to be much difference in growing the two different types of tomato leaves; one is not more productive, flavorful or pest and disease resistant than the other, or tolerant of heat or cold. They just have different leaves.
One thing of note is that as far as we can tell, all potato-leaved varieties are heirloom or older varieties. We haven’t been able to find a hybrid that is potato-leaved.
Have some fun in your garden this season and try one (or more) of these unusual but delicious heirloom tomatoes!