Growing Pumpkins

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growing pumpkins in the garden

You can plant pumpkins in very large raised beds filled with good, enriched soil.

Smaller pumpkins can be grown in large raised beds. In raised beds, you can provide the fertile soil that pumpkin plants need.

Growing pumpkins stands as an enduring symbol of fall, whether they end up as smiling jack-o’-lanterns or stacked near cornstalks for a lovely autumn scene. But this vegetable boasts more than good looks. It’s also full of nutrition, dishing up vitamin C, beta-carotene, fiber, and potassium. One half cup of cooked pumpkin provides a day’s supply of vitamin A.

In the garden, pumpkins crave lots of moisture, compost-enriched soil, and plenty of sun. Meet those requirements, and these sprawling vines will bear a bumper crop.

Soil, Planting, and Care

The pumpkin vine produces large leaves that shade the fruit as it matures.

This young pumpkin grows under the shade of the plant’s leaves. Later in the season as the pumpkin matures, the vine will turn yellow and shrivel away.

Like its cousin the cucumber, pumpkin demands warm, fertile soil for growth. Soil pH should be 6.0 to 6.8. Plan to give each vine at least a 3-foot diameter mound, or hill, of warm, enriched soil. Test your soil every year or two to determine how to amend it for ideal pumpkin growth. Avoid adding nitrogen “just in case,” because too much nitrogen causes vines to produce leaves at the expense of flowers.In cool climates, warm the soil a week before planting by covering it with a piece of black plastic. To plant your pumpkin seedlings, cut a hole in the plastic and plant through the hole.

Pumpkin vines grow aggressively, covering lots of ground. To keep your garden from being engulfed by vines, site plants near the edge of the garden. As vines grow, direct them toward the outside of the garden. Space full-size plants 5 feet apart, and mini pumpkings 2 to 3 feet apart.

Plants need ample water when flowers and fruits are forming. It is best to use a drip system or soaker hose to directly water soil at the base of vines so as to avoid wetting foliage. Try to water in the early morning, so that any water that splashes onto leaves can soon dry. Wet foliage is more susceptible to fungus, such as powdery mildew, which can slowly kill all the leaves on a vine. Most vines wilt under the bright, hot afternoon sun, but if you see foliage wilting before 11:00 a.m., that’s a sign that they need water.

Some gardeners promote branching to get more pumpkins by pinching the tips out of main vines when they reach about 2 feet long. You can also increase the yield on a vine by removing all female flowers (these have a small swelling at the base of the bloom) for the first 3 weeks. These practices may produce a sturdier vine that can set more, albeit smaller, pumpkins during the growing season if you have good soil, sun, and moisture. If your goal is fewer, larger pumpkins per vine, once you have 3 to 4 fruits on a vine, pinch off all remaining flowers as they form.

For a little fun, you can personalize pumpkins for children. While pumpkins are small and skins are soft, scratch a child’s name into the skin. The name will increase in size as the pumpkin grows.

Troubleshooting

Pumpkin fruit grows from the blossom.

The fruit grows from the pretty pumpkin blossom. If you want fewer larger pumpkins, pinch off a few blossoms.

The first few flowers on pumpkin vines will be male blooms. Their pollen attracts bees so that when the female blossoms begin to open, the bees will have the pumpkin vines on their daily flight runs. Male flowers last one day, then drop from vines. If vines are stressed, male flowers may predominate. Insect pests of pumpkins include spotted and striped cucumber beetles, which can transmit bacterial wilt disease, which causes vines to collapse and die. Treat adult beetles with neem or pyrethrum. Be aware, however, that these are toxic to all insects, including beneficial predators and bees. Make applications at dusk to avoid harming bees.

Other insect pests include squash bugs, which must be controlled early or they can be devastating, and squash vine borers.

Powdery mildew, a fungus that produces white spots on leaves, can weaken plants.

Harvest and Storage

Cut the pumpkin away from the vine but leaves the thick stem

Leave the thick stem on your pumpkin when you remove it from the garden. Simply cut the vine away.

As pumpkins form, you can slip a piece of cardboard or folded newspaper beneath the fruit to prevent contact with soil and possible rot, especially if you are growing a precious few. Toward the end of the season, remove any leaves that shade ripening pumpkins. Harvest pumpkins before frost. Fruit is ripe when the outside is fully colored, skin is hard, and the stem begins to shrivel and dry. Pumpkin vines are often prickly, so wear gloves and long sleeves when harvesting to keep from itching. To harvest, cut stems with a sharp knife, leaving at least an inch of stem on fruits (more stem is better). Lift pumpkins by slipping your hand under the bottom of the fruit. Never lift a pumpkin by its stem; if the stem breaks, the pumpkin won’t store well.

Before storing, cure pumpkins by setting them in the sun for 10 to 14 days to harden the skin, seal the stem, and improve taste. Dry, warm weather is best; protect curing pumpkins from frosty nights with old blankets or by moving them into a shed or garage. Store cured pumpkins in a cool place, arranging them so they don’t touch. The ideal storage space has a temperature of 50 degrees with about 60 percent humidity, but since a root cellar is hardly standard in most homes, do the best you can in a basement, vermin-free crawl space, or other frost-free storage. Under ideal conditions your cured pumpkins should store for 2 to 3 months.

FAQs

How do I know when pumpkins are ripe and ready to harvest?

Pumpkins should be harvested before the first hard frost. Vines die back and leaves shrivel at the end of the growing season. The fruits change from green to yellow to sunset orange. Cut pumpkins from the vine when the rind is firm; leave several inches of stem attached to the fruit to avoid rot.

How do you prolong the life of a carved pumpkin?

Allow the pumpkin to sit for 30 minutes after carving. Dry out the cut areas and the insides with a towel. Coat the cut areas with petroleum jelly. This reduces moisture loss and helps protect against rot for a few days.

How long can pumpkins be stored?

If kept in a cool dry space, pumpkins can last up to several months.

74 thoughts on “Growing Pumpkins

  1. I just planed a pumpkin plant my daughter has started at school. It has a couple of green leaves so far.
    My previous attempts at pumpkin growing have failed, so I’m hoping the third time is the charm.
    We live in northern IL and would love to see an abundant pumpkin patch. Any tips would be
    appreciated. Thanks!

    • Hi Katie,
      I love pumpkins! One of my favorite things to grow. Be careful with any insecticide use. Pumpkins are in the cucurbit family and depend on bees for pollination. Try to keep weeds to a minimum quickly. Once the vines start to run, it is hard to control weeds with a hoe or tiller because of the risk of hurting the vines. This is a great publication from your state extension system on Growing Pumpkins with information on storing and drying as well. Good Luck! – danielle, Bonnie Plants

  2. My son’s pumpkin plant broke at the stem due to high winds. Will it re-grow from the little nub? Can I replant the plant somehow? There are no roots on it.

    • Hello Theresa,
      I am sorry to hear that :( If the winds broke the plant, but the roots are still in the ground, it may regrow – are there any leaves on it? If the entire plant was broken and there are no roots, you will probably need new plants. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

  3. my squash plants are getting white spots on underside of leaves. M y okra plants leaves are getting brown dots. Please help

    • Hello Manu,
      You may send a picture to our Ask an Expert site for a better diagnosis. White spots and brown dots could be insects, fungi, or environmental damage. In the meantime take a look a these extension publications which have pictures for you to compare. -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  4. I live in Arizona and am trying to grow my own pumpkins. A few years back I planted one but only got a tiny 5x5in pumpkin. I’m trying again and planted 3 more pumpkins this year about 3 weeks ago. They’re doing fairly well and are just getting their 2nd set of leaves. Did I plant my pumpkins too late this time? They have a bit of shade but I’m afraid our 110+ degree summers might not be the best thing for them. I don’t want my pumpkins to fry. If I did plant them too late is there anything I can do to help them?

    • Hello Aiya,
      That is hot! Pumpkins will grow in the area, but because of temperatures, it can be a little trickly. Remember to keep the soil moist in the heat of summer. These are some drought busting techniques for keeping the soil moist. Not too much you can do to help them during the summer – just keep a watch on insects and diseases – while keeping the soil moist. I would mulch also to conserve soil moisture and keep the soil a little cooler. Good Luck! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

  5. My pumpkin patch did amazing this year! I had 13 pumpkins and my biggest one weighed 21.4 pounds! I planted them a little to late though.

  6. Great post! :)
    One thing I wanted to say is that you can actually pollinate them yourself. I had much better success with this since bees weren’t coming into my garden. You just have to cut off the male flower and put it in the female flower.

  7. I had a mini pumpkin. I took some seeds from it but they were thrown out accidentally. I found one on my dads foot though and I planted it. I thought the seed looked ok, not damaged or smooched or anything. It’s in proper growing conditions more or less. Do you think it will grow? Or is it just wasted effort?
    Thanks
    ADRI!

    • Hi Adri,
      I think that your curiosity about gardening is wonderful and you should always try new things; that is how you learn. This article teaches you everything you need to know about pumpkins from seedling to harvest, including the appropriate time and temperatures it will need. I don’t know where you are located, but my guess is that it will not like winter temperatures where you are and would do better if you experimented in planting the seed late Spring. You can save the seed until then in a dry sealed paper envelope. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  8. Hi there,
    This is my first year growing pumpkins. My leaves are starting to drastically die off. i have been battling PM as well which has infected 30% of my patch. i planted on june 15. Is this just that time of the year for the leaves to die or should they be healthy till the first frost.My patch has about 30 connecticut field pumpkins total and most of them are about basketball size. Some are almost ripe while others are still green. I have been using anti fungal. Should i keep the status quo or should i harvest now?? Thank you so much.

    • Hi Jason,
      Many apologies for the tardiness of our reply. It seems you had a more urgent need! How are the plants currently? If your pumpkins were still green and lost the foliage, I don’t believe it would help to harvest them that young. Those that are almost ripe will be fine in ripening off the vine. Pumpkins actually do continue to ripen in the sun after removal from the vine, so there’s hope! Battling PM is normal this time of year, but if the entire vine is decaying and brown, then there is no reason to keep pumpkins there to risk fruit rot or insect damage. You may find this document from Virginia Cooperative Extension helpful, as it describes your situation exactly. And learn from my my mistake this year: I left ours in the field to ripen after the vines were lost to damage and they succumbed to black rot. No homegrown pumpkins for our Halloween this year…! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  9. We have some 70-80lb. pumpkins that are turned orange except the bottoms are white. Will they turn orange if rolled over? Thanks

    • Hi Jeff,
      I sent this question to our experts in Cooperative Extension, as I have not personally grown an 80 lb pumpkin! Kudos to you. However, after a few calls to pumpkin farmers and others in the industry, no one has a definitive answer. I imagine it’s simply white from where it is resting on (and slightly beneath) the soil line and has not had any exposure to light. If you do move your pumpkin, be very careful to not damage the stem until it’s fully mature. It’s also a cosmetic issue; your pumpkin should taste fine and be safe to eat. Be sure to post a photo on our Facebook page! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  10. I planted seeds in pots at the beginning of august, I live in long island new york, can I put them I the ground now?..since I planted so late will I still get pumpkins or will it b too cold…also if I put them in the ground should I put mulch down to kep the roots warm??
    Thank you!

    • Hi Linda,
      Pumpkins will usually need 100 days of growing time before frost to mature and they do best in the ground with plenty of room to vine and roam. The exact days vary by variety, as you can see on our descriptions here. The foliage will not survive a frost, regardless of you mulching the roots. If you have pumpkins already formed on the vine and a frost is in the forecast, you could try to protect it short term with a frost blanket to buy a little more time. Hopefully you will reach the 100 day mark and have hard skin on your pumpkins before the weatherman predicts a freeze in your New York area. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  11. I have a problem with squash bugs, what can I do about them? Last year these bugs killed my plants, now this year these plant are big and starting to bloom. But I have noticed these little criters back this year. I’m afraid I will loose this years plants also.

    • Hi Robert,

      Sorry about your squash bug problem. You can read about how to deal with squash bugs in this article, which is from the University of Minnesota Extension Service but applicable to home gardeners everywhere. I hope this helps!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  12. Hello…. Have been growing pumpkins for a few years and have a new issue each year – This year, fully orange pumpkins, nice and hard when picked, then become soft sitting out in the sun in our yard (placed on wooden hay wagon). Only one variety is doing this so far – Pranksters – but am concerned that it will spread to others (have already picked 100 Bumpkins, 10 Alladins and a few Silver Moon. No frost yet (some nights in the 40s) and some PM in the Prankster patch, but not significant (and not necessarily on the plants that produced these pumpkins). Thanks for your thoughts

    • Hi Steffen,
      It sounds like you’ve grown your fair share of pumpkins, so I may be repeating something you already know. It sounds like they may not have been fully ripened 100% when picked, or may have contracted a fungus even after harvesting. This document from North Carolina Cooperative Extension describes several scenarios that might be happening with your pumpkins. It would also seem to result in softening if they have been in excessively wet then dry or temperature fluctuations. I’ve heard that to ward off fungi after harvest, you could quickly dip in a bucket of water with a tiny bit of bleach to kill any bacteria residue, but that depends on your natural or organic preferences. Good luck with the rest of those. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

    • Steffen,
      I dip them in dilute bleach water after they are mature and cut off the vine. Then I prepare them for storage ten days inside at 75-77 deg. F. I found that the night/day temp fluctuation wasn’t good for my pumpkins when preparing them for storage outside. When I am done with my ten day cycle I then put them in wood crates in the basement (55 deg. F). Gets them to Halloween looking good (I usually am done harvesting them mid-September).

  13. Hi Bonnie: We planted our pumpkins mid June. We are in N. Idaho. I have three or four very small pumpkins starting but two of them are now yellow. I had another pumpkin that was the same size (a bit larger than a lemon) but it turned yellow, shriveled up & fell off. I am watering from the bottom with soaker hoses & have miracle growed them. Why are these new babies yellow & should I cut them off?

    • Hi, I sent your question to our Ask an Expert service and we think this sounds like a pollination issue. The yellow pumpkins are likely unpollinated fruit and should be cut off. Cucurbits (squash, watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, pumpkin, cucumber) are different from other vegetables in that they have separate male and female flowers on the same plant. And this is why gardeners often have problems with these plants not producing fruit or producing inadequate fruit. One solution is trying to pollinate by hand. Here’s a link from our Bonnie Plants blog on hand-pollinating cucurbits. I hope this info helps! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  14. PM has taken over my pumpkin patch. Should I remove the small pumpkins that are there now, or leave them on the dying vine? Also, what is the best way to store pumpkins once they are off the vine?

    • Hi Lisa,

      You can try spraying your plants infected with powdery mildew with a fungicide labeled for this fungus. Many times, plants will recover. I’d try that first and see how the plants do. Keep them well-watered, as stress from drought can make your plant a better host for the mildew, but avoid getting water on the leaves. Instead, water at the base of the plants. If the plants don’t recover, you can harvest your small pumpkins, especially if you just plant to use them for decoration. For storage tips, click above in the “Harvest & Storage” tab for specific instructions. I hope this helps!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  15. I have 2 24′ vines with large leafs and blooms. I noticed I had some pumpkins forming about the size of a lime. Today I go and check them and the blooms are dying and pumpkins are shriveling. What is happening to my pumpkins? Any comments is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks, Jackie

    • Hi Jackie,
      The small pumpkins you are seeing are what forms behind a female flower blossom in hopes of getting pollinated to form a full-sized pumpkin. Read about tricks to hand-pollination here and see visuals on the male vs female bloom identification. Either the bloom was not properly pollinated naturally, or the plant already supports as many maturing pumpkins as it can handle for its health and size and has aborted new fruits naturally. Happy growing! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  16. I have my pumpkin vines sprawling out beautifully. I water it twice a day since our temperatures have been about 107. I finally had a small pumpkin growing it was just a littler smaller than a tennis ball when it fell off and I noticed it had blossom end rot. I’ve noticed many small black ants climbing around, is it the ants or the heat affecting my pumpkins? I also water at roots trying not to wet any leaves yet have noticed some discoloration.

    • Hi Amber,

      Overwatering could cause both blossom end rot and the discoloration of the leaves, so it may be that you’re compensating too much for the hot weather. Here is more info…

      Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency. The most common cause of the deficiency is inconsistent soil moisture levels. When the soil is somewhat dry, calcium in the soil is not taken up enough in the plant causing the blossom end of the fruit to show the symptoms. Low soil pH can also cause this. This is publication from the University of Clemson which has a picture of a watermelon with blossom end rot for you to compare. Calcium nitrate (CaNO3) may be applied to the plants to help if changing the irrigation routine does not work.

      Yellowing is commonly from a nitrogen deficiency which can be the result of overwatering. Most plants only need an inch to an inch and a half of water a week from either rainfall or irrigation. If in a container, they should be watered whenever the top inch and a half or so of potting soil becomes dry to the touch. Water in the morning at the base of the plant, keeping the foliage dry, to prevent some disease problems.

      I hope this info helps. Happy growing!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  17. I want to know if anyone can help me with the following questions please? I think my pumpkin vines should have more fruit on them so I want to know where on the vine do the pumpkins start showing up? I have great vines and maturing pumpkins but the pumpkins do not appear close to the start of the vine but 4-5 feet from the origin of the actual vine. (Seems like a lot of wasted space to me and I would love more pumpkins! :-) Do the pumpkins not grow close to where the plant grows out of the ground? Might sound like a silly question but I love my pumpkins and if I can do better by them I will!
    Thanks for any help. Really nice to go to a “Pumpkin Site” where I can ask questions!
    Amy

    • Hi Amy,
      Pumpkins and other squash or cucurbits will vine and trail along for many feet. There are varieties of winter squash that stay more compact and fruit next to the base of the plant. However, your pumpkin is behaving normally. You should see several feet of sprawling vine and about 3-4 pumpkins per plant. And no worries; that is why little children love romping around a pumpkin patch finding and choosing their jack-o-lanterns! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  18. I have lots of flowers but only one pumpkin this far and would like to help with the pollination – BUT – I cannot tell the difference between a male and a female flower – they all seem to come as singles not in any clusters. Any tips?

    • Hi Erica, Good observation! Male pumpkin flowers aren’t actually found in clusters like cucumber flowers. Look for the female flowers first. They will have a swelling at the base like a mini fruit. Now look for the male flowers, which will be similar but with no swelling. You’ll have to look closely at the base of the flowers, near the stems. I bet you’ll find both. See our blog post for more info about pollinating by hand. I hope this helps! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  19. I have alot of green leaves growing on my vine with male flowers. I still have not yet seen female flowers. Will they ever come and is it too late? Anything I can do to get them growing female flowers?

    • Hi Sheri,
      Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do to force female flowers production on a vine. It sounds like your plant just needs a little more time. I’m not sure when you planted it, but know that it will need 100 days or so to fully mature before frost. Check out your first frost date and count backwards 100 days to know the last possible date at which you should have planted your pumpkin. You can also see how many days you have left in the season by counting this way. Hope that it blooms soon and in time! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  20. Its August 5th and I just have seen three female flowers on our pumpkin plants. There have been an abundance of male flowers the previous two weeks, is it too late now in the season to have pumpkins ready to go for the middle of October? We live in central new York.

    Thanks!

    Eric

    • Hi Eric,

      It takes at least 2 months for pumpkins to mature, so your plants should have just enough time before mid-October! If you have trouble with your plants not pollinating because of the heat, you might try pollinating by hand. See our blog post about this for more info. Happy growing!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  21. I have a question. It is the first of August, and we have lots of pumpkins that are medium watermelon size. It is extremely hot in Texas (100+). Should we leave the pumpkins on the vine or pick them? If we need to pick them, do we leave them out in the sun in thie heat to cure? I would like to have the pumpkins for fall, but I am afraid they will be runined by then. Any suggestions?

    • Hi Emily,

      I think your pumpkins will be okay if you leave them on the vine to fully mature. In fact, near the end of the maturing time, we suggest removing leaves so they don’t shade the ripening pumpkins, so too much sun shouldn’t be a problem. We also say that hot, dry weather is best for curing. Read more in the Harvest and Storage tab on the page above. I hope this info helps, and happy harvesting!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  22. My pumkins are being eaten by bugs….they just started to grow and they are all rotted.

  23. I have one pumpkin on my vine that is about the size of a cantaloupe. The problem is that almost all of the leaves in the vines have what I think is mildew all over them. I have been noticing very tiny baby pumpkins at either end of the vines but they always die off. When the landscapers came by to cut the grass, they nicked the end of the vine where the pumpkin is growing. The vine is not looking too healthy to me because it’s startig to turn yellow in some spots. What should i do about the white stuff on the leaves? Do you think the pumpkin will keep growing?

    • Hi again, Asia!

      I just sent you some info about powdery mildew on your squash comment. It sounds like you have powdery mildew on your pumpkins too, which is also very common. Try the fungicide to see if it helps. The pumpkins falling off might also be due to poor pollination. If you still have flowers on your plants, try pollinating by hand. It’s good that you have one pumpkin inching toward full size. Pumpkin plants typically only produce 2-4 pumpkins. I am not sure about the vine being cut by the landscapers. The best advice is to keep your plants as healthy as possible by watering and fertilizing with vegetable fertilizer. I hope this helps!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  24. Hi! This is my first pumpkin growing season and I am concerned that I have seen no flowers yet. I do have dime sized green bulbs at the ends of the shoots. I was told to prune back the leaves so I did that hoping it was the right thing. I “WAY” over planted, not expecting them to grow and the leaves have taken over. I do not want to pull any out but they are a mass of rioting green. Very healthy looking and happy to try to strangle anything in the area, but I just dont know if there is enough time for pumpkins to grow. We are in Oregon and have had only about 3 weeks of good sun if that helps. Planted seeds in mid June. Plants are around three feet high with shoots up to 5ish feet long. What do I do now? Thanks!

    • Hi Angelique,

      Yes, pumpkin vines grow very long (they’ll probably get longer than the 5 feet you have now) and most home gardeners can only handle one or two plants in their garden (unless they have a huge space). We typically don’t recommend pruning pumpkin plants as it opens the plant up to disease and pests. If you could remove a few plants, that might help. Follow the vines to their roots and pull up a few to give the others a chance to grow. Pumpkins do need sun, though, and they also need about 3 months to grow. If you continue getting sun in Oregon, you might be okay. Be sure to click on all the tabs above for info about Troubleshooting, Harvest, Storage, and Use. Happy growing!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  25. Hello, My pumpkin plant is just a little bit too healthy. I live in a suburben area and I am using limited space to grow things like tomatos and potatos and tomillos, things like that. My pumpkin is really big and I was wondering if I could possible cut it in half. Will that kill the plant? I have a green metal stake, if I train it up that will it help? Do you think the stupid SPC will make me take it down?

    • Hi Sophia,

      Yes, pumpkin plants get really large, but don’t cut it in half! Your plant will be a goner if you do that. You should either let it roam as intended or train it up a trellis. A stake won’t be as helpful as a lattice trellis, wire cage, or something similar. A tent trellis like this one we made for cucumber could work. I am not sure about your neighborhood restrictions, though! I hope this helps!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  26. Hi! I have absolutely no pumpkins yet?! I’m not sure why they’ve been watered daily sometimes 2x a day due to extreme heat! The vines look healthy, the root of the vine is a very dark green? I keep getting male flowers but no female flowers?!? Is too late for female flowers to develop?!?! I have noticed beetles and I have been spraying them with a repellent at night 1x a week. Am I going to have no pumpkins?! Thanks!!

    • Hi Emily,
      How much time has passed between seeing the first male flower and today? I am sure the female flowers will appear shortly. Watched pots don’t boil and I bet pumpkins are the same… Your plant sounds very healthy. If the plant is stressed with extreme heat, it may be a little slower to produce ovary-laden blooms but give it some time. (p.s. what is extreme heat? how hot?) ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

      • Hi Mary Beth,
        I’ve noticed this morning what I believe are 2 female flowers, that have yet to open! The male flowers have been blooming for a couple weeks, at least 2. The temp has been 30 degrees celsius with humid ex of 35-39!! I’ve been watering them tons!! Is it ok to use miracle grow on them? I have been using an organic vegetable food source for them! When/ if the pumpkins develop for the babybear variety, how long will they take to mature. Thanks!!

        • Hi Emily,

          Sounds like you’re seeing good signs that your plant will be producing pumpkins soon! Yes, you can use any fertilizer labeled for vegetables. We don’t sell the Baby Bear variety but it matures in about the same time period as the pumpkin plants we do sell. Though it really depends on your climate and growing conditions, you can expect a mature pumpkin in about 50-60 days. Happy growing!

          Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  27. I have 3 or 4 pumpkin plants that seem to be growing very well. I have been looking for opportunities to self pollinate, but the female flowers are not opening up. The female buds with the small marble fruit under them seem to fall off and die very early. I read somewhere that a vine can only support 1 pumpkin at a time. I do have 3 pumpkins growing now. Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks, Jeff

    • Hi Jeff,
      The vine can support more than one pumpkin at a time; never fear. However, there is a reason that the female flowers are not getting pollinated. Are you checking the blooms early in the morning, when they usually open? It may be that they have opened, not been pollinated, and closed again by the end of the day when you see them. Keep the watering regulated and let us know how it goes… ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

      • I look at them early every morning waiting for the female flower to open. I am going to pollinate if they ever open. The female buds are falling off when they are the size of a marble. The flowers are stillvery tight and green before the little bud falls off.

  28. Hello,
    I have a pumpkin hanging from a trellis fence. How and what do I buy to support the hanging pumpkin? Would nylon work? Thanks

    • Hi Stacia,

      Another gardener, Gene, had a similar question. See below for my answer to him. Yes, many gardeners use nylon in the form of old pantyhose to create a sling for squash, melons, or pumpkins. You can try hose or an old rag, tied off to the fence, to support the pumpkin as it grows and gets heavier. I hope this works for you!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  29. My first pumpkin is about the size of a basketball and beginning to go from yellow to orange. But suddenly one side is turning a whiteish color and softening. Help! Any thoughts on the problem or solution? Thank you!!

    • Hi! When did you plant your pumpkins?! My plants just have male flowers only, and I have no pumpkin development. :(

      • Hi Emily,
        These photos on our site were not taken this season. Not to worry, though, as every area of the country has different times and ideal dates to plant for a successful harvest. You may be on schedule for your area. If you have male flowers, the female ones are quick to follow. Keep your eyes peeled! :) Happy growing, Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  30. Some of my pumpkin plants are turning yellow…..is this natural or if not, what can I do to prevent this?

    • Hi Alice,

      When you say your pumpkin plants are turning yellow, are you talking about the vine and leaves or the ripening fruit? If the vine and leaves, this could be a matter of too much water. Read our article on how much water vegetables need to see if you might be overwatering. You might also need to fertilize your plants. We recommend our Bonnie Herb & Vegetable Plant Food. If you’re talking about the fruit, let me know, because this would be another issue. I hope this helps. Happy growing!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  31. Hi, this is my first time growing a pumpkin,actually it was unexpected. My plant is finally producing flowers but 2 of the female flowers shriveled up, but i noticed there are small green bulbs under the dying flowers. About a week later the small green bulb started to turn yellow at the top. What is happening?

    • Hi Elizabeth,
      Congratulations on your surprise pumpkin! It sounds like your female flowers have not been pollinated, or the plant has aborted the tiny fruits for some reason. You can assist your flowers in pollination to ensure a better crop. If you don’t have bees and other insects in your area, try your “hand” at this after reading the linked article. Let us know how it grows! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

  32. Do you need to plant more than 1 pumpkin plant to produce fruit? I have a plant (one) and lots of flowers — but I see no fruit. it has many long vines, but no fruit has developed.

    • Hi Cyndi,

      One pumpkin plant should be enough. Many gardeners are having problems with poor pollination during this hot summer, and it sounds like that’s the problem with your pumpkins, too. Bees are your best pollinators. Be sure not to spray any insecticides when bees are out. Keep your plants healthy and well-watered and hopefully they will be pollinated and start producing fruit when we get a reprieve from the heat. Happy growing!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

    • I have 1 pumpkin,plant, it came up on the south fence of the garden, outside the fence. We didn’t know it was a pumpkin. Used your website to ID the flowers, many flowers. Trouble is I let it climb the 3 inch wire eh fence which it has inter loped and traveled up to the top (4 foot high). Will I have to stake out support for the pumpkins?

      I’m letting it spread out outside the bottom of this southern exposure fence, it is the twelve feet of vine up 4 feet I’m questioning “

      • Hi Gene,

        Pumpkins really grow best on the ground because of the space they require and the weight of the pumpkins themselves, but it’s possible to grow them successfully on a fence or trellis. You’ll need to support the pumpkins by creating heavy duty slings. Depending on the strength of your fence, you may want to add some other vertical support and build the sling off it so your pumpkins don’t bring down your fence with their weight. Gardeners often use old pantyhose to create slings for their Winter squash or cantaloupe, so I think that would work for your pumpkins, too. Happy growing!

        Kelly, Bonnie Plants

  33. I have a question should I cut the big green leaves of my plants or let them there?

    • Hi Lori,

      Keep the leaves. Those big leaves capture sunlight to help your plant produce equally big pumpkins! Happy growing!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

    • Hello,

      We don’t sell seeds but we do sell starter pumpkin plants in biodegradable pots. Pumpkins take about 100 days to mature, so plant them in late spring or early summer for a fall harvest. If you plant now, you’ll have a pumpkin by the end of September. Happy growing!

      Kelly, Bonnie Plants

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