Growing Watermelons

growing watermelons in the garden

image source: iStock.com

Sweet, juicy homegrown watermelons capture the magic of summer with explosive taste that puts store-bought melons to shame. Like their cantaloupe cousins, watermelons demand 2 to 3 months of heat to produce ripe fruit, which makes growing watermelons in northern regions challenging, but not impossible. By using plastic mulch to warm soil and floating row covers to trap warm air near plants, gardeners in any part of the country can experience the homegrown goodness of watermelons.

Nutritionists have found that watermelon should be in most people’s diets because of all the health-promoting vitamin C and antioxidants—including beta-carotene and lycopene—in every bite. These fruits combine great taste with excellent nutrition, with no cholesterol and nearly no fat—in other words, the perfect dessert.

Soil, Planting, and Care

Kids love to eat homegrown watermelon in summer.

Slicing into a crisp, vine-ripened, homegrown watermelon is one of summer’s great pleasures.

Growing watermelons requires warm soil. Don’t tuck plants into the garden until soil temperature is above 70 degrees F, which typically occurs about the time peonies bloom in northern zones. To be safe, wait until at least 2 weeks past your area’s last frost date. Prior to planting, cover soil with black plastic to hasten soil warming. Because watermelons are heavy feeders, prepare your planting bed by adding seaweed, compost, or rotted manure. For best nutrient uptake, the soil pH should be between 6 and 6.8, although the plants will tolerate a pH as low as 5. If you live near a horse farm, another option that works well is to excavate the soil 1 foot deep, add a 9-inch-thick layer of fresh manure, and then cover that with 3 inches of soil mixed with compost. This creates a bed with a high-nitrogen soil base that’s naturally warm. Some gardeners even plant melons in their compost piles to ensure a warm footing and adequate nitrogen.

Give watermelon vines plenty of room to roam, which usually means spacing plants 3 to 5 feet apart. After planting, cover seedlings with floating row covers to keep out insects and trap warm air near plants.

Watermelon plants form very long vines that need plenty of garden space.

Give watermelon vines plenty of room to roam.

Watermelon vines bear male and female flowers. Don’t be alarmed when some of the male flowers, which appear first, fall off shortly after they open; they are followed by female blossoms about a week later. The female flowers, which have a small swelling at the base of the flower, stay on the vine to bear fruit. When vines start to bear both male and female flowers, remove row covers.

Tackle weeds before vines start to run because it will be difficult to move among vines at a later stage without crushing them. Mulching soil under the vines helps suppress weeds and slows moisture evaporation.

Water plays an important role in keeping vines healthy and producing delicious fruit. Vines are most sensitive to drought during the time from planting to when fruits start to form. Avoid overhead watering. Soaker hoses or drip irrigation deliver water directly to soil, helping prevent possible spread of fungal diseases among wet foliage. Keep soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged, which will kill plants. It’s typical for leaves to wilt under midday sun, but they shouldn’t remain wilted into evening. Water vines early in the morning so leaves can dry before sunset, which will further help prevent fungal diseases.

growing watermelons on straw mulch

Wheat straw is an effective, inexpensive way to keep growing melons from coming in contact with the soil.

Keep ripening watermelon from direct contact with soil to prevent rot and protect fruit from pests and rodents. When fruit is about the size of a softball, place it on a bed of straw or cardboard. Setting fruit on a light-reflecting surface, such as aluminum foil, will concentrate heat and speed up ripening. If large critters, such as groundhogs, discover your melons, protect ripening fruits by covering them with laundry baskets weighted down with a few bricks.

Some gardeners like to switch fertilizer during the course of the growing season. To do this, use a fertilizer with more nitrogen than phosphorus and potassium during the period between planting and when the first flowers open. Once flowering begins, use a fertilizer with less nitrogen and more phosphorus and potassium, such as African violet food or liquid seaweed.

Some believe that pinching off a vine’s growing shoots as watermelons start to ripen will cause the plant to divert all its energies to fruit ripening. Recent research has shown this to be false. It’s a vine’s leaves that produce the sugars that sweeten fruit, so anything that reduces the total number of leaves available for sugar production actually lessens the sweetness of the melon.

In colder regions, remove any blossoms that start to develop within 50 days of your area’s first average frost date. This will help ensure that remaining, larger fruits will ripen before frost.

Troubleshooting

Watermelons are in the same plant family as squash and cucumbers, but they do not cross-pollinate successfully. Your garden will depend on bees to pollinate the flowers, so cool, cloudy weather in the spring will slow down their development, as bees are less active in such conditions. Be patient until the weather warms.

Fungal diseases can multiple rapidly on melon leaves. Alternaria leaf spot, anthracnose, and gummy stem blight produce spots on leaves, while stem blight also forms bleached or tan sections on stems and rot on fruit. Downy mildew causes yellow or pale green leaf spots, while powdery mildew produces white spots on leaves. Treat fungal diseases with fungicides. Check with your local garden center or Extension Service to learn which fungicides are approved in your state for the disease you’re fighting.

Also be on the lookout for pests. Melon aphids, for example, can quickly colonize a vine, so inspect leaf undersides daily. If you spot aphids, treat them with insecticidal soap. Spotted and striped cucumber beetles can attack vines, transmitting bacterial wilt disease, which causes vines to collapse without chance of recovery. Treat adult beetles with rotenone or a pyrethrum-based insecticide; apply at dusk to avoid harming honey bees.

Harvest and Storage

You can tell if a watermelon is ripe by looking at the belly. It should be yellow.

When a melon is ripe, its belly will go from near white to creamy yellow. This melon is turned to show its belly, which is the spot on which the melon rested on the ground.

Watermelons typically ripen over two weeks. As soon as one melon is ripe, the others won’t be far behind. About a week before a melon is ripe, water only as necessary to keep vines from wilting. Withholding water causes sugars to concentrate in the fruit. Too much water reduces sweetness.You can judge a watermelon’s ripeness by its skin color. The rind changes from a bright to a dull green, and the part that touches the soil shifts from greenish white or straw yellow to rich, creamy yellow. Gardeners also judge a watermelon’s ripeness by rapping on the skin and listening for a low-pitched thud. Tune your ear to the incorrect sound by rapping on a few fruits that aren’t ripe. Underripe fruits resonate with a high-pitched, tinny sound.

Watermelons will keep 2 to 3 weeks unrefrigerated. Place them in a cool basement to increase their holding time. After cutting, refrigerate unused portions. If you have extra melon on hand, dice or cut the flesh into balls and freeze for slushies.

FAQs

How do you know when a watermelon is ready to be picked?

Ripe watermelons break easily from the vine when twisted. If you try to pick a melon and it fails to twist off easily, it probably isn’t ripe yet. Another sign of ripeness is when the underside changes from white to rich yellow.

Will a watermelon turn sweeter the longer you wait after harvest to eat it?

No. Watermelons stop ripening once they are removed from the vine. They should be picked at their desired ripeness.

How do you know if a watermelon is going to be sweet?

If you thump a watermelon and it sounds hollow, then you know it is going to be sweet and delicious.

How do you store watermelons?

Store whole watermelons in a cool place. When a refrigerator is not handy, you can cool watermelons down in a clean creek or ice chest.

138 Comments

Mary

Hello
I’m the poster that had too many watermelons on the vine. I live in Az. Well, now the watermelons are turning yellow and shriveling up after a few days. When they are young, they have green stripes on them, but eventually, they turn yellow. The plant itself in general looks great, no yellowing, or burning. Some of the vines starting to shrivel as they get longer. They are watered 2 times daily about 1/2 gallon each time. I’m wondering if they are getting too much sun. They are in full sun most of the day. Thank you.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Mary,
Try watering deeply. Water until the soil is moist about 6 inches or so into the ground. When watering a little at a time, roots stay very shallow and require water more frequently. Mulching around the plants will help conserve some soil moisture. If your watermelons are turning yellow quickly after flowering, pollination may be a problem. Take a look at these Bonnie Plants tips on pollination in cucurbits (watermelons, squash, cucumber, pumpkins). – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Kaori

I really didn’t know much about planting but I started with cantalope and watermelon. I planted them during December, and they didn’t start growing until mid January. I just used dark soil found in the backyard. Now it’s may and sometimes it gets crazy hot. And the cantaloupe barely has two small vines. My question is what can I do to make it grow faster.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Kaori,
It may be helpful if you let me know where you are gardening. Have you used any fertilizer since the vegetables were planted? Cantaloupes and watermelons are both pretty heavy feeders. – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Mary

I planted some watermelon seeds in an area of my yard. They are growing like crazy. The problem I have is I planted them in an area about 3 ft wide and 20 feet long. Also they area surrounding them is cement. I didn’t think they would grow. Now there are about 5 or 6 watermelons growing on each plant. (3) I can tell they aren’t going to have enough room to grow 5 each plant! So my question is would you advise I cut off some of the young ones growing?
Thanks.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Mary,
Too many watermelon is a great problem to have. If the plants were spaced far enough apart, you may be able to train the vines down the 20 feet of soil and keep all the watermelons (although many on vine tend to be smaller than just a few). If you are not going to have enough room for all the vines, you might select some of the watermelons to mature. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

ELIZABETH JOHNSON

Recently I’ve purchased somesweet baby watermelon seedlings from wal-mart….well one plant has bent at the center of the plant….how can i revive the plant before it completly dies

Danielle Carroll

Hello Elizabeth,
If the main stem is broken, you may want to get another plant. If one of the leaf stems coming off the main stem is bent or broken during transplant, I would not worry so much as you should see new leaves coming out soon. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Brett Backhaus

My question. I live in South Dakota and wanted to get an early start for my watermelons. I placed them in a indoor green house and got great results, but then as I was playing with the little ones a ball landed in the green house now my steams are white and the leaves fell off. Is there any hope or do I need to restart?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Brett,
If the stems are white and all the leaves fell off, you may want to replant. While possible to regrow new leaves – if there is current growth – you want to start off with healthy transplants. -danielle, Bonnie Plants

barbra kilgore

i Planted watermelon in a large pot and it turned out to be a charleston gray i dont have a garden so what size container can i use to grow this now. i also sprayed my area with pesticide and now i find that they need bee pollenation what should i do now just stop spraying and hope bees or pollenation will happen. Also when i repot the watermelon plant will it kill it

Danielle Carroll

Hi Barbra,
You can grow watermelon in a large pot, just know that it is a vining plant and the vines will sprawl up to 8-10 feet. You will not be able to grow the entire plant in a container. I would go with a container at least 5 gallons in size. It’s wise to hold off on insecticides that are harmful to pollinating bees when the watermelon is in bloom. Hand pollination is always a choice when insects are scarce! -Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Rajkumar

How to find whether my water melon are ripe? Pls reply soon

Danielle Carroll

Hello Rajkumar,
Take a look at the harvest and storage tab above. In addition to these suggestions, keep an eye out on the plants tendrils – the tendril closest to the fruit often dries up when the watermelon is ready for harvest. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

JUAN PEREZ

I am going to start planting melons this weekend, I have my seedling in individual 2½” peat moss containers, I plan to cut the bottom of the container before planting them then dig a hole in the compost and bury them, once finish burying them I will cover most of the area with mulch.

BTW the melons are, sweet babies, crimson, piel de sapo, cantaloupe & Honey Dew

Am I proceeding correctly?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Juan,
Sounds like you are on your way to a wonderful garden! – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

David

I have several watermelon plants growing but they are developing white spots on the leaves (some leaves are completely white) and dried out. I’m not sure what could be causing it we have had plenty of rain lately and my plants are in raised mounds. the plants look healthy otherwise.

Danielle Carroll

Hello david,
Have you had any cool weather? Veggies in the cucurbit family like watermelon and squash will turn a whitish color if subjected to cold temperatures and wind. Powdery mildew is also a possibility. Powdery mildew is a fungus that attacks a lot of different plants including those in the cucurbit family during hot, dry weather. It looks like it sounds…like a white powder that – You will be able to wipe it from the leaves if you try! This is a publication from Clemson Cooperative Extension with pictures for you to compare! – danielle, Bonnie Plants

Bri

Hello I am growing cherry tomatoes,kandy corn, cantalope, and watermelon all organic. And I have started them in a seed starting kit. I have transplanted each watermelon into their own container and I have them in a south facing window and sometimes ill leave the window up. It has been 15 days and they look good to me, but they are like 5 inches tall but their second set of true leaves is still trying to come in. A couple have one true leave that’s sprouted out of the middle of the first leaves. The stems are kinda thin to me, maybe the thickness of a dandelion,which may be normal but i dont want them to get “leggy” but the stems are very strong. My cherry tomatoes are about 3 in tall and are still in the starter kit there are maybe 8 plants per cube (which might be too many) so should I separate those? And should my watermelon and cantalope be 5in tall and just now producing their first true leaves? I think my corn is ok so far I planted them 5 says ago and they are now about 2in tall.

Danielle Carroll

Hello Bri,
Your seedlings are probably leggy because of lack of light. Window light is usually not enough to start healthy seedlings. Additional light is usually needed. This is a great publication from Purdue Univeristy extension on starting seeds indoors.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Aiya Bowman

I live in Arizona and am trying out some California Sweet watermelon this year. I tried growing them the last few ears but they either never sprouted or the store bought starters died soon after transplant. Three weeks ago I started some seeds indoors and two sprouted. They were doing great and I moved them to my main garden outside. A few days later my klutz of a dad was helping me and stepped on one of them. It died since the stem snapped. I planted another seed and am hoping it will sprout. Is it too late in the year for the plants to grow well? Our 110+ degree summers make growing plants a bit difficult. If so is there any way I can try and help my plants?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Aiya,
Arizona is a big place and the planting dates vary with regions. Here are the planting dates for Arizona based on your region. The best way to help your plants is to water, fertilize, and scout for pests like insects and diseases. Mulch well – this keeps soil moisture in and helps mediate the soil temperatures. Your dad is not too much of a klutz – I stepped on my own squash plant the other day :) – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Bobette Tongay

Bush Baby Watermelons –

I live in Chicago and planted watermelons in a long planter, training the vines to race along the back fence. They did well until the end of the summer when they stopped ripening. At the end, they were all rine in the middle.

What did I do wrong? Too many flowers or too much water when it was 100 degrees?

Danielle Carroll

Hello Bobette
It was a HOT summer! Temperatures probably had a lot to do with it. A lot of fruit was off shaped and off late last summer and fall because of the high temperatures. Did they get as big as they were supposed to? If not, you may have had a common problem with pollination. This is common with plants in the cucurbit family. – Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Rajkumar

An orange colour beetle is always eating and attacking my watermelon plant. Pls tell me how to tackle it.

Danielle Carroll

Hi Rajkumar,
It is very possible you are speaking of the spotted or striped cucumber beetle. I am including a link from Virginia Tech with pictures for you to compare. You can find control measure under the trouble shooting tab in the above article.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

tani

Last year I tried growing watermelon in central Missouri. The plants took off like gangbusters and soon had several melons. It was very hot last summer and not much rain, so I water several times each week. I waited and tried to follow the signs of a ripe watermelon. Brown near the stem, thumping, …however when I cut into one it was light pink and had a lot of white rind in it. I waited almost a additional month before finally harvesting the other 7 or so melons and they all looked just the like ones from earlier. Please help. PS.. can I use cow manure for fertilizer?

Danielle Carroll

Hi Tani,
Do you remember the variety of watermelon that you grew last year? Some varieties of watermelon ripen in aout 80 days while other take over 100 days – a long summer. You can also try placing the fruit on a reflective surface like aluminum foil to speed up ripening. Here are more tips from your home state’s extension system. Before adding fertilizers to your garden, you may consider a soil test, available from your local extension system. This takes the quess work out of fertilizing. Yes, cow manure can be used for fertilizer, but I warn against using fresh manures. Adding organic matter in the form of composted manures is good for soil health while providing nutrients to the plants.
-Danielle, Bonnie Plants

Danny English

Hi Marry Beth Danny English agine Iam good at bean,corn,tomato,ect Iam not verry good at melon I use compost manure and miraclegrow ect my fruit nevrer get any size I readed every thing abouth growing thim but no luck thank Danny

Mary Beth

Hi Danny,
I’m not sure why your watermelons aren’t producing for you. They love really warm soil, warm weather, and adequate water. Start well after danger of frost has passed in soil that has been hilled (and even tarped with black groundcover to warm soil if you are in a cooler spring climate). If you can be more specific about your problems or clues as to what you see in your garden, send a photo and we can help. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Sharyn whiting

Can I keep new vines in warm spot ( in house) until spring in no.california??
I brought some seeds home from a local restaurant this summer and planted them
In a clay pot.
They grew quickly outside as hot here, but might cool off soon and I am sad
They will die.
Cheers,
Sherry whiting

Mary Beth

Hi Sharyn,
Your watermelon plants won’t survive past the first frost. You should hopefully have mature fruit before the seasons change and the temperatures dip lower. Watermelons are annuals, meaning they live for one season in the year and must be replanted the following year. I’m not sure that you can support the size and space requirements they’ll need inside. Just remember for next year that most varieties take about 100 days to mature with fruit, so plant in Spring after danger of frost has passed and allow enough sunny, hot days for a nice homegrown fruit. Regards, Mary Beth / Bonnie Plants

Lisa

This summer, I planted my first watermelons. I live in zone 6 up in Pennsylvania, so to get a head start on the growing season, I started my watermelons inside in little peat pots. The seeds I planted did not want to grow, so by the time one actually sprouted, it was the beginning of June. I moved my plant outside to my prepared garden bed (mixture of mushroom compost, aged horse manure, and bagged compost) at the end of June. My seedling still had its two seed leaves, and one grown up leaf. I left for vacation a few days later, and had asked a neighbor to come water my plants while i was gone. When I got back a couple weeks later, all my other plants had gone through an explosion of growth, but my watermelon was still on the small side.
I added some more aged horse manure to the bed, and started watering the plant with diluted coffee water. The plant perked up a bit, and a few more leaf buds grew, but it took about a month for them to open.
Now its almost the end of October, the night temperatures are in the low forties, and the sun its cloudy all the time. The plant is still alive. I bought one of those clear plastic storage containers to use as a mini greenhouse, and stuck some warm water bottles around my plant to heat up its growing space. This plant is about a foot and a half wide, and just started growing two baby watermelons (each the size of my fingertip).

My question is, what can I do to make this plant grow faster and give me at least one melon before the first snow? Please don’t tell me to give up, I’m tired of people telling me that. I know there’s a very small chance of it surviving long enough to grow fruit, but I want to try anyway.

Thanks for your help,
Lisa

Mary Beth

Hi Lisa,
We would never tell you to give up! The thrill of gardening also comes from triumphs over trial and error. What you’ve learned this season is that watermelon–more than most crops–loves really hot temperatures and full, full sun. You also learned a patient lesson of starting melon seeds in peat pots inside with proper lighting and moisture, as opposed to using our more established seedlings or planting the seeds directly in the soil outside. Where you are it takes a while for the soil to heat up in spring. Some gardeners use black groundcover cloth over the hills of watermelon seedlings to capture more of the sun’s heat and to retain it longer through the night. Your plants will need about 90-100 days of growing time from planting to maturity for a ripe fruit, though it sounds like you should start counting when the seedling truly began to off. At this point, you are racing the clock of Jack Frost, as watermelons don’t like to grow during cooler nights and won’t survive the freezing temps. In addition to our article here with tabs on growing, care, harvesting and troubleshooting using our healthy transplants, you can read this Extension document from Maryland. If you are married to making this watermelon produce this season, you’ll have to go a few extra steps to ensure it has a mini-greenhouse to retain heat, and hand-pollinate the baby melons with blooms to ensure they are pollinated (bees won’t be able to do their work if you have it encased). I don’t want to discourage you after going this far, but I’m guessing Jack Frost is nipping at your heels in Pennsylvania right now! As we gardeners like to say, next year’s garden is going to be EVEN BETTER! Join our Facebook page and sign up for our newsletter, too, for regular advice and encouragement. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Paul Freelove

I’m curious of what the lifespan of a watermelon vine is. Mine has taken over my front yard, making mowing difficult. The plus side is we’ve harvested 2 good melons, one partial ripened melon, and had several lost to rot.

Mary Beth

Hi Paul,
Your watermelon vine will not survive a hard freeze. It’ll give you the yard back just in time for you to spend your time raking and bagging leaves instead! If you live in an area that doesn’t experience seasonal changes and temperature lows, your vine shouldn’t last much longer than 4-5 months; some report under a year. Hopefully you will have a few more ripe melons to reward your hard work. And you know…you can always remove it when it has become too troublesome. It’ll make great compost. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

judy cooper

We have nice big beautiful watermelons but they won’t ripen. It has been very hot here in Tenn so they have certainly had enough heat and we have been very diligent about watering and feeding. We had cantelope in the same garden and they ripened and were delicious and sweet but every melon we’ve cut open is still white inside. What’s our problem?

Mary Beth

Hi Judy,
It may be as simple as time and patience. Your cantaloupes will ripen quicker than large watermelons. Give it a little more time. Look for a dried tendril on the vine near the stem and a yellow spot (not cream or white) on the bottom of the melon before picking. It’s truly an art and a lot of trial and error in learning to pick the perfect ripe melon! Sounds like your fruits just need to soak up a little more sun and warmth. Has it been beyond 100 days? ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Wade

You probably have accidently used seed that has crossed with a citron melon or a melon used for confiserie or pig food. If they never get red and stay whitish green inside. Most likely that is your problem. I had this happen once and ended up with the problem for two years. It all started with accidently purchasing some melon plants they use the rind for fruit cake etc. one year. Those plants crossed with good melons of which I saved the seed. Well guess what happened I had a lot of big green melons even even with stripes that were totally inedible. By the way those very hardy green melon plants grow very well and you get a lot of worthless melons even in poor soil and they resist just about everything that can go wrong with edible watermelons. Seems they would make a great grafting melon plant.

Mary Beth

Hi Joe,
Your watermelon plants won’t survive past the first frost. You should hopefully have mature fruit before the seasons change and the temperatures dip lower. Watermelons are annuals, meaning they live for one season in the year and must be replanted the following year. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Adri

Will a melon not taste as good if its seeds were harvested from a store bought melon?
thanks

Chheng

Hi, This is my first year in trying to grow the yellow meated watermelons. So far I have about 4 watermelons 25lbs, 10lbs, 7lbs and one that just started growing. The temperatures here are dropping to the upper and lower 60s at night and upper 80s-90s during the day. The leaves are starting to die off at the beginning of the plants and following to the watermelons. Does this mean it is the end for my watermelon plant or…? I don’t know if I should keep watering if the plant is already dying or hold off a bit to the sweeten the watermelon during the last two weeks before I pick them also?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Chheng, We suggest that you keep watering and feeding your plant until a week or so before you’re ready to harvest, then you can hold back to sweeten the fruit. You can read more about this technique in the Harvest & Storage tab above. It sounds like your melons might be almost ready, especially the 25-pounder, so I’d suggest you start reducing your watering and get ready to harvest the melons soon. Enjoy! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Terry Ritchey

My sugar-baby melons are getting brown spots about the size of a quarter, on the top of the fruit, that eventually causes them to rot. I’ve been having problems with fungus. Is there any hope for them? I live in Missouri and we had a bad drought this year……….Terry

Mary Beth

Hi Terry,
Sorry to hear it! Take a look at this document from Missouri’s Cooperative Extension service to see if you can identify what is affecting your melons. They have assembled a helpful list of photos that may make it easy to pinpoint and treat. Good luck! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

David stephens

I doubt that you remember me but in 1985 I was the regional manager in charge of the garden centers in Texas. One of your trucks showed up one day with vegetables & flowers. I was so impressed with your firm that I called Our International Headquarters & had your firm listed for all stores. I’m retired now but still remember the good ol’ days. I still buy your veggies from Home Depot. Regards, Dave Stephens

Mary Beth

Hi David,
What a wonderful message to receive! I personally was not with Bonnie in 1985 but I know many people who were (and still are) with the company. I will happily pass your kind words along to the team here. Congratulations on your hard-earned retirement. Wishing you many seasons of great gardens ahead. Follow us along here and on our Facebook page if you like. Many folks share garden photos and memories there. Warm regards, Mary Beth/Bonnie Plants

Adri

I have a few questions, next year I want to try growing watermelons.

-I am already growing honeydew melons and i read the page about them and I jut read this page and it looks like watermelons are harder to grow than honeydews, are they?

-If you plant a seed from a store bought melon will it not taste as good as seed that you can buy in a package at a store?

-How long does it usually take for them to grow so that I can harvest them?

Thanks

Mary Beth

Hi Adri,
I am certain that if you are already successfully growing honeydew melons, you will enjoy growing watermelons. They, too, need room to sprawl and vine and behave similarly. At Bonnie Plants, we sell you transplants so that you may have a healthy “headstart” by growing established seedlings. Here’s a link to the varieties we currently carry in the Spring/Summer: http://bonnieplants.com/products/vegetables/watermelon. Most varieties mature around 80 days. Good luck! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Timothy

i dont know if im posting this right but i wanted to ask im growing Crimson Sweet Watermelon and the plant gets to about 20 pounds right now my 2 melons 1 on each of my 2 plants are at 13 and 14 pounds and the skin has got abit darker green and the part thats on the ground is a white/yellow color but the melon did not reach its full size yet and i cant tell if its getting bigger anymore so i wanted to ask can the crimson sweet watermelon get ripe at smaller size???? i still have about 2 months of growing season left since im in Northeast PA but i dont wana pick it early or late the plants are very heathy and are about 12 feet long with lots of side vines that go out 3 inch to 6 feet im just wondering what i should do. Thanks.

First time farmer

Hello,
My watermelon plants have been growing like crazy and right now we have 6 melons growing. However, we noticed in the last 2-3 days the leaves are starting to turn yellow at the base of the plants while the outer growth and vines are still green. I have pictures if needed but can you tell me if this is normal or how to stop it? Will this kill the fruit that is in the process of growing? We are in central Ohio if that helps.
Thanks!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi First Time Farmer, What you’re describing sounds pretty normal. It could be from overwatering or just natural effect of age, but if you start seeing the whole vine being affected, then send your question and a picture to our Ask an Expert service. Be sure to read all the info above, including the info in each tab, for complete growing and harvesting help. Happy growing! Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Sonja

Hello,
I came across this site as I was looking for answers to m cantaloupe AND watermelon troubles. This is my first garden as an adult. I planted 3 plants of sugar baby watermelon and 6 cantaloupe as well as 3 honeydew (all from plants not seeds) in May. I live in Minnesota and we’ve been having a hot summer plus I planted in the black fabric with a soaker hose run underneath. Plants went crazy and have blended and run out and up the fence and onto the grass and into everyplace. I have LOTS of melons growing, some of the cantaloupe are larger than many seedless watermelons. More fruits develop all the time. I think I’ve counted at least 10 watermelon and over 12 cantaloupe (so far only 1 tiny honeydew). The problem is they don’t seem to be ripening. Just picked one enormous cantaloupe that was tan and it was somewhat pinkish orange but flavorless. Only tried 1 watermelon and it was awhile ago and greenish inside, tasted like a cucumber. What do I do?? I’m afraid to prune and kill everything as I can’t determine where the original plants are from the vines bearing fruit. Thank you!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Sonja,

Sounds like you have quite a melon patch…congrats! We have good information about how to harvest each of these plants on our website. On this Growing Watermelons page, click on the Harvest and Storage tab for some tips on how to get the sweetest melons when you harvest. Also on the Growing Cantaloupe (which includes Honeydew) page, you’ll find similar information under the Harvest and Storage tab. You should be able to tell the watermelons from the cantaloupe, and you harvest Honeydew like any other cantaloupe, so cutting back vines shouldn’t be necessary. I hope this helps, and happy harvesting!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Kelly r

Ive noticed that many of my watermelons when they are about quarter size get a large black marking and then cease to grow. Any tips?

Mary Beth

Hi Kelly,
Those are “baby” melons that are the ovary behind the female bloom. If they dry up and die within a day or two, it is because they were not properly pollinated by insects. Here’s an article on trying your hand at pollination if you don’t have a lot of honeybees or other insects to help with your harvest! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Jopie

This is my first garden and it’s doing well except I’m kind of worried that the watermelon vines that are growing might choke out my other plants. Should I be worried. Everything is growing well and the watermelon vines are just starting to take off. Thanks Jopie

Mary Beth

Hi Jopie,
Congratulations on your first garden! You might enjoy this section of our article library to get familiar with the basics, as well as the section on planning for the future. The watermelon can be trellised, or trained up a vertical support, to save space and detour it from your other plants. Try not to let it crowd out your smaller plants so that they do not receive necessary sunlight, and simply redirect the vines into an empty area if available. Good luck! Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Jopie

Thank you so much for your help and reply. I’m glad I found your website. Jopie

Tziry

Hi,
I bought your sugar baby watermelons like 4 weeks ago…
so far no buds or flowers are in sight. Am I doing something wrong or do I just have to wait them out?

Mary Beth

Hi, if the foliage appears healthy and the vines are continuing to grow, you should be in good shape. Just a little patience and watch for the blooms to appear soon. It usually takes 2 1/2 months until you are enjoying that snack! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Robert

I have 3 watermelons, one very large and all of them are starting to turn yellow on top. The stems are green thought the curly cue opposite the stem on the 2 largest are brown and withered. Should I pick the largest 2 now?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Robert,

It does sounds like these might be ready to pick. Click above in the Harvest & Storage tab for more info about knowing when to pick your melons. Also, I suggest picking just one (the largest) and slicing it open to see how it looks before picking the others. Happy harvesting!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Cheryl Harrison

We just picked our first Sugar Baby watermelon after following the advice on harvesting. While it looks great on the outside–nice and dark green, no longer shiney, about 12″ in diameter, and sounds just like a ripe melon should–it’s white and tasteless on the inside. We’re so disappointed. What happened? We have four more on the vines, and hopefully have better luck with those.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Cheryl,

Sorry about your watermelon! I do hope you have better luck with the others. Did you have a lot of rain right before you harvested the first melon? The problem you describe is caused by too much in the week or two prior to harvest. The developing fruit just gets white and watery instead of developing those pretty, tasty red sugars. For the next few melons, try this trick: The week before harvesting, water only if necessary to keep the vine healthy looking. I hope this helps. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

brent

I planted crimson sweet melons (3 plants) that I bought at home depot and agway. They started kinda slow but have gone nuts since. I have female flowers opening every day, and I pollinate them myself. Not chancing the bees. How fast do the melons grow? Im curious as to the rate to expect. The vines grow at least 6 in. daily, and are taking over my yard. Thanks

Mary Beth

Hi Brent,
Sounds like your Crimson Sweet melons are enjoying the summer heat! Here’s a link to what you can expect with this variety. Very tasty and nice-sized. Make sure that you are pollinating female flowers and not just any flowers, as the male flowers are the ones to appear first. We wrote an article to help with cross-pollination. From planting to harvest, count on 70-80 days. You will know within a couple of days after pollination if that bloom was successfully pollinated, as it will swell into a mini melon as big as your thumb. Let us know how it grows. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Michael Grome

hi
i live in northern delaware i started a watermelon plant from a seed the plant is about the length of 2 pencils it had 4 baby watermelons on it about the width of a pencil then they turn a light green and fall off i would really like an answer to this.
thanks

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Michael,

This sounds exactly like poor pollination. The fruit will grow a little but then shrivel and fall off if not pollinated correctly. Read our blog post about this, including info about pollinating by hand, which might be your best option. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Karen

This is my first year growing watermelons. I have the Sweet Baby type and it seemed to be going great, produced 3 fruit, then the plant just browned up and died… I picked one fruit too early, though it was meeting a lot of the criteria for ripeness… Any suggestions for what to do next year to prevent this from happening?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Karen,

Sounds like you did a great job and have a nice harvest! Watermelon plants usually only produce 3 or 4 melons per plant, so my guess is that your plant died because it was done producing. This is totally normal. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Karen

There were still 2 melons on the vine, so I left them… for a long time… picked one because it again seemed to meet all the criteria for being ripe, yet wasn’t… I am getting very discouraged… Should I leave the last one on the vine even longer?!? It is the bigger of the 2 though they stopped getting bigger weeks ago.

Kelly Smith Trimble

As the melons mature, they may not get larger in size but will get heftier in weight. Pick up the melons to see if they feel heavy for their size. This is another indicator.

Does anyone else have watermelon harvest tips to share with Karen?

Char

I forgot to mention that we planted sugar baby watermelon

Char

This is my first time ever gardening and we planted cucumber, watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries. We purchased the potted plants the end of June, but just transplanted them yesterday (3 1/2 weeks later). The watermelons are about golf ball size and the strawberries are small and the cantaloupe just began flowering this week. The watermelon leaves appear to be withering as the outer parts of the leaves turned dark brown/flaky, but the fruit is still growing slowly. It looks a little like the gummy stem (according to the pictures), but really it look it’s drying out. Could that be because I waited too long to transplant? They were well watered as GA has received quite a bit of rain over the past few weeks-maybe even overwatered. Is there anything I can do to help my garden bear something this season?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Char,

Yes, this could be a bit of shock from the long wait. Our plants in biodegradable pots are meant to be transplanted soon after purchase. It sounds like your plants were fairly far along when you finally transplanted them, since you already had a watermelon growing. I think you should water and fertilize the plants well and see if they bounce back. I bet they’ll be fine, but if not, and if you think they might have a disease or pest problem, send your question along with a photo to our Ask an Expert service. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

First time farmer

Hello,

This is our first raised bed and we have noticed the Crimson Sweet watermelon vines are taking over and running into where we planted the cucumbers and honeydew melons. Should I put up a piece of lattice work between each plant so all the vines don’t become entangled? We haven’t noticed any cucumbers yet either and I don’t want them to get choked out by the melons. Help! We’re in central Ohio.

Mary Beth

Hi First Time Farmer,
That’s a name we like to see. :) Wishing you lots of success! The watermelons will travel randomly where they like; you can re-direct the vines to go out of the area in which you have other plants growing. If that isn’t possible, you can always go “up.” However, it’s fine that the vines tangle together and ramble along if that is your only option. If you can, trellis your cucumbers and train them to go up. It is easier to harvest and provides a cleaner cucumber. Honeydews and melons growing alongside each other is no reason to worry. Keep us posted. ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

K. Citizen

I am growing two watermelon plants in my garden that I purchased from Bonnie Plants. The vine has grown so wild! I can just about see it before my eyes and there are many flowers on it, yet I see no signs of watermelons. I planted them in mid-May. Your tags says 110-120 days (i think) and the melons are supposed to be up to 30lbs. Am I missing a step? Is there something I should be doing? If so, what? Am I being inpatient and need to give the melon more time?

K. Citizen

Bonnie Plants,

I forgot to say that I live in DC and this is my second attempt at growing watermelons. The ones last year did not do so good.

Mary Beth

Hi, It sounds like “wild” is good in this case! You are only 60 days into the planting, which is halfway through. Give it some time and enjoy watching it grow. One thing you can check is to locate female flowers vs male flowers and help with pollination. However, I think you are fine if you see bees and other insects in your area. Report back and let us know…Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

margaret esposito

My first mellon size like Baseball hanging against my tomato cage. Do I have to support and cover the bottom of the mellon by fine Deer Net or deer will get it even I have heavy deer fense around 3 by 6′ raise bed. They ate my green tomato already.

Mary Beth

Hi Margaret,
If you have hungry deer that have eaten green tomatoes, it may be best to protect your growing melon! After the excitement of having one begin to grow, we would hate to see you lose it, even if they nibbled to taste it and moved on. Depending on the size melon you are growing, it is a good idea to support it so the vine is not susceptible to breaking. You can use anything mesh or breathable. One reader recently posted a photo of re-using the produce bags with onions or citrus from the grocery store. It sounds like you need to protect it from deer, too, so Deer Net would be a good idea. Let us know how it grows! ~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Steven Gray

I am growing Sugar Baby watermelons. You state these will weigh ~8 pounds but what is the typical size (i.e. cantaloupe size)?

Steven

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Steven,

It’s hard to say exactly what size your Sugar Baby watermelons will be when ripe. Some sources say 8 or 10 inches in diameter, but it’s best to look for signs other than size to determine ripeness. Read above in the Harvest and Storage for tips on knowing when a watermelon is ripe. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Lindsey

Hi, I live in New Mexico and I am growing watermelon for the first time. Everything was going great I have 2 very nice looking watermelons coming along, but I also have some very weird ones that I am not sure if they are really watermelon. The skin has no/very very faint striping and is a very light green. They seem to grow very quickly and I have far more of those growing than the two healthy looking ones. Not sure exactly what to do with them and a little disappointed. Might they not be getting enough sun? they are growing like weeds so I can’t imagine that’s it. maybe to much water? It is monsoon season here. Confused and annoyed because I can’t find anything about them online.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Lindsey,

Are these different watermelon varieties or the same variety? And are they Bonnie watermelon transplants you purchased? That might help me figure out if these might be a particular variety that looks a little different. If you’ve had large amounts of rain, that could affect the fruit, too, though I don’t know why it would affect some and not others. Just let me know and we’re happy to help!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Joan Scanlan

We are trying gardening for the first time this year in a box garden. We have had some luck but learned the hard way how to deal with tomato worms and other issues. We built an additional box and put in just the small variety of watermelons. They were doing really well and I had seven or eight the size of a grapefruit but two of them split open so I cut them off and brought them inside to see if I could tell what happened. When I opened one it was red inside and quite sweet. The other was just pinkish. We’ve had a lot of rain lately so I haven’t been watering like I was daily. I am in the New Orleans area and it had been really hot- still is but now it’s raining every day. I am wondering how to get them back on track. I was also wondering if the cucumbers and squash we have in the other box may be interfering. Any ideas?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Joan,

The splitting is likely due to the excessive rain after a period of hot, dry weather. This unfortunately just naturally happens to melons under those fluctuating conditions. Hopefully, the weather will get back to being more consistent and your plants will bounce back. Melons need consistent moisture to grow harvestable fruit, so after the rain slows down, just be sure to continue giving your plants ample moisture. Don’t let the soil dry out too much, until just before you harvest (read more about this in the Harvest and Storage tab above). Also, water at the base of the plant, not overhead, to prevent any problems with diseases, and put something under your melons (such as mulch or cardboard) so they don’t touch the soil and rot. I hope this helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Chrissy

I live in South Central Alabama and this is my first time growing watermellon, I bought the Jubilee plants and planted them in early spring. The vines were growing beautifully and it produced very nice looking watermellons that were about football size. We have had several hard rains in the last 2 weeks and when I went out to check them today it seems that the ends of the watermellon are beginning to soften and rot. I cut one of them open and they are only pink inside. Unfortunately I went to your website to late. There are alot of great tips that I did not know about. Is there anyway to save these watermellons or is it too late?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Chrissy,

It sounds like quite a few gardeners are having this problem with their watermelons. I just answered the same question for Shea (see below). This sounds like blossom end rot. See the links I provided for Shea, and I hope the info helps. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Shea

This is my husban and I first time to garden. We thought we were going great untill our jubilee watermelons started to turn black on the end and start splitting. What caused this? We are also getting a lot of rain for the past week.

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Shea,

Congrats on starting your first garden! The black on the end sounds like blossom end rot. You can read more about it here. Blossom end rot is caused by a calcium deficiency. Most reasons for the deficiency are inconsistent soil moisture levels (which also causes splitting!). When the soil is somewhat dry, calcium in the soil is not taken up enough in the plant, and the blossom end of the fruit shows the symptoms. Low soil pH can also cause this. This publication from the University of Clemson has a picture of a watermelon with blossom end rot for you to compare. A heavy rain when melons are ripening may cause some of the fruit to split open. This will happen if the soil is somewhat dry when a rain takes place. I hope this info helps. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

GreenThumb Verdad

My crimson red melons have come in, but it seems they may have stopped growing. One was about the size of a cantaloupe, it was very contrast in color and it split open on the bottom. We ate it, but it wasn’t fully red, and not very sweet. It said they can reach 20 pounds, is that under optimum conditions only? Is it normal for mine to be smaller seeing as the Texas heat is intense this year?

Mary Beth

Hi,
Have you noticed more than a few melons on one vine? A secret to getting the largest, optimum-sized watermelon is to limit the number of fruits per vine by pinching out the end of the vine once it has set several fruits. That is not necessary, though; you can let it ramble on. You mention that your melon split open. Have they gotten an abnormal fluctuation or surge in watering? As for Texas heat, watermelons thrive in heat…
~Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

GreenThumb Verdad

Yes we did have a bunch of rain, I guess that was it. The other melon is still growing, just slowed down. A few of them have gotten black or brown sposts. Is that from sitting on the soil?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Yes, the spots probably are from the melon sitting on the soil. You can raise your melon up off the ground easily by setting it on a piece of cardboard or aluminum foil (which also speeds up ripening) or an upside-down flower pot. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

linda crisp

How can you tell when jubilee watermelons are ready to be picked? thankyou

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Linda,

Read above in the Harvest & Storage tab for info on how to pick watermelons. Jubilee is a large melon that grows to between 25 and 40 pounds. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Lorrie

This is my second attempt at the watermelons. Last year did not go well, but this year much better. I planted baby plants on opposite ends of the garden. Wow vines everywhere! Filled the garden area! I have had to resort to doing the polination myself and now have one melon that is growing at an astonishing rate :). How many of these can a vine be expected to support? These are the 30 lb babies according to the pot marker. I’m an avid south Florida gardener. This thing is growing so fast I can see the difference from one morning to the next!!!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Lorrie,

So glad to hear about your success growing watermelons this year! If it’s a 30-pounder, maybe it’s the Charleston Gray or Jubilee variety? The yield depends on the variety and growing conditions but you can plan for 2-3 melons per plant. Be sure to read all the tabs in the article above for information about care, troubleshooting, and harvest. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

rickey

Just wanted to say I really enjoy using your plants. Last year I used a different brand and had a terrible growing season with them. This year everything I’ve planted has done great. I won’t make that mistake again, I’m a customer for life with Bonnie

randy darrigan

I never pick melons right. They are either too pink or too mushy to eat. What is the trick to having a perfect pick? thanks

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Randy,

Click above in the Harvest & Storage tab for some tips and tricks for harvesting melons. I hope this info helps!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Mary Powers

I live in the panhandle of Florida in the country. Help!
Deer will eat about anything except hedges and daffodils.
Armadillo ate the last melons we planted. What is your
best advise on live along side of deer and critters. Please
don’t say get with local farmers!!! We live on 3 acres in
the country. Thanks and is it too late to plant anything

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Mary,

Yes, deer and other critters can be a real problem for gardeners, especially rural gardeners. Read this article on discouraging deer from our friend P. Allen Smith. You can search Allen’s site for more videos and tips on repelling critters in the garden. I hope this helps! Also, it’s not too late to plant in your area, though you might wait until the temperatures cool down a bit to plant anything new. You can have a second round of summer crops in Florida, growing tomatoes, peppers, and other summer veggies on into the fall. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Tammy

Thank you for the information about growing watermelons. I planted a couple this year even though I had not had much success with them in the past. When they start to flower I plan to fertilize them with bloom booster plant food, since that type does not promote leaf growth, but promotes blooming instead. I will definitely get some cardboard and wrap some foil around it when the fruits get big enough.

Sheree

Hey there. First time gardener here and your advice is great! Watermelon question …..my plants seem to be growing, beautifully but seems like since they started leaning, have become weak just ast the soli. Is the leaning normal and does it? mean fungal with the root issue

Mary Beth

Hi Sheree,
Your watermelon sounds perfectly normal. If you say that it is growing beautifully, it may simply begin leaning as it gets larger leaves and vines and begins to “run.” Make sure you are keeping it watered if you are experiencing high heat of summer right now. Otherwise, it sounds fine! Happy growing,
Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Bob

I forgot to say I put some foil under a small watermelon about as big as a walnut and it died. I thought it must have been the foil but after reading your advice it must have been something else.

Mary Beth

Hi Bob,
I have found that the tiniest beginnings of melons and winter squash do not like to be touched or moved in the earliest stages, or they abort. Or, it could have been that that bloom simply was not pollinated. You can see the walnut-sized babies behind the female blooms are already noticeable, even without pollination. Once the fruits get quite larger, it would be helpful to put straw or a stone underneath to raise it from the soil, but foil isn’t necessary. Keep us posted on your garden!
Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Bob

This season I prepared two watermelon hills with compost and fertilizer and installed drip hose covered with black plastic weed barrier. I put my strongest looking plants in these two hills and then I stuck the left over plants in a quickly cleared area with no special treatment. I have been surprised to see that the plants given less care have so far, out-produced the plants in the specially prepared hills. I haven’t harvested a melon yet but it should not be long before one is ready. I couldn’t find any Bonnie watermelon plants at my local Walmart so I started some seeds I had from a few years ago. Crimson Sweet and Moon and Stars melons.

Mary Beth

Hi Bob,
Sometimes the underdogs surprise us! Sounds like you will soon have many melons on your hands. Both of those varieties are growing in my garden, too. It could be that the roots of the prepared hills were burned by fertilizer and had to recover, or simply that the smaller seedlings were given room to expand once out of the pot and they seized the opportunity. Whatever you’re doing, keep it up!
Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Eric in Nevada

Planted watermellon (Sandia)on February 21st…Warmed up early this year in Southern Nevada, Lotsa vines and lotsa flowers…No melons….What did I do wrong?

Mary Beth

Hi Eric,
Don’t despair just yet. As long as your melon is continuing to bloom, we have hope! It sounds as though your blooms are not getting pollinated. If you look carefully, try to find the female blossoms…you can identify them easily because they will have a miniature melon 1/2″ in size behind the yellow bloom. Those are the ones that bees need to pollinate with pollen from the other male flowers. If you aren’t seeing bees doing the handiwork, you can try it yourself. Take a male flower, remove the petals, and rub the pollen area inside the bloom of the female flower (Yes, it really is how it sounds). Give it a few days to see if the tiny melon enlarges and begins to grow after the bloom drops off. It’s pretty cool if you can!
Mary Beth, Bonnie Plants

Penny from Missouri

Hi, thanks for the articles on growing watermelon and cantaloupe! They are a great help! I have Sugar Baby watermelons that are ripening as we speak. I couldn’t help myself and opened one up yesterday, just to see where it was in the ripening stage, and it’s green, with just a hint of pink. Darn. Wasted that one, but now I know to wait. They are looking SO beautiful, and will be great in my refrigerator, just waiting for me one night after a dip in the pool!

Julie Jackson

I love Bonnie Plants.They are so easy to grow for a first timer.My husband had never grown anything before this year and he is loving it.I love the way that the watermelon plants are looking.They are everywhere.I am so blessed with this years garden.But I couldn’t have done it without all of your great tips!:)

Tracie

i am trying to grow your jubilee watermelons, i have vines all over the place with flowers but no melons… what am i doing wrong?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Tracie,

The vines all over the place are a good sign that your plants are doing well. You might just need to be patient for fruit. Jubilee watermelon takes close to 100 days from planting before fruit is ready to harvest. Just keep caring for your plants and watching for those melons to appear. Be sure to read above in the Soil, Planting and Care, Troubleshooting, and Harvest & Use tabs for more info. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jennifer in Tex

Hi there,

We are first time gardeners and your website has equipped us with the knowledge to make it a huge success!! Our watermelon are doing great so far and we’re just seeing the first few (they are so precious!) A few friends suggested that once you start to see fruit that you should cut back a little on watering. Is this so? I would hate to overwater if at this point they don’t need as much. Thanks in advance!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Jennifer,

That is the best news ever! We love helping new gardeners learn and love gardening. Glad to hear your watermelon plants are doing well. Yes, your friend is right. You should pull back on watering about 2 weeks before the fruit matures to ensure a sweet melon. There’s a little more info about this practice and other watermelon harvesting techniques in the Harvest & Storage tab above.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter. We add new articles often and provide links to them in our newsletter. Also, you can “Like” us on our Bonnie Plants Facebook page. Post some pics of those precious watermelons! Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jeffrey Ryan

Is it possible to successfully grow watermelons on a patio environment or is there just not enough space?

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Jeffrey,

It’s possible but you’ll need to plant in a large container, at least 24 inches wide, and have a strong trellis for the vine to grow on. You’ll need to support the fruit as it grows so the weight doesn’t pull down your trellis. Some gardeners use old pantyhose to support watermelons and cantaloupe. I also recommend growing a smaller-fruited variety such as our Icebox watermelon. Make sure the plant gets plenty of sun. I cannot guarantee this will work, as watermelons really do prefer lots of space, but part of the fun of gardening is learning from trial and error, right!? If you try it, let us know how it grows!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jeffrey Ryan

Well this will be a fun little challenge since I was eating a piece of watermelon(no idea what type)…and I threw a couple of the seeds near my cilantro and now a couple days later..I have four plants that popped up and are growing rapidly…wish me luck!!!

Thanks so much Kelly for the swift and helpful advice to my questions…its helping me out a great deal along with the information from a very well put together website :-)

Quick question about my tomato plants…the lower branches have leaves that have browned..is it okay to cut them back to the stalk especially since there appears to be new branches budding there?’

Kelly Smith Trimble

I’m so glad you’re finding the info you need on our website. We’re here to help. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter and also “Like” us on Facebook for more info and ideas for your garden. Now, about your tomatoes, yes, you can probably snap off those lower branches (if they are really dry) or prune them back. Yellowing and browning on lower branches is usually nothing bad. Just watch your plants and make sure the coloration doesn’t start traveling up the plant, which could indicate a problem. Best of luck with those volunteer watermelons!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Jodye Lybrand

Really great information. My grandparents Truck Farmed for years. I haven’t had a garden of my own since I got married. This is my first garden in 34 years and it is looking great. A lot of good information from you, I am going to go put my larger melons on aluminum foil. Thanks so much!!!

Kelly Smith Trimble

Hi Jodye,

We’re so glad you found this information helpful and that you finally have that garden of your own! Be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more gardening tips and info throughout the growing season. Happy growing!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

Bryce

Thanks for the helpful info and the plants. Best Regards, Bryce

Heather

This is great information! I live on a farm with 11 horses and after one tropical storm, out of no here watermelon vines popped up all over the property! Day by day they seem to grow larger an larger! The vines are in direct sun light and i water them once every day.

Kelly Smith

Wow, Heather, that’s exciting! You think the seeds came in from the storm? Are there any watermelon farms nearby that you know of? Hope you enjoy your bumper crop of watermelons this year!

Kelly, Bonnie Plants

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