Growing Cucamelons At Home – A Full Planting Guide

Growing Cucamelons at Home

Hello gardeners, we are back with an interesting topic today and the topic is all about growing cucamelons at home. Do you want to grow cucamelons at home? Well and then you need to follow this complete article to know about how to grow cucuamelons at home. In this article, we will also mention all the requirements for growing cucamelons at home.

Introduction to Cucamelons

While you may not have heard of the cucamelon, they are fastly becoming one of the most popular fruits and they are simply because they look like a little watermelon. But these little fruits are so much more than pretty. They also called a mouse melon, the Mexican sour gherkin, or by its Spanish name, sandiita or little watermelon, a cucamelon is the fruit of the Melothria scabra vine and is about the very small size of a grape. But despite the name, they are not a hybrid of watermelons and cucumbers. They do have a semi-hard pod with markings like a little watermelon, but the whole thing is edible so you can pop them in your mouth for a blow of cucumber flavour with a sour twist. Think of a cucumber and lime taste. They are packed with nutrients making them both fun to look at and traditional, and while they are homegrown to Central America, they can very easily be grown in most parts of the U.S.

A Step-by-Step Planting Guide for Growing Cucamelons at Home, In Containers/Pots

Step-by-Step Planting Guide for Growing Cucamelons
Step-by-Step Planting Guide for Growing Cucamelons

Our family likes trying different kinds of cucumbers. Each summer, our cucumber beds are easily planted with at least a dozen species and varieties, but few look like traditional cucumbers. As you walk the pathways among the cucumber beds, you might observe the slender twisted fruits of ‘Painted Serpent’ hiding beneath a mound of foliage or the weird kiwi-shaped fruits of Little Potato climbing an A-frame trellis. You will also see some of the most popular antique cucumbers, like Lemon, Crystal Apple, Boothby’s Blonde, and Poona Kheera and you will find one that isn’t linked but tastes like a cucumber and that is the cucamelon.

What are Cucamelons?

At first glance, cucamelons look like little watermelons.  The name recommends that they are a cross among a cucumber and a melon, only in miniature.  While cucumbers and melons can cross-pollinate, cucamelons are a different plant altogether.

Botanically, cucamelons plants are neither cucumber nor melon, and the cucamelon plants will not cross-pollinate with either.  They are in the cucumber family, but they are a different species altogether and also called Melothria scabra

Cucuamelons are nothing new, they have been grown in Mexico and Central America since before European colonization.  In their homegrown land, they are known as pepquinos and little cucumbers or sandita and little watermelons.  These days, they are also spelled by the mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, Mexican miniature watermelon, or Mexican sour cucumber.

Overview Table of Cucamelons Plants is Given Below

Botanical NameMelothia scabra
Common NameCucamelon, mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, and sandita
Plant TypeAnnual vines
Mature size12 in. tall and 36 to 42 in the spread
Sun ExposureFull sun
Soil TypeAny well-drained soil
Soil pHSlightly acidic
Bloom Timespring
Flower colorYellow

Suitable soil for Growing Cucamelons at Home

Just like all fruiting plants, cucamelons also require nutritious soil with good drainage. You can use organic matter and compost to supply favourable conditions for cucumelons. Cucamelons can be grown in any type of loamy soil as long as it is well-drained. As with most vegetables, they benefit from the addition of well- being of organic matter. Organic matter helps to keep the soil moist and maintain an evenly moist soil temperature. Adding organic matter also helps to keep weeds under control. Cucumelons have shallow roots the less you require to weed through them, the less chance there is of damaging the cucamelon plant.

Sunlight Requirement for Growing Cucamelons at Home

Cucamelons thrive in warmer conditions. You should plant cucamelon where they get at least 5 to 6 hours of sunlight daily. Cucamelons require plenty of sunlight during their whole life cycle. As soon as the seedlings appear, place them on a sunny spot windowsill, or under fluorescent plant sunlight placed 3 to 4 inches above the seedlings, on for 16 hours, and off for eight hours. As the seedlings grow, raise the lights as required.

Temperature Requirement for Growing Cucamelons at Home

After the germination period where the very best temperature is 26℃ cucamelons are incredibly versatile hardy plants. Just ensure the temperature never drops below 2.7℃ or even kills your cucamelon plant. Apart from that, the standard household temperature will be just excellent for growing healthy cucamelons. I do not take much observation of the temperature of my house and my cucamelons grow ideally healthy, they even extend to grow out of control and I constantly have to train the vine to grow up and down and throughout my trellis.

Cucamelons are the perfect fruit for beginners to indoor gardening because they do not take much effort or attention to grow a healthy plant that supplies a good harvest.

How to Grow Cucamelons?

Around they start as slow-growing, fragile seedlings, cucamelon plants will essential grow to be huge sprawling vines.  They thrive on full sun and well-drained soils, and in the heat of summer the vines will take over an enormous vertical trellis.

#1 Starting Cucamelons Seeds Indoors

Start cucamelon seeds indoors about 4 to 5 weeks before the last frost date.  This is the same period you start cucumbers from seed and it’s well after other plants like tomatoes and peppers.  Members of the cucamelon family don’t transplant well once they are older, so while it’s very important to help cucamelons get a good early start, don’t get carried away.  

Cucamelon seeds should be planted around 1/4 to 1/2 inch deep and take around 7 to 14 days to germinate, condition on temperature.  Perfectly, they’d be germinated with warm soil, somewhere among 21℃ and 24℃.  A seedling heat mat can make a sure success if your seed starting area is cool or drafty.

In the warmest areas, you can direct seed cucamelons outdoors, but moist soil temperatures are required to be above 21℃ before planting.  Outdoor seed starting is only possible in areas where cucamelons can be grown as perennials, zones 7 through 10.

#2 Transplanting Cucumelons plants

Cucamelon Plants can be hardened off outsides after the risk of the last frost has passed.  After a few days of getting used to the sun and air outsides, transplant the young seedlings to the well-drained ground soil.

The seedlings may be very small, and the vines skinny, but they will take off when things heat mid-summer.  Be ensuring to plant the offspring cucamelon seedlings 11 to 12 inches apart, and give them a tall treillage to climb.  The trellis ensures that the cucamelon plants get good sunlight throughout; helps keep moist soil temperatures warm, and makes the cucamelons very much easier to pick. 

In areas with long summers, cucamelon vines can grow 10 to 12 feet tall, so give them the well-being of vertical space.

#3 Growing Cucumelons Plants

Once the plants are in the ground, they are cute and with low maintenance.  Cucamelons are classed as sunlight to medium branches, and they don’t need supplemental fertilizer except in the worst soils.

Cucamelons store energy in tubers under the well-drained soil more on that later and those tubers need good drainage or they will rot in the ground.  Avoid planting cucamelons in overly wet or loamy soils.  Some guides even suggest adding perlite or sand to the ground soil throughout cucamelons, to make sure good drainage. 

Normally, cucamelons don’t need much supplemental water, but they do appreciate roughly water per week during the growing spring season.  In essential hot dry areas, organic matter help maintains adequate soil moisture and water as necessary.

#4 Cucamelons Days to Maturity

Since cucamelon plants are open-pollinated, there is a bit of variation in days to grown-up.  In general, cucamelon plants are 65 to 75 days to maturity, supplied they are grown in warm soil with strong, and full sun.

While cucamelons grow very best in areas with hot, relatively dry summers, they are adaptable. The cucamelon plants are commonly grown as a farmer’s market plant in the northeast, which often has cool, rainy summers. Produce may be a bit lower and plants may take a bit longer to grown-up, but you will still bring in a respectable harvest.

In the coldest areas, it is very best to grow cucamelons as edible perennial tubers, by harvesting the underground tubers at the end of the growing season and replanting them in the spring season. 

#5 Growing Cucamelons as Perennials

Believe it or not, cucuamelon plants are perennials. Below the moist soil, each cucamelon plant supplies a tuber.  While the cucamelon plants are slow to start from seed, cucamelon plants grown from tubers have a lead start on growing the spring season.

The trick is, cucamelon plants cannot allow cold winter temperatures, and the tubers are only hardy outdoors year-throughout to zone 7.  In zones 7 to 10, organic matter the plants during winter, and they will go dormant and come back in the same sunny spot the following year. Even in colder climates, cucamelons can be grown as a perennial with a few corrections.  Cut off the vining tops after the first few fall touches of frost when the plants start to die back on their own. 

Carefully shove up the cucamelon tubers, taking care not to mark or damage them. Each cucamelon plant should have produced particular 4 to 6-inch warty tubers. Don’t dust the dirt off because the tubers require being stored in moist soil during the winter months anyway.

Place the tubers in a bucket or container, filled with moist but not soaking potting well-drained soil. You can bury them in layers to save space, but ensure there are at least 2 inches of well-drained soil above and below each tuber, and make sure they don’t touch.

Store the cucamelon tubers in the moist soil in a cool but frost-free location for the winter season. A root cellar, basement, or unheated garage should be just right in the most suitable locations.

In the spring season, containers up the cucamelon tubers nearly about 6 to 8 weeks before the last frost. This should be the right time when you start tomato seedlings. Tolerate the cucamelon plants to begin growing, and then once the last frost has passed, harden off the seedlings outdoors before planting them in the ground.

During the growing spring season, the growth of cucamelons can become extreme and you will have to train the vines to go up and down and through your trellis system. If any cucamelon leaves start to turn yellow during the spring season.

Growing Cucamelons in Containers

Containers are another good choice for cold climates or very small space gardeners. Cucamelon plants take well to container growing, and in cold regions, the entire container can be preferred indoors after the first very few touches of frost. The container should be stored in a cool area, unheated space until the next growing season.

Cucamelons are also a great choice for patio or patio gardeners. Just be ensuring to give each cucamelon plant about 1 foot apart in a container. That means you will require relatively large containers to grow multiple plants, and most small containers can only support a single cucamelon plant.  

Water Requirements for Growing Cucamelons at Home

Even in warm climatic conditions, cucamelons do not need watering daily, thanks to their water-storing ability in their cucamelon roots in the form of tubers. In warm climatic conditions, you can water the cucamelon plant once a week. During cold days or when fog and clouds block the sun for a prolonged period, watering the cucamelon plants only when the topsoil becomes dry.

Top 4 Tips for Growing Cucamelons at Home

In case if you miss this: How To Grow Spinach In Greenhouse.

Top 4 Tips for Growing Cucamelons
Top 4 Tips for Growing Cucamelons (Image credit: pixabay)

#1 Understand how cucamelons grow

Cucamelon plants are tender perennial this means they are very sensitive to frost but if cared for properly can live for particular seasons. Around a season, the cucamelon plant develops an underground tuber. 

At the end of the season in cold climates, shove out and remove the tuber to overwinter in a sheltered sunny location. Once the cucamelon plant dies back in mild winter areas, mulch the ground throughout the roots well and it should survive over the winter and starts to regrow in the spring season.

#2 Plant cucamelons at the right time

Cucamelons thrive in a warm climate, humid weather. Cucamelon plants outside after all danger of frost have passed in the spring season, and night-time temperatures have warmed to around 10℃. 

In the low desert of Arizona and many other hot summer areas, plant cucamelons from March around April, and again from August through September. In Arizona, spring-planted cucamelons may not supply until cooler temperatures come in the fall. You may get a spring and a fall harvest if you can stay the plant alive over the summer. 

The larger spring-planted cucamelon plants frequently surrender a larger harvest than fall-planted cucamelons. The move with growing cucamelon plants in dry, hot summer areas like Arizona is to have them live in the summer heat. 

#3 Care for growing cucamelons

  • plants allow dry conditions but do best with regular watering  
  • Fertilize cucamelon plants once or twice during the growing the spring season with a high-potassium liquid fertilizer to developed fruiting.
  • Once vines reach about 8 feet, pinch back growing tips to develop branching and fruiting.
  • Cucamelons supply male and female flowers. Male flower wilt and die female flowers develop into fruit after pollination.  

#4Give cucamelons something to climb 

Cucamelon plants are sprawling vine that can be more difficult to contain. Supply a treillage for the tendrils to climb as the cucamelon plants’ vines are mature. Growing cucamelons vertically on a trellis tolerate better airflow and helps protect damage from feet and pests. Ripe cucamelons grown on a trellis are also very easier to sunny spots and thus harvest. 

Overwintering cucamelons 

If you grew cucamelon plants, I bet you were not expecting these. They are perennials and supply large, radish-like roots. You can store like dahlias and start into growth the next spring season for earlier plants. It also means you miss out on their slow beginning to live.

In autumn, exposed the cucamelon plant roots to see if they have supplied tubers. Store these in moderately moist compost or Vermiculite in a frost-free place during the winter season.

Plant them up into containers in early to mid-April under glass. Container them into large containers in a cool greenhouse I do this or cucamelon plant outside in warmer areas.

Cucamelons can be nursed around the winter to give fruit year after year. Once the fruiting time is over, lift the cucamelon’s main root and store it in slightly moist compost in a garage or shed over the winter season. You can then cucamelon plant it out again in April to start all over again.

How to Prune an Indoor Cucamelon in a Pot?

During the growing spring season, the growth of cucamelon plants can become extreme and you will have to train the vines to go up and down, and through your trellis system. If any cucamelon leaves start to turn yellow during the spring season because of the lack of sunlight, you should instantly remove them. When the vine gets to 6 or 8 feet you should squeeze the end to stop it from growing in length. This supports the growth to concentrate on filling out one the vine that is already grown and also helps the cucamelon plant uses its energy for fruit production.

Suitable Fertilizer for Growing Cucamelons at Home

When flowers start to appear it is very best to fertilize your cucamelons with a plant compost tea, you should fertilize your cucamelon plant once a week during the growing spring season.                                        

If you can’t find any cucamelon plants compost organic manure and tea you could as another option use any fertilizer that is suited to tomato plants and also add a tablespoon of bone meal to the well-drained soil once a week for added benefit. You should avoid using fertilizers that have excessively high nitrogen content as they work well for cucamelon plant growth but do nothing to support fruit to grow and that is kind of the point when you grow a cucamelon fruit plant.

Common Pests and Diseases in Growing Cucamelons at Home

Cucamelon plants are pest-resistant. Healthy cucamelons can shift for oneself of the pests that affect cucumbers like Cucumis sativus, such as cucumber moth, whiteflies, and aphids. Using a trellis to grow the vines vertically helps protect many pests from snitching the fruit. Growing the vines vertically also helps to protect against slug damage.

Cucamelons are almost disease-resistant and are very less likely to interact with the diseases the affect cucumbers such as powdery mildew and downy mildew.

Root-knot nematodes have been known to attack the tuberous cucamelon root zone, so if you have these take action instantly as they are extremely hard to get purify once they have infested a patch of moist soil. Frequently times soil solarisation is one of the only ways to truly remove them, but you could also try growing mustard in the bottom as a bio-fumigant.

Harvesting Cucamelons

Fruits start to look just after 2 to 3 weeks of flowering. Pick them when they are very nice and firm, about one to one and a half-inch in length. Harvesting cucamelon plants is no different than picking cucumbers. They are also very easy to store, thanks to their very small size as long as you are going to stay them at room temperature, they are going to do just excellent. However, over the period, they’ll lose their crunchiness.

Harvesting cucamelon plants is just like plucking a cucumber from the vine. They pop off easily, and you can very easily harvest a container full in a short time. Once cucamelons are harvested, they store cute well. The fruits are remarkably robust for their size, and they don’t destroy easily. 

Cucamelons will stay for a long time at room temperature, but essential, they will dry out and start to shrivel. At that point, they’re still tasty, but they have lost their crunch. Once they’re past prime and a bit soft, cucamelon plants are still wonderfully infused in a bit of liqueur, where they spread their distinctive cucumber/lime taste. 

Commonly Asked Questions about Growing Cucamelons Plants at Home

Is Cucamelon perennial?

Cucamelon plant can act as a perennial if you are lucky sufficient to live in warm weather where they can supply tubers or radish-like roots. If you live in an area that doesn’t get much freeze, then you can over winter the cucamelon roots in place by insulating with 6 to 8 inches of straw organic matter and lightly moisten it.

How many Cucamelons does a plant produce?

If grown on a trellis, cucamelons are very great container plant. Unlike other vegetable vines, they are almost lightweight even fully loaded with fruit so there is very little risk of them toppling over. Plant one plant per container by using a general-purpose potting mix.

Do Cucamelon seeds need light to germinate?

In zones 3 to 6, cucamelon seeds should be sowed under grow sunlight or in a sunny spot window about six weeks before the last expected spring frost. Impatient gardeners might want to sow them very earlier to get ahead well-begin on the growing spring season.

How do you support Cucamelons?

Mix entire cucamelons fresh, lighten, or pickled into a bowl of olives and give out with drinks, or why not go the entire way and spear them with toothpicks and pop them in a martini. Try in salads, pickled whole, or why not explore their cocktail-increase prowess by adding to a gin and tonic or your Pimms.

How can I make natural fertilizer at home?

Pour the wastewater into your reserved container. Add all the fruit peels, banana peels, and other ingredients into the container. Ensure you cover it adequately to avoid any flies. Allot a time, eventually in the evening, to strain out the waste of food.

How do you treat cucumber disease?

Sadly, there is no cure for cucumber. Remove and destroy infected plants instantly. Focus on protecting it next year by planting only resistant varieties with the disease-resistance code on their seed packet. Well-drained soil solarisation can help kill the bacterium in the top few inches of soil.

What grows well with Cucamelon?

Both sweet corn and sunflowers can act as a treillage for cucumbers to the very best effect. Dill will help cucumbers by captivating predatory insects, and nasturtiums will better the flavour and growth of cucumbers.

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