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Growing Watermelon in Pots from Seeds – a Full Guide

Introduction to growing Watermelon in pots

Growing Watermelon in pots is an excellent way for a gardener with limited space. Whether you are doing balcony gardening or are simply looking for a better way to use the limited space you have, container growing Watermelons are possible. In this article we also discuss below topics;

  • How long do Watermelons take to grow
  • Watermelon plant care
  • Growing Watermelon from seed
  • Growing Watermelon in the balcony
  • Tips for Growing Watermelon in pots
  • Growing Watermelon vertically
  • Different varieties of Watermelons
  • Growing Watermelon problems
  • How to make Watermelons grow faster

A step by step guide to growing Watermelon in pots

It is possible to grow Watermelons using a pot in an apartment or if you have a conservatory you can easily grow a bumper crop in a container. To grow a Watermelon indoors simply use seeds from a store-bought Watermelon. Plant them in a 5-gallon container with general potting soil and use a trellis system so your plant grows up the way. If the plants get less than 8 hours of sunlight using an LED grow lamp on a timer to top up the light. By understanding how to grow Watermelon in containers successfully just requires a little bit of knowledge. If you follow this information you will be able to grow a Watermelon in pots successfully;

What variety of Watermelon is best suited for growing indoors?

When you are growing Watermelon plants indoors it is a good idea to pick a variety that is suited to your local climate and with a short growing season. Container approved Watermelon varieties are given below;

Some Watermelon varieties ideal for indoor growth includes Jubilee Watermelon, Golden Midget, Solitaire, Orange Sweet, Millennium Watermelon, Jade Star, Moon, and Stars Watermelon, Sugar Baby Watermelon, Crimson Sweet Watermelon, and Early Moonbeam. Be sure to do your research and then pick a variety suited to your local climate.

Soil suitable for growing Watermelons

Sandy and loamy soil are suitable for growing Watermelon plants. The ideal soil pH level is around 6 – 6.8. Avoid compact and clayey soils. Airy and well-drained substrate promotes the growth of the Watermelon plant. Also, the application of the well-rotted horse, rabbit, and cow manure improves the texture of soil and provides nutrients constantly.

Choosing a pot for growing Watermelon

Growing Watermelon in pots is not much difficult though tricky. First, you need to understand the basics. As Watermelon has a long taproot choosing a deep pot is necessary. A large pot that is at least 2 feet deep and half wide is required.

How to germinate Watermelon seeds

To prepare Watermelon seeds for indoor germination remove your seeds and give them a rinse to remove any remaining fruit and leave them to dry.

Fertilize the pot or container before planting the seeds to encourage quick seed germination. Push your Watermelon seeds into the soil but not too deep, only push them between half an inch and an inch deep into the soil. Keep your Watermelon planted seeds somewhere warm until the shoots begin to show.

If you keep your Watermelon seeds at 32°C it will take approximately 3 days for germination to occur and if you keep your seeds at 21°C it will take approximately 10 days. Not all Watermelon seeds will germinate so you should attempt to germinate more than you require then only keeps the ones that are doing best.

Providing support for Watermelon vines

Growing Watermelon on a trellis saves space and efficiently utilizes the available vertical area. This method of Watermelon vine support brings the plant closer to the light source. Watermelon will not self-cling and the vines require mesh or lattice and soft ties for support. Then, attach wire fencing around the pot, fasten a sturdy wooden trellis to a nearby wall, and train the vines to climb wires attached to the pot edges and secured at the top to a pole buried in the center of a large pot. Whatever support you select, make it strong since melons are heavy and the Watermelon vines are vigorous climbers.

Growing conditions for Watermelon

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Growing conditions for Watermelon.
Growing conditions for Watermelon.

Place your Watermelon bed in a sunny location with well-drained, loose, rich soil that has a pH level between 6.0 and 6.8. Give Watermelons at least 6 to 8 feet of space between plants because planting them too close discourages the growth of large melons and encourages vegetation growth. The best temperatures for growing Watermelons are between 21 and 32°C, but above this temperature range, the plants could drop their flowers.

Successfully growing Watermelons in pots start before you even plant Watermelon seed. You need to select a pot that will be large enough for your container Watermelon to thrive. Watermelons grow rapidly and need plenty of water, so it is recommended that you go with a 5-gallon (19 kg) or larger size container. Make sure the container you will be growing Watermelons in has enough drainage holes. Fill the Watermelon container with potting soil or soilless mix. Do not use dirt from the garden. This will compact quickly in the container and make growing Watermelons in containers difficult.

The spacing of Watermelon seeds

For the most part, allow about 3 feet in distance for small bushing type Watermelons or 12 feet for giant ramblers. General guidelines for common varieties of Watermelon are to plant 3 seeds 1 inch deep in hills that are spaced 4 feet apart, and allowing 6 feet between rows.

What temperature is best for indoor Watermelon plants?

Watermelon plants are tropical plants so they do love hot weather.  The ideal temperature for growing Watermelons indoors is between 21 and 32°C. If you love Watermelons and don’t have that sort of temperature don’t worry because it is possible to grow them in temperatures between 10°C and 35°C. So Watermelons are incredibly versatile and grow in most climates.

Growing Watermelon from seeds

Step 1) Only Use Fresh Watermelon Seeds – Watermelon seeds rank as one of the easiest seeds to collect and also save from ripe fruit. Simply scoop the seeds out of a Watermelon, rinse them under water to remove any fruit pieces and fruit juices, and let them air-dry on a paper towel. In general, Watermelon seeds stay viable for approximately 4 years. Though, the longer you wait, the lower your chances of optimal germination. For the best results, plant Watermelon seeds as soon as you harvest the fruits. When buying commercial packets of Watermelon seeds, check the expiration date to ensure the four-year limit hasn’t passed.

Step 2) Remove the container holding the Watermelon seeds from the refrigerator and allow it to warm up before opening the top. Then, this will prevent moisture from the air from being attracted to cold seeds.

Step 3) Watermelon plants are very frost sensitive and exposure to cold temperature levels can quickly kill them. Get a head start on the growing season by planting Watermelon seeds in peat pots indoors approximately 3 to 4 weeks before the last frost date in your region.

Step 4) Plant the Watermelon seeds in your garden after the soil warm and keep the garden watered and fertilized. Once all risks of frost have passed, then you can transplant the Watermelon seedlings into the ground. Then, this helps you to be able to enjoy the fruits of your harvest weeks earlier.

Step 5) Pick your Watermelon when the pale spot on the bottom turns yellow or creamy white color, or when the tendrils on the vine begin to wither and brown.

Watermelon plant care tips

Mulching with black plastic around the plants will serve multiple purposes. That means, it will warm the soil, hinder weed growth, and keep developing fruits of the soil.

Pruning isn’t necessary for Watermelon plants, but vine productivity may be improved if you do not allow lateral (side) vines to grow and stick to the main vine. When the Watermelon plant is young, just cut off the end buds as they form (before the side shoots become Watermelon vines). You can also pinch off some blossoms to focus the energy on fewer Watermelons (though it’s a challenge to kill off a potential fruit).

Watermelon plant pollination

Generally, Watermelon plants cannot produce fruits without pollination as it is an essential step in producing seeds. Pollination is the procedure in which pollen can be transferred to the female reproductive organs of the plant. The plant has both male and female flowers and can be pollinated without the help of other plants. When pollination of flowers is done, fruits may appear after 40 days.

Common garden Watermelon pests and diseases

Common garden Watermelon pests like fruit flies, aphids, beetles, and spider mites affect plant growth. Seedlings can be destroyed and also cause rotting and withering of roots and stems. Prepare organic compost at home and apply it to melons prone to pests. You will be surprised to see the result as pests start moving away from Watermelons.

Watermelon plants may prone to little diseases when exposed to too hot-too cold conditions or due to waterlogged soil. Diseases such as powdery mildew, anthracnose, fusarium wilt, and bud necrosis are due to an insufficient amount of nutrients supplied to the plants. Watermelon plants with rich nutrients will help to prevent them from these fungal diseases and boosts plant growth.

The procedure of Watermelon harvesting

The harvesting period in Watermelon depends on climate, season, and variety. You can harvest melons after 80-90 days from seed sowing and 30 to 50 days after flowering. Watermelon flowering and fruit set continues until the weather remains favorable.

Ripe Watermelon fruits have no change in color and smell of the hard skin. To check whether the Watermelon fruit ripens or not, knock with fingers on the surface of melon. If you hear the hollow dead sound then it is a damaged or ripened Watermelon fruit.

Watermelons require 80 to 100 days to reach maturity. Signs that the fruit is ready for harvest to include stopping of plant growth, yellowing underside, and shriveling of the stem at the base of the fruit. To harvest the Watermelon, snip the stem from the vine with shears.

Commonly asked questions about growing Watermelon

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Questions about growing Watermelon.
Questions about growing Watermelon.
How long does it take for Watermelons to mature?

Watermelons need long growing season and warm climatic conditions for the seeds to grow and then germinate. Soil temperature must be 21°C during seed plantation.  They are ready to harvest when the melon fruit turns yellow at the bottom and stem changes to brown color.

 How far do Watermelon roots grow?

After planting Watermelons either from seeds or stem cuttings the roots may reach a height of 4-8 feet in length. Root depth may increases up to 2 feet tall but only on absorbing some area filled with moist rich soil. When the roots spread completely it can reach a height of 5 feet.

Why has my Watermelon stopped growing?

There are mainly three factors that will cause the growth of Watermelons to come slow down (or stop). They are cool temperatures (below 15ºC), too much water or too little water. When Watermelons don’t get enough water they stop growing.

Why Watermelon leaves wilting?

If Watermelon leaves are wilting, this might indicate that there is a fungal problem coming from the soil. Fusarium wilt of Watermelon causes plants to wilt, and it can begin in one or more vines. Pull out a plant and look for any browning or discoloration at the base or on the plant roots.

What causes Watermelon leaves to curl?

Watermelon leaf curl is also known as squash leaf curl or Watermelon curly mottle, is a viral disease that is spread from plant to plant by the saliva and piercing mouthparts of the insect vectors whiteflies. Infected plants can be stunted and produce little or no fruit.

How many Watermelons do you get per plant?

Healthy Watermelon vines produce 2 to 4 fruits per plant.

How do you make Watermelon grow faster?

To maximize or increase the size of the Watermelons, water the plants at the base in regular, deep-watering sessions that keep the soil moist. Side dress the plants with a fertilizer designed for edible crops or compost tea to feed the plants. The fertilizer encourages growth to get larger Watermelons.

How long does it take Watermelon to produce fruit?

The time it takes for a Watermelon to mature can be 65 to 90 days after planting. Once the fruit sets to tiny marble-sized Watermelons, it only takes up to 45 days for those tiny melons to develop into Watermelons 10 pounds in size or more.

Why Watermelon plant leaves turn yellow?

Whiteflies can be the reason for cantaloupe leaves to turn a yellow color. They weaken the Watermelon plants by sucking the sap of it and excreting the sticky honeydew that grows as the black mold. Sometimes lack of water, sunlight, and nutrient deficiency can be the reason for your Watermelon plant leaves to turn yellow.

How to grow seedless Watermelon?

Seedless Watermelons grow from the seeds only and these seeds are produced by crossing the diploid and tetraploid lines of Watermelon in which the resulting seeds produce sterile triploid plants. Watermelon fruit is developed by the pollination purpose to grow these plants along a diploid strain to provide pollen.

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