Pumpkin Plant


Pumpkins are a warm-season annual that need from 90 to 120 frost-free days to succeed in harvest. Grow pumpkins within the warmest, frost-free a part of the year.

  • Sow pumpkins within the garden in spring when all danger of frost has passed and therefore the soil temperature has reached 65°F (18°C) and night air temperatures are above 55°F (13°C). In cool-summer regions grow smaller varieties.
  • Start pumpkins indoors 2 to three weeks before the typical last frost date in spring; transplant them into the garden 2 to three weeks after the last frost.


  • Plant pumpkins fully sun; pumpkins will tolerate partial shade but full sun is preferable.
  • Pumpkins grow best in loose, well-worked, well-drained soil rich in organic matter. Add aged compost to planting beds beforehand of sowing.
  • Pumpkins prefer a soil pH of 6.0 to 6.8.
  • Plant pumpkins on a hill mounded 6 inches or more above the garden. The mound will collect solar heat which can enhance growth. A mound 36 or more inches across will support three plants.
  • Work many aged compost and aged manure or commercial organic planting mix into Capitol Hill before planting.
  • Pumpkins require ample room for growth. Vining varieties sprawl and should require between 50 and 100 square feet of space. Bush varieties require less space than vining varieties.
  • Pumpkin vines planted on a mound are often trained in an ever-widening revolve around the mound.
  • Pumpkins can also be planted in beds covered with black plastic sheeting. The black plastic will warm the soil. Cut a hole within the plastic to plant seed or transplants.
Pumpkin seedlings

Pumpkins are often started indoors 2 to three weeks before the typical last frost date for transplanting out fortnight after the last frost.


  • Pumpkins are often started indoors 2 to three weeks before the typical last frost date in spring for transplanting into the garden 2 to three weeks after the last frost.
  • Start seeds in individual peat pots or biodegradable containers. The roots of pumpkin seedlings are very sensitive. Start seed indoors in peat pots then set individual pots and seedlings into the garden together at transplanting time.
  • Sow seed 1 inch (2.5cm) deep.
  • The seed will germinate in 5 to 10 days at 70°F (21°C).
  • Pumpkin seed coats are hard. to hurry germination soak seeds in warm water or 1 hour before planting. The long edges of seeds can also be lightly filed with a nail file; this may weaken the testa and speed germination.
  • Grow seedlings indoors under grow lights of fluorescent lights. Keep the soil evenly moist.
  • When transplanting seedlings to the garden confirm the rim of the peat pot isn’t exposed to the air or it’ll wick moisture faraway from the plant’s roots.


  • Direct sow pumpkin seeds within the garden 2 to three weeks after the typical last frost date when the soil temperature has reached 65°F (18°C) and night air temperatures stay above 55°F (13°C).
  • The optimal soil temperature for starting pumpkins within the garden is 70°F (21°C) or warmer.
  • Keep floating row covers handy to guard young plants against chilly night temperatures or unseasonal weather. Pumpkins are very sensitive to cold soil and frost.
  • In cool-summer regions grow smaller, quick-maturing varieties.
  • In warm-winter regions or extremely popular summer regions, plant pumpkins in late winter for harvest in late spring.
Pumpkins growing on mound

Plant pumpkins on a hill mounded 6 inches or more above the garden. The mound will collect solar heat which can enhance growth.


  • Plant pumpkins on raised mounds 6 to 12 inches (15-30cm) high a minimum of 24 to 36 inches (61-91cm) across. Larger is best. At the highest of the mound, you’ll remove an in. of soil to create up a rim around the fringe of the mound creating a basin for watering.
  • Space hills 6 to eight feet (1.8-2.4m) apart.
  • Sow pumpkin seeds 1 inch (2.5cm) deep.
  • Sow 6 to eight seeds on each hill.
  • When seedlings are 2 to three inches (5-7cm) tall, thin to the two or 3 strongest seedlings. stop thinned seedlings at the soil level to avoid disturbing the roots of the remaining plants.
  • Thinned seedlings should be spaced 18 to 36 inches (45-91cm) apart.
  • Pumpkins growing in rows should be spaced 24 inches (61cm) apart and rows should be 6 to 10 feet (1.8-3m) apart.
  • Grow 1 to 2 pumpkin plants per household member.


Pumpkins require an excellent amount of space then they’re not good candidates for container growing. However, you’ll grow a little, space-saving variety during a 10-gallon container. Train the vines to grow around the container. Keep the soil in containers evenly moist throughout the season. Feed plants compost tea or diluted fish emulsion every fortnight.

Companion plants

  • Plant pumpkins with corn. Avoid planting pumpkins with potatoes or squash.
  • Plant flowering herbs like dill or bee balm near pumpkins to draw in bees and other pollinators.

Female flowers appear on the plant after male flowers. Female flowers will bear an immature pumpkin beneath the blossom.


  • The first flowers to seem on the pumpkin plant are going to be male flowers that don’t bear fruit. Male flowers appear a few weeks before female flowers. They attract bees and other pollinators.
  • Female flowers appear on the plant after male flowers. Female flowers will bear an immature pumpkin beneath the blossom at the stem end of the flower. Female flowers must be pollinated by bees that first visit male flowers.
  • Plant flowering herbs like dill, bee balm, and marigolds on the brink of pumpkins to draw in bees and other pollinators.
  • If pollinators are briefly supplied, pumpkins are often hand-pollinated. Use a little artist’s brush to gather pollen from a male flower then brush the pollen onto the pistil at the middle of the feminine flower.
  • Pumpkin blossoms are usually open within the morning then draw in the afternoon during the warmest of the day.


  • Pumpkins require regular, even water to stay vines and fruiting growing without interruption. Give pumpkins 1 to 1½ inches of water hebdomadally (1 inch/2.5cm of water equals about 16 gallons/60.5 liters).
  • Do not let the soil dry out. Slow, deep watering is best.
  • Water at the bottom of plants using drip irrigation of a soaker hose. Avoid wetting leaves; wet leaves are vulnerable to fungal diseases.
  • Add aged compost and manure or commercial organic planting mix to the planting area before planting.
  • Feed pumpkins an organic high in phosphorus once plants are established; a 5-10-10 formula is sweet.
  • Side dress pumpkins with compost or manure tea or a dilute fish emulsion solution every fortnight during the season.
Pumpkin round at harvest

Turn pumpkins as they develop to encourage a good shape.


  • Keep the planting area weed-free. Weeds compete for soil moisture and nutrients and harbor pests and diseases which may attack pumpkins.
  • Allow just 2 or 3 fruits to mature on each plant.
  • Set developing fruits on tiles, sheets of plastic, or wooden shingles in order that they are doing not develop rot sitting on wet soil.
  • Turn pumpkins as they develop to encourage a good shape. A pumpkin that’s not turned may have a flattened side at harvest.
  • To grow pumpkins for giant size, choose two or three fruits early for development; remove the remaining fruit and vines.
  • When pumpkins have formed on a plant, pinch or nip the fuzzy end of every vine. this may stop vine growth and therefore the plant will put its energy into fruit growth. Vines without fruit are often pruned back to about 2 feet long.
  • Remove new female flowers from vines once two or three fruits are growing on a plant.


  • Pumpkins are often attacked by squash borers and cucumber beetles.
  • Squash vine borers will drill a little hole within the stem. Unexplained wilting may indicate the presence of borers. to get rid of a borer, slit the stem lengthwise, remove the borer, and crush it. Cover the slit stem with soil to encourage root development from that time.
  • Spotted and striped cucumber beetles chew holes in leaves and may spread bacterial wilt and other diseases. Handpick and destroy cucumber beetles or spray with neem or pyrethrum.
  • Squash borers or bacterial wilt can cause squash plants to suddenly wilt and die even as they start to supply.


  • Pumpkins are vulnerable to bacterial wilt, mosaic virus, and mildew. Plant disease-resistant varieties.
  • Keep the garden clean and free from debris where diseases and pests may harbor. Water at the bottom of plants to stay water off the foliage, and don’t handle plants once they are wet to avoid the spread of fungal spores.
  • Remove and destroy infected plants before they spread the disease to healthy plants.
  • Bacterial wilt is spread by cucumber beetles. Bacterial wilt will cause pumpkin plants to suddenly wilt and die even as they begin to supply pumpkins. Control the beetles to regulate the spread of disease.
  • The mosaic virus can cause squash plants to become mottled yellow and stunted. Mosaic virus is spread by aphids. Control aphids and take away affected plants.
  • Powdery mildew, a fungus disease, will cause leaves to show a gray-white color late within the season. Proper spacing and increased air circulation will help reduce this problem.


  • Pumpkins are going to be ready for harvest 95 to 120 days after sowing counting on the variability.
  • Pick pumpkins once they are deeply colored–deep orange or golden white–and stems and vines have dried and turned brown.
  • The rind should be hard, not easily penetrated by a fingernail.
  • Thump maturing pumpkins; a ripe pumpkin will sound hollow when thumped.
  • As pumpkins mature, remove leaves that shade the fruit to permit for max sun exposure.
  • As pumpkins near harvest, vines may begin to yellow and shrivel away.
  • Use shear to chop the vine; leave 2 to 4 inches (5-10cm) of stem attached to the pumpkin in order that the fruit doesn’t readily dry out or decay.
  • Harvest pumpkins before the primary freeze or they’re going to turn soft.
  • Seed saved from heirloom or open-pollinated pumpkins are often saved for up to six years for replanting.


  • Cure pumpkins in direct sun at 75° to 80°F (24-26°C) for two weeks before storing.
  • Store pumpkins at 50° to 55°F (10-13°C), in a dry, well-ventilated place.
  • Do not refrigerate pumpkins.
  • Cured pumpkins are often stored for 3 to six months.
  • Pumpkins in storage can shrink the maximum amount as 20 percent in weight but will still be suitable for cooking.
  • Pumpkin is often pureed and frozen for up to six months. Pumpkin can also be frozen or canned.
White pumpkin

‘Casper’ the white pumpkin


Grow small pumpkins for cooking; grow intermediate and large sizes for cooking and for making jack-o’-lanterns; grow extra-large pumpkins for an exhibition.

  • Extra-large (50 to 100 pounds): ‘Atlantic Giant’ (125 days); ‘Big Max’ (120 days); ‘Big Moon’ (120 days); ‘Mammoth King’ (120 days); ‘Prizewinner’ (120 days); ‘The Great Pumpkin’ (120 days).
  • Large (15 to 25 pounds, 100 days): ‘Aspen’ (93 days); ‘Connecticut Field’ (120 days); ‘Ghost Rider’ (115 days); ‘Half Moon’ (115 days); ‘Howden’ (115 days); ‘Pankow’s Field’ (120 days); ‘Pro Gold’ (95 days); ‘Tallman’ (110 days); ‘Wizard’ (115 days).
  • Intermediate (8 to 15 pounds): ‘Autumn Gold’ (90 days); ‘Big Autumn’ (100 days); ‘Jack O’Lantern’ (115 days); ‘Oz’ (105 days); ‘Small Sugar Pie’ (110 days); ‘Tom Fox’ (110 days); ‘Trick or Treat’ (105 days).
  • Small (4 to 6 pounds): ‘Bush Spirit’ (100 days); ‘Frosty’ (95 days), ‘Wee-B-Little’ (90 days).
  • Others: ‘Baby Bear’ (105 days); ‘Baby Boo’ (95 days); ‘Buckskin’ (110 days); ‘Casper’ (80 days); ‘Cushaw, Green Striped’ (110 days); ‘Gremlin’ (100 days); ‘Japanese Pumpkin’ (110 days); ‘Jarrahdale’ (110 days); ‘Lady Godiva’ (110 days); ‘Little Gem’ (110 days); ‘Little Lantern’ (100 days); ‘Long Cheese’ (120 days); ‘Lumina’ (110 days); ‘Munchkin’ (110 days); ‘Rouge D’Etampes’ (95-160 days); ‘Sweetie Pie’ (110 days).
Carved pumpkins Jack-o-Lantern

‘Autumn Gold’ and ‘Jack-o-Lantern’ are two varieties ideal for carving.


  • ‘Jack Be Little’ is a miniature pumpkin for table decoration.
  • ‘Wee-B-Little’ is an All-America Selection, the size of a baseball.
  • ‘Autumn Gold’ is ideal for carving a Jack-o-Lantern.
  • ‘Sugar Treat’ and ‘Baby Bear’ are excellent for pies.
  • ‘Atlantic Giant’ and ‘Big Max’ grow to 200 pounds by county fair time.

More varieties to grow: Pumpkin Varieties: Best Bets and Easy to Grow.


  • Pumpkins are tender squash-like annuals with smooth rinds scored with vertical grooves.
  • Fruits can range in size from a few ounces to hundreds of pounds and in color from deep orange to white. Some heirloom varieties can be swirled multi-colored.
  • Large, green leaves grow on branching vines that can reach 20 feet long.
  • Large male and female flowers grow on the same vine.
  • The name pumpkin is also given to other hard, orange squashes and gourds.
  • Botanical name: Cucurbita maximaCucurbita moschataCucurbita pepo
  • Origin: Tropical America

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