A picture of a Watermelon

Watermelon

Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus

Full Sun
Easy care
Moderate watering
Tender

H1c-H1b

RHS hardiness

5°C

Minimum temperature

Expected size

Height
Spread

30cm

Max

5m

15cm

Min

2m

100 days to reach maturity

Fruiting

  • spring
  • summer
  • autumn
  • winter

Fruits are picked when they are fully ripe. Rolling the melon over and looking at the ground spot where the melon was laying is probably the best method to determine if the melon is ripe. If that portion of the watermelon is a pale yellow color, the melon should be ripe. You can also look at the tendrils (short, curly, stem-like vine) next to the melon. The tendrils are close to the area where a leaf is attached to the main vine. When the first tendril next to the fruit looks dead and dried up, the melon closest to that tendril should be ripe. Watermelons will store longer than other melons and should be refrigerated, especially after cut. Matures in 80-100 days after sowing.

More images of Watermelon

A photo of Watermelon
A photo of Watermelon

Watermelon Overview

Watermelon is a spreading trailing plant that produces large round to oblong fruits with a mottled or striped green skin. Watermelon flesh can be red, orange, yellow or white depending on the variety. Watermelon is grown in tropical and subtropical areas worldwide for its large edible fruit, which is a special kind of berry with a hard rind and no internal division, botanically called a pepo. The sweet, juicy flesh is usually deep red to pink, with many black seeds, although seedless varieties have been cultivated. Watermelons are tender and need a long warm growing season to produce its fruit. Watermelon fruit is 91% water, contains 6% sugars, and is low in fat. In a 100 gram serving, watermelon fruit supplies 30 calories and low amounts of essential nutrients, only vitamin C is present in appreciable content at 10% of the Daily Value.

Common problems with Watermelon

Major pests of the watermelon include aphids, fruit flies and root-knot nematodes. In conditions of high humidity, the plants are prone to plant diseases such as powdery mildew and mosaic virus. Some varieties often grown in Japan and other parts of the Far East are susceptible to fusarium wilt. Grafting such varieties onto disease-resistant rootstocks offers protection.

Watermelon Companion Plants

Growing maize between your rows of watermelons will help protect the leaves from wind damage and help keep moisture levels.

How to propagate Watermelon

Seed

Sow seeds in Spring, 2.5 cm deep, 12-200 cm apart and in rows 2.4 m apart. Keep the soil moist. Germination takes 5-8 days.

Special features of Watermelon

Crop rotation

To reduce insect and disease problems, avoid planting cucumber family crops (melons, squash, pumpkins) in the same spot two years in a row.

Other uses of Watermelon

Edible

The huge fruits are edible and best eaten fresh. A wonderful thirst quencher on a hot summers day or added to salads, deserts and even made into jams. The rind is edible after cooking.