Do Watermelons Grow Well in Pots?
Watermelons grow well in pots if you select the right variety, use a large enough container filled with good soil and find a location that gets enough sun.
Watermelon varieties that produce smaller fruits are the best selections for container gardening. They include:
- Watermelon ‘Sugar Baby’ – compact plant produces small round melons with red flesh, small black seeds and dark green skin.
- Watermelon ‘Crimson Sweet’ – disease-resistant plant produces extra sweet melons with red flesh, small black seeds and striped skin.
- Watermelon ‘Jubilee’ – traditional super sweet melons with red flesh, black seeds and striped skin.
- Watermelon ‘Moon & Stars Yellow’ – oval melons with yellow flesh, white seeds and unusual deep green skin with yellow speckles.
- Watermelon ‘Early Moonbeam’ – compact plant produces charming round melons with yellow flesh, black seeds and striped skin.
- Watermelon ‘Jade Star’ – super sweet round melons with deep red flesh, black seeds and dark green skin.
- Watermelon ‘Mini Love’ – compact plant with small round striped melons, red flesh with black seeds.
Planting Watermelon in Pots
The first thing to know about planting watermelon in pots is that you should always start them from seeds. Young watermelon plants have very tender roots that are easily damaged when transplanted. When getting ready to plant your watermelon seeds, pay attention to the length of the seeds. You’ll want to plant them in a hole that is around three times deeper than the seed’s length. Plant three seeds per container, each in its own hole. When the seedlings appear and are doing well, thin the plants, leaving only the healthiest one in each pot.
Growing Watermelon in Containers
Growing watermelon in pots or other containers requires some daily maintenance. Watermelon plants in containers need to be watered every day to produce juicy, healthy fruits. If the temperature in your area stays below 80 degrees, a deep watering once daily should be enough. For warmer environments, you may need to water in the morning and evening.
Because nutrients in container soil tend to leach out more quickly than they do in a garden, and because watermelon plants need those nutrients to produce fruit, you may need to apply liquid fertilizer or compost weekly. Be careful, as over-fertilization can damage your plants. For helpful information about feeding plants in containers, the University of Minnesota’s Extension Office offers some helpful tips. Also, be sure to follow the label instructions when applying fertilizer.
How to Grow Watermelons in a Small Space
To grow watermelons in a small space, you sometimes need to do a bit of engineering. Installing a trellis is a good solution. As your plants grow, train them by intertwining the vines into your trellis. Also, even the smaller watermelon varieties produce heavy fruit. You may need to provide the melons with some support as they mature on the vine.
You can make watermelon hammocks out of materials that stretch, like old t-shirts, plastic mesh or hosiery. Tie the ends of the material to the trellis on either side of the melon, then rest the fruit in the middle. As the melon grows and becomes heavier, the material stretches with it and provides continuous support.
Enjoy Your Fresh Watermelon!
Even with limited gardening space, you can grow your own watermelon using these tips and enjoy the fresh fruit on those hot summer days. If you have bright sunlight, are willing to feed and water regularly, and provide your plants with the means to grow vertically, you’re good to go. You can expect to get two to four watermelons per plant when they mature.
2 thoughts on “Tips for Growing Watermelon in Containers”
I’m trying to grow “early girl” watermelon in Fairbanks Alaska.
We get lots of sun, temps are low.
They are supposed to produce in 65 days.
I’ve planted them in containers with lots of fertilizer.
One thing for you to consider: while watermelon plants may survive a cold snap as low as 40°F, they grow best when temperatures are consistently in the range of 70-95°F. You mention that the temperatures in your area are low, so try to grow your watermelon plants in the warmest, sunniest location you can provide. A location that receives at least 8 hours of direct sun each day is ideal. Even though little early melons have a short harvest season, they still need warm weather to grow and set flowers, and for melons to develop properly. Melon sweetness is also affected by sunlight.
If you are growing your plants in the ground, one technique for raising the temperature around melon plants is to cover rows using black landscape fabric and cut holes where you want to plant. The black fabric will elevate the temperature around the plants and help keep the ground temperature warm as well.