Watermelons are an all-time favorite with their sweet and juicy goodness – and they are easy to grow even if you have limited space. Learn how to grow watermelon in a container by choosing the right type, how to care for your watermelon plants as they grow, and use it to make a delightful recipe.
While watermelons aren’t necessarily the healthiest of fruits, they are one of the tastiest and fun to grow in the garden. If you think that you cannot enjoy these refreshing fruits because you have a small space, think again. Some watermelon plants produce small fruits the size of a cantaloupe and are perfect for container gardening.
There are many reasons to grow fruits and veggies in containers, whether you have a small backyard or live in an area with only a porch or balcony. Fortunately, watermelon plants grow well in pots or raised beds as long as the container is large enough and you give them what they want to thrive.
- Container Gardening with Watermelons
- Things to Know before Growing Watermelon in Containers
- How to Grow Watermelon in Containers Indoors
- How to Grow Watermelon in a Container Outside
- Caring for Watermelon Plants as They Grow
- Common Problems While Growing Watermelons
- When are Watermelons Ready for Harvesting?
- How to Make Gazpacho with Fresh Watermelons
Container Gardening with Watermelons
There are many different types of watermelon. Discover which ones are perfect for growing in a small space. Learn how to start watermelon seeds indoors, grow watermelon plants in a container, and harvest them at the end of the growing season.
Things to Know before Growing Watermelon in Containers
There are different types of watermelon, and some of them are not good choices for DIY container gardening, like when growing pumpkins in pots. Find out which varieties are ideal for growing watermelon in containers and the conditions they desire for optimal growth.
Note that there are many fruit trees you can grow in pots, in addition to fruits like watermelon. Can you grow watermelon in a container? Yes, but it’s essential to choose the right melon type since some watermelons grow too large for growing in pots.
Suitable watermelon types include Sugar Baby, Crimson Sweet, Golden Midget, Early Moonbeam, Jubilee, Solitaire, and Millennium watermelons. These are all compact plants that grow well in container gardens.
The type of container you choose is also crucial, whether you grow strawberries in a container or watermelon. A small watermelon cultivar grows ideally in a large container of at least five gallons. Make sure it has drainage holes to prevent root rot.
Watermelons grow ideally in sandy-loam, well-drained soil, so choose the potting mix accordingly. They also want eight to ten hours of full sun every day to produce fruit.
How to Grow Watermelon in Containers Indoors
Watermelons have a long growing season, and they need plenty of time to grow when you start them from seeds to ensure they reach maturity before the fall frost. Here is how to grow watermelon in containers by sowing seeds indoors.
To prepare watermelon seeds for planting, fill seed starting pots or a tray with potting soil or soilless mix and press the watermelon seeds into the dirt, so it is three times deeper than it is long.
Water the seed immediately and place the tray in a sunny area of your home to keep the soil temperature warm. Spray the plants to keep the dirt damp and not soggy to encourage germination and do not let them dry out.
How to Grow Watermelon in a Container Outside
The easiest way to grow plants is to purchase young plants from the garden center. However, if you’re growing watermelon in a container by starting the seeds indoors, they require transplanting into a larger container when you move them outside.
It’s also vital to acclimate them to their new growing conditions beforehand. Here is how to safely move your watermelon plants outdoors.
The first step in transplanting your watermelon plants is to harden them off outside in the spring after the last frost. Take them outside each day for a week. Set the plants in the shade for a couple of hours the first few days and then gradually move them to a full sun location by the end of the week.
Fill a five-gallon container with potting soil and make a hole in the center that is slightly larger than the seedling’s original pot. Carefully remove the plant from the first container and set it into the hole. Push dirt around the base, pat it down, and water it to help the roots settle.
To stop weeds from growing and hold in moisture, spread mulch around the base of the plant. Position a trellis in the container right after your transplant the seedling. While the plant is still too young to want support, it’s best to install the trellis now to not disturb the roots later.
Learn what to plant with watermelon even if they grow in containers. Take advantage of mutually beneficial plant properties by growing dill or marigolds nearby.
Caring for Watermelon Plants as They Grow
Watermelons are heavy feeders and need a lot of water to thrive. They also require some support as they produce fruit. Here is how to care for your plants while growing watermelon in containers.
Melons are thirsty plants and want water daily when growing in containers. Feed them an organic cantaloupe plant fertilizer once a week. They also need some help from you to climb up a trellis. Train the vines up the support as they grow to help them along.
If you’re growing your melons in an urban setting, you may not have the necessary pollinators to move the pollen from the male flowers to the female flowers. Pollination is essential for fruit formation, and pollinating the flowers with your hands is sometimes necessary. Use a Q-tip or paintbrush to transfer pollen from one flower to the other.
As the fruit grows, it needs extra support from a hammock. Pantyhose are made from a flexible material that works well for this. Tie each end to the trellis, and the hammock stretches as the fruit grows.
Common Problems While Growing Watermelons
You go through the steps of sowing watermelon seeds, transplanting the seedlings into a container, and giving the plant the care it enjoys. However, nature is unpredictable, and not everything goes as planned. Here are some common problems to watch for when planting watermelon in containers.
One of the most troublesome problems while gardening is garden pests, like cucumber beetles and aphids. If left unchecked, these insects quickly destroy all the hard work you put into growing your own food. Remove the bugs by hand once you notice them and use insecticidal soap to kill them.
Another issue to deal with is plant disease. Getting rid of fungal and bacterial diseases is challenging, and the simplest way to avoid them is to prevent them.
When planting watermelons in a container, do not use dirt from the garden since the soil may be contaminated, and always water your plants at ground level to avoid splashing dirt and water on the leaves.
When are Watermelons Ready for Harvesting?
Learning how to grow watermelon in containers is great, but how long do watermelon plants take to produce fruits, and when is the best time to harvest them? Explore how long these fruits take to grow and how to pick them at the end of the season. Harvesting watermelon is the best part of the job.
Since there are many varieties of watermelons, it’s essential to check the seed pack when planting them for the proper harvest time. However, many types are usually ready to pick after 80 days. If you wait too long to harvest them, the texture is mealy, and picking them too soon gives you unripe melons.
First, check the tendril closest to where the fruit attaches to the vine. If it’s brown and shriveled, the watermelon is ready. If the fruit is resting on the deck or patio, check the bottom of the rind.
A green or white spot means it’s not ripe, while a yellow patch means it’s ready to pick. To harvest the melons, use garden shears to cut the fruit from the vine.
To store watermelon, cut it up and put it in a covered bowl in the fridge or freeze watermelon cubes for smoothies later.
How to Make Gazpacho with Fresh Watermelons
Adding fresh watermelon to gazpacho is not as strange as it sounds. Combining tomatoes and cucumbers with watermelon makes a refreshing summer soup, and it’s a great way to use fruits and veggies you grow in the garden.
Blend the melon cubes in a blender and pour the puree into a large bowl. Peel the cucumber, cut it in half, and remove the seeds. Roughly chop the cucumber halves into smaller pieces and place them into the blender.
Chop the tomato and shallots into quarters, and add them to the cucumbers. Add the basil leaves and blend the veggies until smooth. Pour the mixture into the bowl of watermelon puree, add the red wine vinegar and salt, and stir everything until well mixed. Refrigerate the gazpacho for two to three hours until chilled.
Watermelon vines and fruits are the last things we think about when growing plants on a patio. However, watermelons are happy to grow in a container as long as you pick a suitable cultivar. Give these plants the care they love, and they reward you with ripe fruits at the end of the season.
Knowing how to grow watermelon in a container means that you can produce fruit in a limited space, and we’d love it if you’d share our watermelon container garden guide and tips with your friends on Facebook and Pinterest, so they get to grow their own watermelons at home.