Learn all about How to Grow Watermelon in a Pot Vertically and enjoy this plump, sweet and juicy fruit in the smallest of spaces.
Do you know the supermarket melons don’t taste like the homegrown fresh and organic ones? You can even plant them in a small space like a balcony! Here’s everything on How to Grow Watermelon in Pot Vertically!
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Propagation and Planting Watermelon in Pot
Watermelon has a long taproot, and it doesn’t transplant well. It is better to sow the seeds directly in a pot. Plant 3-4 seeds directly in the desired pot once the temperature reaches 65 F (19 C) and above in the spring.
In warm, non-freezing climates (USDA Zone 10-11), the best time to sow seeds is in winter and early to mid-spring. The germination takes place within 6 to 12 days. Once the new saplings grow, thin out and leave only the most robust ones per pot.
Best Pot for Growing Watermelon
Growing watermelon in containers is not much difficult though tricky. You need to understand the basics. As watermelon has a long taproot choosing a deep pot is essential. A large pot or bucket that is at least 2 feet deep and half wide is required.
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Top Watermelon Varieties to Grow in Pot
Gold In Gold, Golden Midget, Belle 460, Golden Sunrise, Gold-N-Sweet, Jenny, New Hampshire Golden Midget, Precious Petite, Red Doll, and Solitaire are the best to grow in containers.
Requirements for Growing Watermelon in Containers
Watermelons should be grown in a sunny position. If you’re growing it on a balcony or on a roof garden where space is limited, growing watermelon vertically on a trellis is a good option. The trellis should be a minimum of 4 feet tall and sturdy enough to carry the weight of melons. You can check out these DIY trellis ideas for help.
Watermelons are warm-weather annuals, but they can easily be planted in tropical and temperate regions. It is possible to grow watermelons at temperatures around 50-95 F (10-35 C). The optimum growing temperature is around 65-85 F (18-30 C).
Sandy and loamy soils are suitable for planting watermelons. An airy and well-drained substrate promotes the growth of the plant. The ideal soil pH is around 6 to 6.8. Avoid compact, clayey soils.
Also, the application of well-rotted horse, rabbit, or cow manure improves the texture of the soil and provides nutrients constantly.
Watermelon requires a lot of water, which is why it is essential to keep the soil evenly moist all the time but not super wet, and the water must drain freely from the bottom.
When growing watermelon in containers in full sun, you’ll need to water the plant every day and sometimes twice on a warm day in summer. Once the fruits start to swell up and mature, reduce the watering.
In that period, water carefully and moderately. Avoid over or underwatering to get the sweetest melons.
Watermelon Plant Care
Start to fertilize the plant with a liquid fertilizer. Once the plant starts to flower and appears to set fruits, use a fertilizer with less nitrogen. You can consider liquid seaweed fertilizer.
To get a healthy and more productive plant, only allow the main vine to grow. When the plant is young, remove side branches before they grow more. Also, remove the stems that are damaged and diseased.
The watermelon vine produces both male and female flowers separately. However, pollinators (bees and butterflies) will pollinate them, but to be sure, you’ll need to hand-pollinate the flowers to get more fruits.
The first fruits appear approximately 40 days after the pollination of flowers.
Pests and Diseases
Watermelons are prone to diseases when exposed to too hot-humid or cold weather or to waterlogged soil. Common garden pests like aphids, cucumber beetles, and those that affect the squashes and cucumbers can infect it.
The harvesting period depends on the climate, season, and variety. It usually begins 80-90 days after seed sowing and between 30 to 60 days after flowering. Flowering and fruit setting continue for several weeks until the weather remains favorable, and you’ll get several harvests.
To see if the fruit is ripe, you should knock with your fingers on the surface of the watermelon. If you hear a dead, hollow sound, this means that the fruit is already ripe. Another method is to check the tendril; if it is fading and half-dead, your watermelon is almost ripe. If it is faded, the fruit is ripe or overripe.
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How Many Watermelons Can You Harvest Per Pot?
It mainly depends on the variety, pot size, and growing conditions. However, you can expect anywhere between 3-7 watermelons per pot on average.
Helpful Watermelon Growing Tips
- Start the seeds indoors or in a greenhouse early in cool and short summer climates, either directly in a container or a biodegradable pot.
- Use a lot of organic matter for growing watermelons in containers as they are heavy feeders. Side dress your potted melon plant with manure or compost every 3-4 weeks. Scrap and remove topsoil if there is no space in the container.
- Stress (change in temperature, pests and diseases, overwatering, and lack of water) to the plant at the time when fruits are maturing results in less flavorsome and sweet fruits.
- In small areas, growing melons vertically on a trellis is a great way to save space. Use netting, a bag, or a stretchable cloth to create a hammock under the fruit to support it.
- The trick for getting the best quality fruits is not letting the plant set many fruits. Just 2-4 fruits simultaneously for large fruit varieties and 4-6 fruits for the smaller ones is sufficient.
- Do successive planting for regular harvests. Plant 2-4 plants and do the same after two weeks.