Learn how to grow pumpkins in pots, growing pumpkins in containers and pots is not difficult though it requires large containers and space. Check out!
Pumpkins are valued for their flavor and decorative appearance. Growing pumpkin in pots is not so difficult and does not require special care and in fact, it is a less demanding plant that adapts to any climate. Basically, an annual plant in the temperate zones, perennial in tropical ones.
You can grow pumpkins from seeds or else buy seedlings from a nursery. Best planting time for growing pumpkins is when the temperature exceeds above 65 F. In cooler climates it can be planted from April to late May. Whereas, in much warmer climates, it can be done until July. Moreover, if you live in a frost-free subtropical or tropical climate, you can grow it almost all the year.
Choosing a pot
Choose a large pot that is 10 gallons in size (for small pumpkin varieties), if you’re growing pumpkins in pots. For large cultivars, the bigger the pot the better, a 15-25-gallon pot that is 20-24 inches deep and wide is required. Also, ensure there is adequate drainage available to your pumpkin plants.
Small Pumpkin Varieties
Small pumpkin varieties like ‘Jack be little’, ‘Wee be little’, ‘Baby boo’, ‘Munchkin’, Pumpkin Hooligan’, ‘Mini-jack’, ‘Lil pump ke mon’ are most suitable for container gardening. However, you can also grow giant pumpkin varieties.
Requirements for Growing Pumpkins in Pots
Place it in the sunniest location possible; remember that even the smallest pumpkin varieties need lots of sunlight to grow. Your plant should receive at least six hours of sunlight per day. The shadow will slow their growth and moisture will remain on the plant, thus resulting the mildew.
Also, pumpkin needs a warm climate and plenty of room for growth. Still, you can even try growing dwarf pumpkins on a balcony or roof garden. Even if growing in a limited space, provide proper air circulation around the plant.
In cold climates, pumpkins grow best in a soil that heats up easily. Potting mix you use must be well-draining, have high humus content and slight water retaining capacity, too. Also, pumpkins require a lot of compost or manure, so additionally at the time of planting, you can add a lot of organic content. The ideal soil pH for growing pumpkins should be around 6 – 7.2.
Like all the gourds and melons, pumpkins require plenty of water and moist soil, so deep and regular watering is essential. Always, at the time of watering, avoid wetting the foliage.
You’ll need to install a strong and big trellis to support pumpkins vines. An A-shape trellis is good one. Make sure to keep the trellis away from the wall to avoid diseases. As the pumpkin vine begins to grow, train it to climb on the structure by carefully moving it through it.
Pumpkin Plant Care
Do mulching, once your plants are grown a few inches tall. Mulching will reduce the amount of water evaporate and helps in retaining the soil moisture.
Pumpkin plants are heavy feeders, they require a lot of fertilization. First of all, it’s important to have rich and fertile soil to get bigger and more meaty pumpkins. Best to use 10-10-10 balanced fertilizer in the early stage of growth. Later, the amount of nitrogen to be applied must be reduced. Switching to a low nitrogen fertilizer that is rich in potassium and phosphorus like 5-15-15 fertilizer in every other week (when the plant has grown and big enough to produce flowers) is a good idea.
Pests and Diseases
Pumpkin is a robust plant still it suffers from a few diseases, especially powdery mildew. In pests, you should keep eyes on common garden pests like aphids, flea beetles, and worms.
Pumpkins are ready for harvest within 90-120 days after planting (depending on the varieties and growing conditions). Green and unripe pumpkins are also picked to use in recipes and in many cuisines. But to pick matured pumpkins, see if it hardens and takes on a uniform and intense color (orange for most common varieties). Press the pumpkin with your thumb; If the bark is hard and it sounds hollow, it is the time to pick the fruit. The bark should also resist the nail pressure. Roughly speaking, one must count about 100 days between planting pumpkin and harvest at full maturity.
To pick the pumpkin, remove it carefully from the branch using pruning shears or a sharp knife. Do not cut too close to the fruit, however; to extend the shelf life, leave a long stem (about 10 cm). Store your pumpkin in a dry, cool and dark area.
A Few Tips
- It is better if you’ll plant pumpkins directly in pots. If sowing seeds indoors, choose biodegradable pots, this way you’ll be able to transplant the seedlings without disturbing the roots.
- Male flowers start to bloom first, they attract pollinators and last one day. After that female flowers open, these have a small swelling at the base of the bloom.
- If there are no bees or other pollinators, to allow the plant to set fruits and to get the ample harvest, you may need to hand pollinate the male and female flowers.
- Don’t allow the plant to set too many fruits.
- As the fruits are heavy you’ll need to support them from netting or old stockings.