Growing Pumpkins in Containers is rewarding and lets you enjoy a fresh harvest year-round. Learn how to grow it easily in this article!
Pumpkin is valued for its flavor and decorative appearance. Growing Pumpkins in Containers is not so difficult and does not require special care, and in fact, it is a less demanding vegetable that adapts to any climate!
Check out some awesome Pumpkin planter ideas here
Growing Pumpkins in Containers
You can grow pumpkins from seeds or buy seedlings from a nursery. In really cool climates, it can be planted from April to late May. Whereas, in slightly warmer climates, it can be done until July. If you live in a frost-free subtropical or tropical climate, you can grow it most of the time of year.
Choosing a Pot
Choose a large pot that is 10 gallons in volume or at least 16 to 20 inches (for small pumpkin varieties). For large cultivars, the bigger the pot, the better! Just make sure it has a drainage hole at the bottom.
Best Pumpkin Varieties for Pots
Small pumpkin cultivars are most suitable for container gardening and mini raised beds. However, you can also grow giant pumpkin varieties. Some of the best ones are listed below:
- The First Pumpkin: This is an heirloom variety that was initially used to feed cows, and in modern times, it is now used to prepare delicious pie pumpkins.
- Lumina Pumpkin: It is similar to the ‘New Moon’ variety. Lumina bears white-colored pumpkins that have smooth skin.
- Porcelain Doll: This variety bears fruits that are unusually pink in color. The medium-sized pumpkin contains bright orange-colored flesh.
- Goosebumps: It initially has smooth skin but gradually develops warts as they grow.
- New Moon: This is one of the bigger varieties with a white-colored thick flesh. The New Moon variety derives its name from its white-colored skin.
- Prizewinner: This variety is a super big one. Prizewinner is capable of bearing large pumpkins that usually weigh between 75-150 lbs.
- Baby Boo: The Baby Boo is ghost-like white in color and gets its name from its tiny, ‘baby’ size. It grows up to a size of 2-3 inches.
- Sugar Pie: This variety is as sweet as its name and much smaller in size. Sugar Pie is used mainly for baking pies, cookies, and cakes.
- Jack-o’-Lanterns: The medium-based round-shaped pumpkins are an excellent choice for carving.
- Jack-Be-Little: This little pumpkin variety can only grow up to 3-4 inches in shape and takes about 80-90 days to mature. You can plant rows for a bright and bountiful harvest.
Requirements for Growing Pumpkins In Containers
Place it in the sunniest location possible — remember that even the smallest pumpkin varieties need to soak full daylight to grow well. Your plant should receive at least six hours of sunlight per day.
Low light will slow their growth, and moisture will remain on the plant, which will attract mildew.
In cold climates, pumpkins grow best in soil that heats up easily. Potting mix you use must be well-draining, have high humus content, and have slight water retaining capacity, too.
Also, pumpkins require a lot of organic matter like compost or manure, which you can add at the time of planting. The ideal soil pH for growing pumpkins should be neutral, around 6-7.2.
Like all gourds and melons, pumpkins require plenty of water and moist soil, so deep and regular watering is essential. When watering, always avoid wetting the foliage and never allow the soil to dry out completely.
You’ll need to install a strong and big trellis to support pumpkins vines of smaller fruit varieties. An A-shape trellis is a good one. Ensure to keep the trellis away from the wall or spots with low air circulation to avoid diseases. If you’re growing a pumpkin cultivar with bigger fruits, it’s better to let the vines sprawl.
As the pumpkin vines begin to grow, train them to climb on the structure by carefully moving them through it.
Do mulching once your plants are grown a few inches tall. It reduces the amount of water evaporated and helps in retaining the soil moisture.
Pumpkin plants are heavy feeders, and they require a lot of fertilization. First of all, it’s important to have rich soil to get bigger and more meaty pumpkins. Best to use balanced fertilizers like 10-10-10 in the early stage of growth.
Switching to a low nitrogen fertilizer that is rich in potassium and phosphorus, like water-soluble 5-15-15 fertilizer every other week (when the plant has grown and is big enough to produce flowers) is a good idea.
Pests and Diseases
Pumpkin is a robust plant that still suffers from a few diseases, especially powdery mildew. Try to keep the leaves dry to prevent diseases.
In pests, you should keep your eyes on common garden pests like aphids, flea beetles, mealybugs, cucumber beetles, and squash worms. Use organic pesticides like neem oil to treat them, or try the commercial ones if infestation increases.
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 gourmet recipes and many exotic cuisines.
But to pick mature 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 time to pick the fruit. The bark should also resist nail pressure. Roughly speaking, one must count about 100 days between planting pumpkin and harvesting at full maturity.
To pick the pumpkin, remove it carefully from the branch using pruning shears or a sharp knife. However, do not cut too close to the fruit; to extend the shelf life, leave a long stem (about 10 cm). Store your pumpkin in a dry, cool, and dark area.
A Few Additional Tips
- It is better if you 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, attract pollinators, and last one day. After them, 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 get 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 with netting or old stockings.