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Citrullus lanatus

Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
SIT-troo-lus la-NAY-tus
Description

Watermelon is an annual, prostrate, vining vegetable that produces large, spherical to oval, edible, wet, fleshy fruits. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae (cucumber) family and originated in Africa. 

Watermelon is easily grown from seed and does best in areas with long warm summers. Plant after all chance of frost has passed and the ground is warm. Choose a site that receives full sun and has loamy soil with a neutral pH. Keep the soil moist but not soggy. Harvest the fruit only when ripe.

There are more than 1000 watermelon cultivars available. Vines can be up to 10 feet wide. The juicy fruits mature late summer and can weigh 6 to 60 pounds or more. The fruit is generally red with seeds but can also be pink or yellow. Seedless varieties are available.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems:  Plants are susceptible to mites, squash vine borers, aphids, squash bugs, stink bugs, cutworms, pickleworm, cucumber beetles, downy and powdery mildews, bacterial wilt, fusarium wilt, blossom end rot, and anthracnose. Pollination may be hindered by cold rainy weather. Stress from heat, excessive water ,or poor pollination may result in poor fruit set.

VIDEO Created by Homegrown featuring Penny Perkins-Veazie, Professor and Postharvest Physiologist at NC State's Plants for Human Health Institute

Profile Video:
See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Crimson Sweet'
    15-25 oval fruits with pink flesh
  • 'Farmers Wonderful'
    Seedless 8 inch round fruits with red flesh
  • 'Mini Love'
    3-5 lbs. with red flesh
  • 'Starlight'
    8 inch fruits 10-12 lbs with red flesh
  • 'Sugar Baby'
    6-8 inch round fruits
  • 'Sunshine'
    8-10 lbs with yellow flesh
'Crimson Sweet', 'Farmers Wonderful', 'Mini Love', 'Starlight', 'Sugar Baby', 'Sunshine'
Tags:
#annuals#edible plant#yellow flowers#vegetable garden#edible fruits#edible garden#fruits summer#fruits#vine#warm season vegetable
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • 'Crimson Sweet'
    15-25 oval fruits with pink flesh
  • 'Farmers Wonderful'
    Seedless 8 inch round fruits with red flesh
  • 'Mini Love'
    3-5 lbs. with red flesh
  • 'Starlight'
    8 inch fruits 10-12 lbs with red flesh
  • 'Sugar Baby'
    6-8 inch round fruits
  • 'Sunshine'
    8-10 lbs with yellow flesh
'Crimson Sweet', 'Farmers Wonderful', 'Mini Love', 'Starlight', 'Sugar Baby', 'Sunshine'
Tags:
#annuals#edible plant#yellow flowers#vegetable garden#edible fruits#edible garden#fruits summer#fruits#vine#warm season vegetable
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Citrullus
    Species:
    lanatus
    Family:
    Cucurbitaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Annual
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Africa
    Climbing Method:
    Tendrils
    Edibility:
    The fruit can be eaten raw or pickled. The rind is edible after cooking.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 4 in. - 0 ft. 8 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 10 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Annual
    Edible
    Vegetable
    Vine
    Habit/Form:
    Prostrate
    Spreading
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Medium
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Soil Texture:
    Loam (Silt)
    Soil pH:
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Moist
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Green
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Edible
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Summer
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Width:
    > 3 inches
    Fruit Description:
    The plant produces melons which are large modified berries called a pepo. They are rounded to oval mottled green with darker green rind. Black, cream or mottled colored elliptic seeds. Flesh general red or pink but can also be yellowish.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Solitary
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Shape:
    Cup
    Flower Petals:
    4-5 petals/rays
    Flower Size:
    1-3 inches
    Flower Description:
    Separate male and female flowers develop on the same plant (monoecious) on a short stalk at a solitary leaf axil. There are 5 sepals and a 5-part corolla. The female flower has an inferior ovary and the male flower has 3 stamens. Melons develop from the female flower if successfully fertilized by the male flower.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Alternate
    Leaf Shape:
    Cordate
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Denticulate
    Lobed
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Description:
    Large heart or oval-shaped leaves are hairy, especially on the underside veins. Palmately lobed with 3-5 lobes and may have secondary lobes. Margins are toothed, 3-8 inches long by 2-6 inches wide.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Round
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    Dense woolly hairs on round to angular stems with curly tendrils
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Theme:
    Edible Garden
    Attracts:
    Bees