Garden + Gardening + Gardening Tips & Advice

Grow & Care - Pumpkin

Fast Facts

Light Requirements Full sun
Temperature Adaptations Very tender - plant about two weeks after average date of last spring frost when soil is very warm.
Acidity (pH) Tolerance 6.8 to 5.5 pH
Salinity (Ec) Tolerance 3.2 to 4.7 depending on variety
How Pollinated Insects
Growth Habits Annual

Additional Information

Fertilizer Requirements

In the spring, apply between 1 1/2 and 2 pounds of complete fertilizer (20-20-20) per 100 feet of row.

Side dress with a complete fertilizer mid-season to replace used nutrients.

Water Utilization

Pumpkins should be watered deeply when the soil is dry. During fruit production, avoid large fluctuations in soil moisture to prevent blossom end rot.

Plant Development and Care

Plants emerge in 3 to 5 days in adequately warm soil and quickly develop true leaves. When the first true leaves develop, thin the plants saving the best three or four plants per hill. Cut the plant tops off those selected for removal to avoid damage to the other plant roots.

Most pumpkins have a vining habit, although a newer variety, Burpee's Bushkin grows vines only 6 feet long. Vines can be trellised up trellises or fences to save space if desired. Place trellised plants at the north end of the garden to avoid shading other vegetables.

Fruits may come in a variety of shapes and sizes from oblong to spherical, oval to acorn, to pear shaped or other. Most pumpkins turn orange when ripe, although some are orange from the time they form.

Many require a long growing season to reach maturity. Use season extenders such as wall-o-waters in early spring to warm soil and mulch with clear plastic to warm the soil and hasten maturity.

Water regularly to wet the soil to 10 to 20 inches deep. Drip or ground irrigation is preferable to overhead sprinkling to discourage diseases.

The use of black or clear plastic mulch cuts down the need for frequent watering. Clear plastic heats the soil and encourages rapid growth and development of the plants and pumpkin fruits.

Germination Time (Days)

3 to 5 days at 70 to 80

Seed Germination and Temperature Range

70 to 80 F soil temperature

Common Fertilizer Deficiencies




Clear plastic heats the soil and encourages rapid growth and development.