Growing watermelon is one of the most rewarding experiences for any gardener. The juicy, sweet fruit is not only a delicious treat but also part of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Knowing the watermelon plant stages is a great way to grow and enjoy one of the most popular summer fruits!
What is Watermelon Fruit?
Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) is a juicy, sweet, and nutritious fruit that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. It is a vining plant of annual duration with large leaves and yellow flowers.
The fruit can range in size from 5 to 200 pounds and its rinds are usually striped or spotted green in color. The fleshy inside is mostly red but can also be yellow or white depending on the variety and typically contains black seeds.
The ripe fruit makes a great snack fresh or as a side dish, but it can also be juiced. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, B6, and potassium.
Watermelon Plant Stages
When planting watermelon, it is important to understand the stages of growth for your local climate and soil type. Below are more details about each stage a watermelon goes through. Here are the watermelon plant stages:
- Seed Germination
- Vegetative Stage
- Flowering and Pollination
- Fruit Setting
- Maturity and Harvesting
Planting/Watermelon Seedling Stage
Before you can start seeing any fruit, you must plant watermelon seeds in the ground. When planting, make sure to give your watermelon seedlings plenty of room so that their roots have enough space to grow and develop.
Planting should be done any time between April and June in most climates. Make sure to use soil with good drainage and high fertility for success.
In this initial stage of plant development, the seed absorbs moisture and swells up until it cracks open. The seedling then starts to break through the soil and reach for sunlight.
It is important to remember that the best soil temperature during germination should be at least 70 degrees fahrenheit (21°C). Use a sandy soil with plenty of organic material for best results.
The sprouting stage is when the watermelon seedling grows its first set of true leaves and branches out, which is a sign that the plant has entered its vegetative stage.
During this time, it is important to ensure proper soil moisture and nutrition. Fertilizer may be necessary depending on the quality of your soil. Avoid a low-nitrogen fertilizer and use one with plenty of phosphorus for healthy watermelons.
The vegetative stage of growth is when watermelon plants begin to spread their roots and grow larger leaves. During this time, the plants are establishing more leaves and growing larger.
If you live in an area with shorter seasons, this stage may be skipped altogether; however, if you live in a warmer climate, it is important to encourage growth during this stage by providing plenty of water and nutrients such as nitrogen.
Once the watermelon plant has gone through the vegetative stage, it begins to branch out and put out lateral stems. During this stage, you may see some flowers appearing on the plant as well. This is an indicator that pollination is about to begin.
In this part of the plant’s life cycle, flowers begin to form on the watermelon plant. Male and female watermelon flowers will appear separately, male flowers first, then female flowers.
The male flowers typically bloom first; they are usually white or yellow in color and contain pollen-producing anthers. The female flowers look similar to the male flowers but have a miniature fruit behind them that grows into the watermelon.
For the watermelon to develop and ripen, it requires pollination from insects such as bees. Once pollinated, the female flowers begin to form a fruit set. This is when the watermelon’s growth is noticeable, as the young plants begin to swell up and increase in size.
Once the watermelons are pollinated, they will begin to grow and ripen. During this stage, it is important to monitor for pests and diseases as well as provide adequate irrigation and fertilization.
The fruit should be ready to harvest once it reaches its full size and color, usually about 5 weeks after flowering.
Maturity and Harvesting
When the watermelon reaches its mature size and color, the fruit will turn a dark green with a yellow spot. This is a sign that the melon is ready for harvest.
To determine if it’s ripe, you can tap on the fruit gently and listen for a hollow sound, or check to see if it has a dull thud-like sound when rapped. If so, it is ready to be picked and enjoyed!
Growing annual plants requires patience and understanding of the watermelon plant stages of one of summer’s most popular fruits.
By understanding what happens during these watermelon plant stages, you can better care for your plants and ensure that they produce a high yield of delicious fruits that are ripe for harvest.
How to Care for Watermelon
It is important to note that watermelons require a lot of space and nutrient-rich soil. If you have limited space, you can opt for dwarf varieties of watermelon which are perfect for containers or small gardens.
Make sure to use well-draining soil to avoid root rot and other fungal diseases. Harvest your watermelons before the first frost. A light frost will cause the plants to die and the fruits will rot quickly.
To preserve your watermelon harvest, store them in a cool place out of direct sunlight until ready for use. With these tips, you’ll be sure to enjoy sweet and juicy watermelons all summer long!
There are several varieties of watermelon available in the market such as seedless, seeded, mini, and heirloom. Depending on your preference, you can choose from a wide selection of watermelons available in your area or online.
Seedless watermelons are generally smaller and sweeter than other types, making them a great choice for snacking or grilling. Seeded varieties are larger in size and contain black or white seeds.
Mini watermelon variety are popular for their small size and sweet flavor, perfect for snacking or adding to salads. Finally, heirloom watermelons have been passed down through generations as a result of their unique flavors and colors.
Here are different varieties of watermelon you can grow in your garden:
- Sugar Baby: This variety is round and has dark green skin with light green stripes. Its flesh is crisp, sweet and juicy.
- Charleston Gray: This variety is oblong and has light green skin with dark green stripes. Its flesh is pinkish in color and very sweet.
- Crimson Sweet: This variety is large in size and has dark green skin with dark green stripes. Its flesh is sweet and juicy.
- Mountain Sweet Yellow: This variety is round and has yellow skin with dark green stripes. Its flesh is light yellow in color and sweet.
No matter the variety you choose, be sure to plant your watermelon in well-draining soil and give it plenty of sunlight.
Fertilizing for Plant Growth
Watermelon plants require regular fertilization throughout the growth stages so that the mature fruit can be enjoyed. Fertilizers such as compost or manure are great for adding essential nutrients and promoting healthy growth.
Apply the fertilizer at least every two weeks for best results. Also, you can supplement with a liquid fertilizer to ensure your watermelons get all the nutrients they need for maximum growth and productivity.
Make sure to follow the instructions on the label when using fertilizers.
Finally, be sure to provide adequate irrigation for your watermelon plants during hot days or if there is a lack of rainfall. A drip irrigation system can help you keep your sweet watermelons on a regular watering schedule.
Make sure that the soil is evenly moist and not waterlogged to prevent root rot and other fungal issues. In addition, mulching around the plants can help conserve moisture and keep weeds at bay.
Tips For Growing Watermelon
Watermelon plants are relatively easy to grow, but there are a few tips and tricks that can help you ensure the best crop possible.
First, make sure you are planting in the right season for your local climate. Watermelons require long warm days with plenty of sunlight for optimal growth.
Start by preparing raised beds or large containers filled with soil or a high-quality potting mix. This will help ensure your plants get the necessary drainage and fertility they need to thrive.
Also, make sure you give your watermelon plants enough room to grow as they prefer to spread out rather than be crowded together in one spot. Planting hills with four or five melons per hill is ideal for optimal growth and space.
Finally, be sure to water your plants regularly and keep them well-nourished with fertilizer throughout the growing season. Making sure they have the right amount of nutrients can help prevent disease and ensure a healthy crop.
If you’re new to gardening or need more direction on how to properly care for your watermelon plants, consult your local gardening experts. They can provide additional tips and advice to help ensure success.
Water and Sun Requirements for Watermelon Plant Stages
Its important to include plenty of water and sun throughout the watermelon plant stages for best results.
Watermelons are thirsty plants that require a lot of water. They should be watered deeply every week or two in order to ensure deep root growth and avoid surface roots. Additionally, make sure to add mulch around your watermelons to keep the soil moist and cool.
Watermelons also need plenty of sunlight for optimal growth, so make sure they are planted in a spot that receives at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight daily.
If you live in an area with hot summers, provide some afternoon shade to protect your plants from the scorching temperatures.
Pests and Diseases
While generally disease resistance plants, the warm and wet environment needed for watermelons to thrive is also optimal for pests and diseases. Yellow spot and powdery mildew are fungal diseases that can affect your watermelon.
Cucumber beetles and aphids can also wreak havoc on your fruit. To keep your plants healthy, inspect them regularly for signs of insect damage or fungal issues.
If you notice any leaves that are wilting, discolored or developing spots, take action immediately by removing affected sections or treating with an appropriate pesticide. Also, keep your plants well-nourished to promote strong and healthy growth.
Frequent monitoring of your watermelon patch is key to maintaining a healthy garden free from pests and diseases. With proper care and attention, you’ll be sure to enjoy a delicious crop of watermelons for many years to come!
Common Issues When Growing Watermelon
Watermelons are generally easy to grow and require minimal maintenance, but there are a few common issues that can arise.
First, watermelon plants need plenty of space for optimal growth. Give them enough room by spacing hills several feet apart or planting in large containers.
Additionally, make sure your plants get the proper amount of sun, water and fertilizer to guarantee healthy growth.
Finally, watch out for pests and disease that can affect your watermelon plants. Monitor your garden regularly and take action if you notice any signs of insect or fungal damage.
Watermelon Plant Stages Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some frequently asked questions you may have about watermelon plant stages to ensure a successful harvest in your garden.
How long does it take to grow a watermelon from a plant?
The amount of time it takes for a watermelon to ripen depends on the season and your local climate. Generally, it takes 8-10 weeks after flowering for a watermelon to reach its full size and color.
From planting a seed until the fruit is ripe to harvest can take anywhere from 65-100 days, so growing watermelon takes lots of patience!
What are the stages of watermelon growth?
There are nine watermelon plant stages. These are:
- Seed Germination
- Vegetative Stage
- Flowering and Pollination
- Fruit Setting
- Maturity and Harvesting
How long do watermelons take to grow after flowering?
Generally, watermelon plants take 5 weeks to ripen after flowering. However, this time frame could be shorter or longer depending on the season and your local climate.
How many watermelons do you get per plant?
The number of watermelons you get per plant depends on the variety. Some varieties may produce a single watermelon while others can produce multiple fruits per vine.
Generally, you should expect 2-4 watermelons per plant. These numbers are based on growing conditions, how far apart the plants are, and more. For optimal growth and space, it is best to plant hills with four or five melons per hill.
By following these tips and understanding the stages of growth for your watermelon plants, you can easily have a successful and delicious harvest in your garden this year!
Watermelon Plant Stages Conclusion
Growing watermelons can be a fun and rewarding experience with the right knowledge and care! With these watermelon plant stages and growing tips, you’ll be well on your way to harvesting sweet, juicy watermelon in no time.