Top 10 Questions about Watermelons

Top 10 Questions about Watermelons

May 8th 2024

Summer and the refreshing season of watermelons are just around the corner. Grown in over 96 countries globally, watermelons are a natural favorite. Their sweet and refreshing flavor is a must-have when the hot summer temperatures rise.

According to 2022 statistics, the global fruit production of watermelons was 99.96 million metric tons. It was second in line after bananas. The fun part is that you can even grow them in your home garden!

But how? With this growing guide, you can get answers to all the questions about watermelons!

Q1: What is the Botanical Name of Watermelons?

Watermelons belong to the gourd family Cucurbitaceae, a family of fruits and vine plants.

The scientific name of watermelon is Citrullus lanatusTherefore, it is closely related to fruits and vegetables like cucumber, pumpkin, and squash.

Q2: What is the Historical Importance of Watermelons?

Watermelons are native fruits to the land of Southern Africa. It first started growing in the Kalahari Desert. Modern-day watermelons originated with a closely related drought-tolerant plant in Africa. Its selective breeding with other species resulted in the sweet, fleshy fruit we enjoy today.

The first wide-scaled harvest of watermelons can be traced back to 5000 ago. It started in Egypt, where it had cultural importance as a part of ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.

By the 10th century, watermelons had found their way to China through early explorers of the Mediterranean Sea. In the 13th century, they were brought to Europe. Today, they are one of the most enjoyed fruits in the world.

Q3: What are the Different Types of Watermelons?

Watermelons have more than 1000 species around the world. They are available in all sizes, colors, and degrees of sweetness. However, the top 5 of watermelons are:

1. Seeded Watermelons

They are the original classics, available in various shapes (round, long, or oblong) and weighing 15 to 45 pounds. These species are mostly used to make sweetmeat, fruitcakes, and other desserts.

2. Seedless Watermelons

These are the most popular species globally. Seedless species are the result of hybridization of different watermelons. The redder and crisper they are, the sweeter these watermelons are!

3. Mini Melons

They are more personalized, single-serve types. Their rind is relatively thinner with more flesh. They mostly come in 1-7Ib sizes and round shapes.

4. Square Watermelons

The origin of these melons goes back to Japan. They are grown with a cage around them and eventually grow to take the shape of the container.

5. Yellow and Orange Watermelons

Watermelons in different shades, like yellow and orange, are also popular for their innovative look on plates. Except for the red pigment lycopene, the rest of the flavor is the same as that of a classic watermelon.

Q4. How To Grow Watermelons?

The best time to grow watermelon is during the early days of spring after the frost has finished. It usually takes 80 days for the watermelons to mature properly, so time your plantings accordingly.

Watermelons grow best in sunny locations. You can plant the seeds after the last frost date has passed. After confirming a well-sunlit location, plant 4-6 seeds into the soil. Ensure the soil temperature is around 65ºF, not too hot or cold. The seeds should be planted 1-2 inches deep into the soil.

Pro Tip: If you plant seedlings indoors, start them six weeks before the growing season. Keep your soil moist, but don't overwater. Place the seeds in a pot near a window with lots of sunlight.

Q5. What are Watermelon Soil Requirements?

Since watermelons are heavy feeders, they need well-nourished and dense soil for growth. Before you plant watermelon seeds, prep the soil with compost, and aged manure. Some other soil requirements are.

  • They grow best in loamy and sandy soils that drain well. Too much clay can hinder the growth of watermelon plants.
  • The ideal pH for watermelons is neutral to slightly acidic. They grow best between the 6.0 to 7.5 range.
  • Soil temperature for optimal growth should be between 60ºF to 75ºF.

Q6. What are Watermelon Watering Requirements?

Watermelons are 92% of water themselves. Therefore, they need abundant water to grow. The best strategy is to water 1 to 2 inches every second or third day. You can also use organic mulch which retains moisture and keeps the soil wet.

The drip irrigation system is a great choice for watering watermelons and adds nutrients directly to the roots of the plants. This system uses 30-50% less water than other watering methods. For larger cultivation areas, like watermelon farms, drip irrigation with drip tape works best. Moreover, it has numerous benefits over manual irrigation.

When watering watermelon plants, keep the roots well hydrated. The roots are usually found in the top 12 inches of the soil, drip irrigation will deliver the water to the roots, so you can be sure that your watermelon plants are well irrigated.

Q7. What are Watermelon Fertilizer Requirements?

Watermelons need fertilizers rich in nitrogen to grow vines and leaves. So, use fertilizer with more nitrogen than potassium and phosphorus. But here comes the tricky part – Don't use nitrogen fertilizers once your plant flowers, as they may hinder fertilization. Instead, use seaweed-based fertilizer.

Q8. How Much Spacing Should Be Given While Planting Watermelons?

Watermelon plant spacing is very important because it allows the plant to get nutrients from the soil and enough sunlight. It also prevents overcrowding, which leads to diseases that could spread to other plants.

Ideally, plan to separate the plants 2-3 feet apart on a 5-foot-wide hill, or if you are growing in rows, space them at least 6 feet apart.

Q9. How Do Watermelons Pollinate?

Watermelons are self-pollinator plants. They grow both male and female flowers that are pollinated by bees during the day. However, they can also be hand-pollinated, which is how hybridization is usually done.

Q10. What is the Best Time to Harvest?

The crucial aspect of watermelon harvesting is timing. Once picked, watermelons do not continue to ripen. This underscores the importance of harvesting at the right time. Typically, watermelons take about 80 days to fully ripen, with the last two weeks being particularly critical.

Signs of ripened watermelon are:

  • It sounds hollow when thumped.
  • The stripes show contrasting colors.
  • A ripe watermelon will have a yellow or cream-colored bottom.

Fun Facts About Watermelons

Some interesting facts about these refreshing fruits are:

  1. China and Japan use watermelons to bring gifts to the hosts.
  2. China is the number 1 producer of watermelons in the world. The United States is the 7th.
  3. Oklahoma states that watermelons are vegetables instead of fruits. They even made them a national vegetable of the state.
  4. The shelf life of a watermelon is 3 to 4 weeks.
  5. National Watermelon Day is August 3, 2024.


Growing and caring for watermelons is not difficult. With proper pest and weed control, your harvest will be ready in 80 days. So, take full advantage of summer and enjoy a juicy and sweet watermelon!