How to Plant Watermelon in a Container
Author : Marsaili Kentar? | Published On : 10 Aug 2021
How to Plant Watermelons in Containers
Most people believe that container gardening is only for salad greens or plants requiring little room, not for a space-hogging watermelon (Citrullus lanatus). Although watermelon plants need space to spread out above ground, growing watermelon in containers goes perfectly as long as the large pot is spacious enough to hold the roots. Provide the deep, sandy soil and moisture melons love and train vines vertically to conserve space.
The Missouri botanical garden notes that watermelon thrives in climates with long and hot growing seasons, so gardeners in more excellent, milder temperatures may need additional steps to help the plants flourish and fruit. For example, preparing the vines against a sunny south-facing wall on a protected patio can help increase growth potential.
Growing Watermelon in a Pot
Obtaining a Large Container
An old washtub, 5-gallon bucket, or similar-sized receptacle will do for a watermelon plant. If the container doesn't have drainage holes, you can drill to make holes in the bottom.
Finding a Sunny Spot
Locate a sunny spot away from strong winds and find areas with easy access to water. Place the pot in this spot while it's still empty because the container will be heavy and hard to move after you've added soil.
Weighting the Pot
Add some large rocks or bricks to the base of the container. They help balance the plant's top growth weight as it climbs and the fruits develop to maturity.
Implementing Support for Vines
Watermelon will not self-cling; the vines necessitate mesh or lattice and soft ties for assistance. Attach wire fencing around the pot, secure a solid wooden trellis to a nearby wall, or prepare the vines to climb wires attached to the pot edges and connected at the top to a pole buried amid a huge pot. Whatever support you decide, make it stable since melons are heavy and the vines are vigorous climbers.
Planting Watermelon Seeds
Starting Seeds Indoors
Although you won't be growing watermelon indoors, considering it requires lots of sunshine, starting seeds indoors can lengthen the growing season. The University of Vermont Extension recommends planting several sources in peat pots filled with a soil-less mix. Cover them with 1/2 inch soil and then place the jars in a plastic tray for easy bottom watering.
Keeping the Pots Warm
Place the seed pots in a warm area or on a heating pad set to 75 degrees Fahrenheit and keep the seeds moistened until they germinate. Germination usually occurs within a week.
Leaving the Strongest Seedling
Pinch out all but the hardiest seedling in each pot once the seedlings get their first set of true leaves.
Providing a Sunny Location
Transfer the pots to a sunny area or place them under a grow light set two or three inches above the plants. Raise the morning as the seedlings grow but preserve the proximity to keep the young plants from becoming leggy.
Transplanting Watermelon Seedlings
Filling the Container
Fill your chosen large pot with good compost, improved with coarse builder's sand. Watermelons prefer rich, slightly sandy soil.
Planting the Seedlings
Dig a hole for each transplant with a small trowel. Make it large enough to contain both the plant and the biodegradable starter pot. Melons need space, so plant only one in each large container for great results.
Watering the Plants
Keep plants equally moist but not soggy with usual watering. Monitor for dryness by inserting a finger into the soil. Only water the plants when the soil dries below the top inch.
Training the Plants
Train the watermelon to climb the support wires or trellis as it grows by tying the vines loosely in place with soft strips of cloth or padded twist ties.
Supporting the Fruits
Support the watermelon fruits in large mesh bags or sections of discarded pantyhose tied to the support framework.
Items You Will Need
- Large container, preferably dark in color
- Drill, optional
- rocks or bricks
- Support of choice for vines
- Peat or other biodegradable starter pots
- Heating pad, optional
- Grow lights, optional
- compost or potting soil
- Builder's sand, coarse
- Small trowel
- Cloth strips or twist-ties
- Mesh bags or old pantyhose
Melons of all types are warm-weather crops needing plenty of light and heat to thrive