Large Watermelon Growing In The Garden
(Image credit: Andy Melton)

Growing conditions for watermelons include lots of sunshine during the day and warm nights. Watermelon is a warm season fruit loved by just about everyone. They are great sliced, in fruit salads, and the rind is even used hollowed out as a serving basket or bowl. On a hot summer day, nothing tastes better than a nice slice of watermelon.

Understanding the best growing conditions for watermelons will help you grow this wonderful fruit.

How Do Watermelons Grow?

When considering how to grow watermelons, know that it is not that difficult. The plant does all the work. They grow great in the south during warmer seasons, but if you live in the north, there are tips for growing watermelons that can be followed so you are successful in your endeavors.

One of the better tips for growing watermelon plants in the north is that you should start early varieties in the house and plant transplants instead of planting the seed directly into the soil. While the plants can be started indoors and then put outside, don't start them too early because large growing watermelon seedlings don't do well when transplanted.

Watermelons prefer sandy loam soil over others. Growing watermelons also requires space, as the plants are vines and take up a lot of room. Seedlings should be planted 2 to 3 feet (.60-.91 m.) apart. You should definitely include 7 to 10 feet (2-3 m.) between rows.

Watermelon Plant Care

You'll want to be sure to keep the area free from weeds. A good, shallow hoeing works best. You do not want to disturb the roots, and you certainly don't want to cut any shoots off the main plant.

Another thing to consider as part of your basic watermelon plant care is that they need plenty of water. You should especially give them water when it gets dry, as it often does in the dead of summer.

Harvesting Watermelons

So how long does watermelon take to grow? Growing watermelons take about 120 days from start to finish. How do you know they are ripe and ready to harvest?

You'll notice that those little curly tendrils will turn brown and get a little crisp. Also, the color of the melon will get duller. The skin of the watermelon will be hard and resistant to the penetration of your fingernail when you try to press it into the melon.

Another way to know if the melon is ripe is to pick one up and turn it over. If the bottom where it sits in the soil is yellow, the watermelon is probably ripe.

Kathee Mierzejewski

Kathee Mierzejewski was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, writing many of the site's foundational articles.