The Best Pumpkins for Planting in Containers
One of the great things about pumpkins is how many different kinds there are. Although large pumpkins like the Giant pumpkin, which grows to over 300 lbs (136 kg), are clearly not suited for growing in a pot, you can plant most small-to-average sized pumpkins in a container.
Some of the better varieties suitable for container growing are:
- Baby Pam
- Lumina (a white variety)
- Autumn Gold
Tip: Pumpkins explicitly grown for pies and desserts are labeled as Sugar or Sweet Pumpkins.
Types of Containers
There are endless varieties when it comes to choosing pots in which to plant your pumpkins. As long as the planter is large enough to support the root system of the plant, anything goes! You can opt for commercially purchased planting pots found at home and garden stores, or you can use whiskey barrels, or even a large garbage can cut in half lengthwise.
Tip: Be sure your planter has adequate drainage holes. A layer of gravel at the bottom of the planter will encourage draining.
Provide Support for the Pumpkin Vine
Pumpkin plants themselves do not grow exceptionally large, but they do produce vines that both proliferate and spread rapidly. For this reason, you need to provide support for the vines, and eventually the pumpkins, to grow on.
Since you will likely want to train the vines to grow upwards to maximize space, a trellis is ideal. However, some people use string, wire, or even old ladders or wooden shelving. The pumpkin vines will climb anything, and a wood platform or flat area like a step is ideal to rest the pumpkins on as they grow!
Pumpkins require large amounts of water, organic fertilizer, and abundant sunshine. Before placing the pots, be sure the plants will receive a minimum of 6 hours of sun and preferably 8-10 hours. Not only will the pots be too heavy to move from place to place, but the vines will not take to being moved either!
Additionally, potted plants often require heavier feeding and more frequent watering than pumpkin plants sown in the ground. Water as soon as the topsoil becomes dry, and work in some organic mulch or compost every few weeks.
Once your plants and vines are established, you get the joy of watching them grow and nurturing your own small pumpkin harvest, even if all you have is a corner space on a patio!