pumpkin-leaves

The Incomparable Pumpkin Leaf

If you are planting pumpkins just for the result of a harvest of Jack O'Lanterns, you could be missing out on a lot of other benefits. Pumpkin leaves can provide far more for you than pumpkins.

What Do Pumpkin Leaves Look Like?

When your pumpkin plant germinates, the first two leaves break through the soil. These are called sprouts and are small round leaves. Although these are not considered “true” pumpkin leaves, they are the first indication that your pumpkin plant is viable.

The first actual pumpkin leaves emerge at the tip of the pumpkin sprout stem, in between the two small leaves. You can immediately see the difference in the two sets of leaves; the second set is dark green with jagged edges.

How Big Do Pumpkin Leaves Grow?

Pumpkin leaves can vary in size, depending on which variety of pumpkin you plant. However, generally speaking, the leaves are very large. Some measure the size of your two hands together, while others grow as large as a soccer ball.

Although the pumpkin fruits grow off of the vines rather than the leaves, pumpkin leaves do serve essential purposes for the plant as a whole.

  • The provide ground cover to keep the soil around the plant damp.
  • The huge leaves offer some natural weed control.
  • They shelter the young fruits from some harmful pests.

Other Uses for Pumpkin Leaves

Oddly enough, the massive pumpkin leaves have many other uses that most gardeners do not know. For example, some cultures use the foliage and flowers as a food source! Since they are similar to other green leafy vegetables regarding nutrition, you can use them as a substitute for vegetables like spinach or beet greens.

Additionally, you can use the pumpkin leaves for medicinal purposes. Although there are few scientific studies about the therapeutic value of pumpkin leaves, people who rely on homeopathic remedies use them frequently for a variety of ailments.

Tip: Be aware that some pumpkin leaves are bristly; take care when eating them!

An All-Purpose Plant

Because of the many uses of the pumpkin flesh, seeds, and leaves, this is one plant that you do not want to leave out of your garden plot.

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