Watermelon Spacing — Give Them Room to Grow!

If watermelon plants had a theme song it would probably be, “Don’t Fence Me In,” as some watermelon vines can grow over 10 feet long and sometimes reach 20 feet in length. Therefore, it stands to reason watermelon plants need room to spread out for the best growth. Continue reading because we take the mystery out of spacing so you grow healthy, thriving watermelon plants leading to tasty, mouthwatering fruits.


Know Your Watermelon before Planting

With an almost endless selection of watermelon seed varieties at local garden centers or online seed companies, figuring out the best melon to grow might seem like a daunting task. You’ll probably notice there’s watermelons’ ranging from several pounds to over 50 pounds, seeded and seedless varieties, and choices in red, pink, yellow and orange flesh.

Despite all the selections, by taking into consideration several factors, it makes your spacing and growing task a bit easier. Even with all the considerations, you are sure to find a melon of the desired size, color and growth habit to suit your fancy. By knowing the expected size of mature watermelon plants, you’ll know the size of the growing area you will need to prepare.

Basic considerations when selecting a variety include:

  • The length of your warm growing season. Sensitive to cold, and in too cold conditions, watermelon seeds fail to germinate and transplants fail to thrive.
  • Expected days to harvest, as noted of the seed packet. Select a variety suitable for the length of warm weather expected in your location.
  • Mature spread of plants, noted on the seed packet, allowing you to estimate required spacing and amount of plants you can grow per the size of your garden space.
  • Suggested spacing, as noted on the seed packet, taking the guesswork out of preferred spacing of multiple watermelon plants.

Expert Tip:  If you don’t have space in the garden, don’t despair. Watermelon varieties producing smaller fruit and vines are suitable grown in pots. Grow one plant per 5-gallon container with drain holes, and allow the vines to scramble up a sturdy trellis or fencelike structure.

The Basics on Generalized Spacing Requirements

If you have watermelon seeds you saved from the previous year, from a tasty purchased fruit, or seeds given to you by a friend, don’t let not knowing the expected growth of the particular melon make proper spacing hard to figure out.

As long as you follow some basic spacing tips for watermelon plants in general, you should grow a healthy crop of watermelons. Basic watermelon planting that allows appropriate spacing includes:

  • In a sunny location, create mounds approximately 3 feet in diameter. Growing watermelons in mounds ensures greater heat retention in the soil and proper drainage.
  • Space multiple mounds 3 to 5 feet apart.
  • Space multiple rows approximately 8 feet apart.
  • Plant about six seeds ½ inch deep per mound. Once plants reach the seedling stage, thin to the three healthiest watermelon plants.

Once you figure out how much space you can dedicate to growing watermelons, and creating mounds and rows, you’ll know how many plants you can grow without overcrowding.

Expert Tip:  Watermelons thrive in fertile, well-drained soil. If your soil is too sandy, or lacks needed fertility, amend with about 6 inches of well-rotted manure or compost, and work into the area about one foot.


Text: Garden.eco