ASK THE EXPERTS: CAN I PLANT A WATERMELON SEED?


In this recurring column, our panel of watermelon experts answer a question posed through our “Ask the Experts” feature in the right hand sidebar. Feel free to ask your own question. All questions get a response and some will be featured here on What About Watermelon.

MALICK FROM TRIPOLI (ALL THE WAY FROM LIBYA!) ASKS: Is it possible to use one black seed from inside a store-bought watermelon to grow your own? If so, what are the instructions to grow my own tasty treat?

Good question, Malick. The short answer is: sort of.

The only problem with growing watermelons using the seeds of a watermelon you bought in a grocery store is that the watermelon you purchased is more than likely a hybrid variety, which is a special cross between two types of watermelon, each contributing their best qualities to create one great-tasting fruit.

You can plant those seeds, and they may grow into a watermelon (though not always), but the result won’t be the same type of watermelon you purchased and enjoyed months ago. It’ll be a smaller, less tasty watermelon – the kind a lot of farmers call “pig melons” because they’re only good for feeding to the pigs.

I’d recommend purchasing watermelon seeds from your local nursery or gardening store. If possible, buy the open pollinated heirloom variety, which will yield fruit with seeds that you can plant the next year.

If you’re up for a challenge, or just curious, and decide to use seeds from a store-bought watermelon (or are using seeds from an open pollinated heirloom watermelon), you’ll need to dry the seeds before you plant them. Oh, and make sure the watermelon hasn’t been chilled, because the cold temperature will damage the seeds. To dry your seeds, place them on a towel or some newspaper in a sunny spot (a window sill will do) for about a week. Once they’re dry, you can plant them!

Of course, actually growing a watermelon is a whole other question and process in itself. It requires a lot of attention, water and sunlight, but the reward for all your hard work is definitely worth it. Do some research online for tips on growing your own watermelon. To get you started, this website has a brief overview of the process. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!

UPDATE: Malick e-mailed me back about two weeks later with the following exciting news and photo below:

I just thought I would inform you that the seeds I planted HAVE grown in to baby watermelon plants but it hasn’t been quite long enough for them to grow watermelons yet. Thanks a lot for all the information you gave me!

watermelon sprouts


Comments

  1. Matt says:

    The thing about grocery stores and Libya is that much of the produce and meat growing in Libya is that it is generally un-altered, not really grow to be a high producing hybrid, as sweet and delicious watermelons are the goal.

    That being said, the ‘grocery stores’ in Libya are more of an extension of a Farmer’s market. So while this article is true in most modernized countries, in Libya, the answer still is, Yes, you can and they will be delicious!!!

  2. harvey shearer says:

    I have watermelons growing now, but not have ever grown them before, I wonder, do you water at the source of the vine, or farther down where the fruit grows>

  3. Gator says:

    Water your watermelon plants at the root and around the area.. I go about 2 feet around the base of the roots.. Hope that helps and happy growing

  4. Dakota says:

    When would you plant watermelon seeds in westvirginia

  5. sara says:

    Just for the heck of it…my grandkids & I planted some seeds from a store bought watermelon that we had just eaten. We didnt dry them…just planted them ..juice and all. About a week later, we had 20-30 plants come up. My husband and son transplanted them into seperate mounds with maybe 2-3 plants per mound. The only thing we have done is water them of an evening and they have taken off like wildfire!!! They now have blooms all over! Dont know what kind they were….but they all look healthy!

  6. Rachel says:

    I am fifteen and decided to grow watermelon from the seeds of one that my grandmother had. I dried them in a towel afterwards I rinsed the juice off and when I got home to the apartment I live in with my family I got some random dirt from outside and planted them in some containers inside and set them in my windowsill and gave them the proper amount of water and they are actually growing quite well. I didn’t even use fertilizer because I didn’t have the money to get it and once again it was random dirt from outside of the apartment I live in and its only been about a week and they are about half an inch to a inch big.

  7. Pat says:

    I just spotted a watermellon growing on a vine which is about the size of a softball. How long does it take for it to grow to maturity?

  8. The Watermelon Guy says:

    Pat – That depends upon the type of watermelon and the growing conditions (i.e. the farmer’s green thumb). Most watermelon take about 60-90 days to reach maturity (from the time the tiny watermelon appear, to the time they’re ready for harvest).

  9. Inez says:

    here in Great Britain, it is some of the summer warm with no rain and autumn it rains most of the time, so in the summer, willit be ok to watermelon seeds or does it need to be warmer for longer?

  10. Adam says:

    I grew about 9 beautiful little watermelon this year. I have had nothing but compliments from people about how much better tasting they were than the grocery stores. It was my first time growing watermelon and it won’t be my last.Next year I will plant twice as many because the neighbors all wanted some and I felt the need to share with everybody. I really enjoy having a little garden. Its amazing how much you can produce and save spending at the store.

  11. Troy says:

    I think you can grow watermelons lots of places. I am going to put down some black mulch and cover my watermelons in plastic because our temperatures and shorter season here only usaully produces small immature melons . I was talking to a man who mulches and covers his plants and they grow beautifully even in the spring when our temps are low. The mulch and plastic raaise the temp of soil and air.

  12. kathy says:

    wow, I find it hard to find watermelon here in canada that have seeds. thxs for all the good info on this site

  13. Joyce says:

    I started growing watermelon my first year. It looked like I was being successful until they started to wrinkle and started to turn black. I had one melon that was the size of a kids small ball it was over 90 days and it cracked open. I knew this size watermelon was way to small. I bought the seed from a retailer and the melon did not come out to be what it was suppose to be. I do have other watermelon the size about my palm is it to late to get a good size melon. I also saved the seeds from the sugar baby melon that I bought from the farmers market dried and now have in a air tight jar in the freg. Should I take the time and plant these seed next summer I really would love to get a high yield of watermelon next summer any suggestions.

  14. jeremy says:

    I grew my own hydroponic water melon for the 1st time out side in the back yard and one of the melons split got too hott that day i guess but toook the seedes out that melon and there sitting in the sun now thank u

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