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Cucurbita pepo, Cucurbita maxima

From giant pumpkins that can weigh hundreds of pounds to miniature pumpkins that fit neatly in the palm of a child's hand, there's a pumpkin for just about every need, taste, and desire. Growing pumpkins requires ample space. Give pumpkins, especially the large ones, plenty of space to sprawl. There's a reason they call it a pumpkin patch: These autumn treasures need room and grow several feet out in all directions. Traditional orange jack-o'-lantern pumpkins are fun for carving, but try other color pumpkins, white, buff, blue-green, and scarlet.

Different conditions, to some degree, control the size of pumpkins. But for thelargest pumpkins, provide a constant supply of moisture, sunshine, and fertilizer.

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1 to 3 feet


10-20 feet wide


Harvest Tips

Leave pumpkins on the vine until the skin turns the appropriate color for the variety and the rind feels hard when pressed with your thumbnail. Harvest before a hard frost by cutting the stem from the vine with a sharp knife, leaving a 2-inch stub on the fruit. Place the harvested pumpkins at 80° to 85°F for two weeks to cure them. For longer term storage, place them in a dark location at 50° to 55°F.

More Varieties of Pumpkin

'Baby Bear' Pumpkin

'Baby Bear' produces 1-2 pound deep orange fruits just the right size for youngsters to handle. As a bonus, the semihulless seeds are excellent for roasting.

'Baby Boo' Pumpkin

'Baby Boo' produces an abundance of 2-to 3-inch-diameter gourdlike white mini pumpkins 90 days after planting.

'Blue Doll' Pumpkin

The 'Blue Doll' variety fruits a green-color pumpkin with bright orange flesh. This pumpkin grows to 20 pounds.

'Casperita' Pumpkin

'Casperita' is a small variety of white pumpkin that tastes similar to acorn squash. These pumpkins are disease resistant and grow to 1 pound.

'Cinderella' Pumpkin

This pumpkin resembles the carriage of the fairy-tale princess. The flattened scarlet-orange French heirloom variety has sweet orange flesh and is ripe in 115 days. Its less common name is 'Rouge Vif d'Etamps'.

'Connecticut Field' Pumpkin

'Connecticut Field' bears light orange fruits that are a good size for carving. Fruits range from 15 to 30 pounds, so you'll have a choice of sizes for your jack-o'-lantern. The fruit 100 days to ripen.

'Crystal Star' Pumpkin

'Crystal Star' is great for carving and decorating and is often used in county fairs and exhibitions. This pumpkin grows to 35 pounds and takes on a globular shape.

'Flat White Boer Ford' Pumpkin

'Flat White Boer Ford' looks exactly as the name indicates—flat and white. This pumpkin variety stretches wider than tall and weighs 10-15 pounds. The flesh is sweet-tasting and keeps well outdoors.

'Howden' Pumpkin

'Howden' is a good choice for a large (20-30 pound) pumpkin. It bears deep orange fruit with a strong stem. 110 days to ripeness.

'Hybrid Pam' Pumpkin

Perfect for a pie, 'Hybrid Pam' reaches 7 pounds on average and only takes 90 days to mature.

'Jack Be Little' Pumpkin

'Jack Be Little' is a decorative orange mini pumpkin that produces 3- to 4-inch-diameter fruits in 95 days.

'Knucklehead' Pumpkin

'Knucklehead' pumpkin gets its name from its warty appearance. While the fruit is orange, warts themselves will present themselves as green. This pumpkin ranges from 10-20 pounds once ripe.

'Lumina' Pumpkin

'Lumina' bears ghostly smooth white skin on fruits great for carving or painting. The interior flesh is orange. It is an early-maturing variety, bearing 10-pound fruits 85 days after planting.

'New England Cheddar' Pumpkin

'New England Cheddar' bears flattened, ribbed, buff fruits that look like a large wheel of cheese. The deep orange flesh is excellent for pies. 110 days to ripeness.

'Orangita' Pumpkin

'Orangita' is a beautiful mini pumpkin in a deep orange color with sharp ribs on its rind. This variety only grows to 1-1/2 pounds and is perfect for decorating purposes.

'Porcelain Doll' Pumpkin

'Porcelain Doll' is a one-of-a-kind pumpkin, being that it is pink in color! It takes on a flatter shape, similar to 'Cinderella', and can reach 20-40 pounds.

'Small Sugar' Pumpkin

'Small Sugar' is an heirloom variety that produces small (5-8 pound) fruits excellent for pies and canning, plus fall decorations. The bright orange pumpkins mature in 100 days.

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