Food Gardening Network

Growing Good Food at Home

Growing Melon Plants in Containers

Cantaloupe and Muskmelon plants growing in containers

Cantaloupe and Muskmelon plants growing in containers

Mini melons for small spaces

If you don’t have a lot of space for gardening but you still have a hankering to grow melons, don’t despair. There are some varieties of bush-type mini melons that do well in confined spaces, including containers. Among them are:

  • Golden Jenny: a variation of the heirloom “Jenny Lind.” This is a productive variety that matures in about 75 days. It’s a prolific plant, but it doesn’t take up a lot of space.
  • Minnesota Midget: ready to harvest in about 70 days. The plants are small and compact—3 or 4 feet across. The orange-fleshed melons are about 4 inches across, with sweet orange flesh. Perfect for container growing.
  • Sleeping Beauty: ready to harvest in about 85 days, this plant has a compact vine and fruits with netted skin and deep ribbing. These melons will top out at about a half pound; perfect for breakfast.
  • Green Machine: a prolific plant that produces 2-pound melons in about 85 days. The netted-skinned fruits fall from the vine when they’re ripe, so be sure to have a support system to catch them. Lightweight slings keep melons off the ground and away from excess moisture, and can keep the fruit from breaking when it ripens.
  • Honey Bun: a bush variety that produces 5-inch melons in about 75 days. The honey-flavored fruit has netted skin like a cantaloupe. Each vine will produce three or four melons.

The growing conditions for these mini melons is much the same as for regular-size melons, except that you can plant them closer together. Another approach to controlling the sprawl of the vines is to train them to a trellis. You can set a container against a flat trellis, or make an arching trellis over your container. Use cut panty hose or mesh produce bags as slings to support the melons as they grow; just use some garden tape to secure the vine to your trellis.

They’re not big fans of shade, so plant them where they can really soak in the rays. Since a sprawling melon vine laden with fruit may be awkward to move, you should pick a spot for your container that will meet the plant’s light requirements—at least six to eight hours a day (12 is better).

Have you grown melon plants in containers? Please tell us about your successes and challenges growing melon plants in containers.


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