Can you grow pumpkins in a container? Well, it depends. Vining pumpkins that need 50 to 100 square feet of space to spread out? Maybe not. Giant pumpkins? Absolutely not. But miniature pumpkins are ideal candidates for container growing. And depending on the size of the container and the space you have available, you can probably grow other pumpkins on the smaller size. Give each plant its own container, big enough to accommodate soil about a foot deep and 1 to 2 feet across. Containers should have holes in the bottom and a drip tray underneath to guard against overwatering.
Make sure your soil is clean, weed-free, nutrient-rich, and at the right pH (6.0 to 7.0). It’s always good to start with fresh gardening soil—there’s even soil formulated especially for container gardening. And make sure your containers have good drainage; soggy soil can lead to root rot, which can spell disaster for your pumpkin plants.
Your container can be a planter, or even a large tub. Whatever you choose, just be sure to plan to support your young pumpkins as they grow. You might need a trellis with little slings to keep the pumpkins off the ground.
The Right Sunlight for Pumpkins
Pumpkins need at least six hours of sunlight each day to flourish. They can tolerate some late afternoon shade, but full sun is best. Putting your container on wheels is one way to ensure that your pumpkins get the sunlight they need. Just move them when you need to.
Watering Your Container Pumpkin Plants
Water, sunlight, and soil are all essential ingredients for a successful pumpkin harvest. Watering is one of the easiest things to do—and therefore one of the easiest things to also overdo.
Your pumpkins need about an inch of water a week. You can supplement whatever nature does not provide. Wherever they’re planted, they need soil with good drainage—and that includes containers! If you stick your finger down a couple inches into the soil and it’s dry, go get your watering can!
Just don’t kill your crop with kindness—water just enough, but no more. Too much water can invite disease, and you want to keep your pumpkins healthy! And, on balance, don’t let your plants dry out. This is more of a hazard with container gardening, since even large pots will dry out more quickly than plantings in open land.
Have you grown pumpkins in containers? Or would you like to try? Please tell us about your successes and challenges growing pumpkins in containers by commenting below.