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8 Pumpkin Plant Growth Stages: From Germination to Harvesting

“You do not go up unless you fall,” I wish I had learned this without having to damage my Pumpkin plant.

As a vegetable enthusiast, it was a devastating occurrence. So, I had to learn about the Pumpkin plant stages in detail.

Generally, the Pumpkin plant growth stages include planting the seeds, germination of seeds, vine growth phase, flowering phase, pollination of the flower, fruit development, and harvesting time.

Pumpkin Plant
A Pumpkin is a plant that is a vegetable. But, tell that to Botanists, they will beg to differ.

The trick is simple; you must follow the steps properly and do the required things. You will then be awarded healthy yields.

Read the article to the last to learn about Pumpkin plant stages in detail.

What are the Stages of Growing a Pumpkin?

Pumpkin is technically a fruit, but many people who do not have botanical knowledge consider it a vegetable.

But it does not matter whether it is a fruit or vegetable; it is tasty either way.

Pumpkins are tender annual plants that can quickly succumb to frost weather. This means you must keep your plant at a suitable temperature to prevent its death.

A Pumpkin takes about three to four months to complete the journey from a seed to a mature, fruit-bearing plant.

Let us look at the complete Pumpkin plant stages from the seed to maturity.

Step 1: Getting the Seeds

As a pumpkin plant is not a rare thing to get your hands on, you could easily find one in your local shops.

Make sure you buy a completely ripe Pumpkin that is full of seeds.

Pumpkin Seeds
Pumpkin seeds not only help to grow a Pumpkin, but they are also edible and loaded with lots of benefits.

Look below for the sites where you can buy Pumpkin seeds.

Online sitesDelivery details
WalmartAbout 3 days
Amazon2-7 days for delivery
Johnny Seeds1 or 2 business days
Harris Seeds1 or 2 business days

To extract the seeds from a fresh Pumpkin, follow the steps below.

  • Take a large newspaper and place your Pumpkin over it to avoid mess.
  • Get a large kitchen knife and cut the top part of the Pumpkin into the shape of a lid.
  • Take the lid off the plant so the Pumpkin gets a bowl appearance.
  • Get a big spoon and scrape the Pumpkin’s insides to get the seeds along with the fiber and pulp of the Pumpkin.
  • Place all the collected stuff in a water bowl and separate the pulp and seeds using your hands.
  • Strain the pulp in a colander and separate the seeds from the water and the pulp.
  • Keep the seeds in cold water for some time and then spread the seeds on dry paper and let the seeds dry out completely.

Step 2: Planting the Seeds

After successfully collecting the seeds, it is time to plant them.

Before planting the seeds, you may want to conduct a viability test. Put the seeds in water for 15 minutes; if they sink, they are viable.

Planting Pumpkin seeds
Look at how some kids are enthusiastically planting Pumpkin seeds. Learn something!

The best time to plant the Pumpkin seeds is during the late spring months when the soil temperature is around 70℉.

Follow the steps below to ensure the optimal sprouting of your Pumpkin seeds.

  • Prepare good, rich soil for planting the seeds. You can add soil additives to the potting mix (manure, compost, humus, etc) to boost its growth.
  • You can start the seeds indoors in small pots or plant them directly in the garden.
  • Dig a small 1-inch hole and place 2 to 3 seeds in them to overseed and have a better chance at germination.

Note: Sow the Pumpkin seeds with their pointed ends facing down. Additionally, keep a 24 inch gap between each seed.

  • Water the soil till it is moist and keep it like that for better germination.
  • If you are starting the seeds indoors, place the small pots in a cool and dark place.
  • It is better to start the seeds indoors two weeks before the last frost.

Step 3: Germination Phase

With proper care after planting, the Pumpkin seeds will provide you with the desired result.

If the soil temperature is ideal, you will witness the germination in about 7 to 10 days.

The seed will produce two oval-shaped leaves that are called cotyledons. The outer covering of the seed is attached to the newly-sprouted leaves.

First true set of Pumpkin leaves
The first true set of Pumpkin leaves starts to grow after one or two weeks.

As the plant matures, the cotyledons fall off, and true leaves start to emerge.

In about seven days, you will notice the plant’s true leaves that have a rounder shape and lighter color than the cotyledons.

Step 4: Vine Growth Phase

A Pumpkin seedling takes about 15 to 20 days before protruding the vines from its stem.

Depending on the Pumpkin species, the vines can grow to a length varying from 10 to 20 feet.

Pumpkin Vines
The growth of vines is the fourth stage of growth of the Pumpkin plants. Be on your toes for further growth.

During this phase of Pumpkin growth, water the plant thoroughly in the roots but ensure you do not wet the leaves.

For better growth, water the Pumpkin plant everyday during hot weather.

At this point, if you have planted your plant indoors, it might be high time to think about moving them to gardens.

Step 5: Flowering Phase

In about two months after planting the seeds, you will be able to witness the flowers in your Pumpkin plant.

It produces large flowers with huge bright yellow-colored petals and long stamen.

Female flowers of Pumpkin have fruit behind their receptacle, but the male flower lacks any fruit. The male flower grows ten days before the female flower.

When the plant produces flowers, you must provide them with liquid fertilizer for vegetables every 15 days during their growing season.

The little fruit you witness behind the flower will turn into the main Pumpkin fruit later.

Step 6: Pollination of the Flower

The main pollination agents of the Pumpkin flower are the small bees that can be found almost everywhere.

The male flower produces sweet nectar and pollen, which is pivotal in attracting the bees.

Pumpkin Flower Pollination
Bees play a pivotal role in the pollination of the Pumpkin flower.

After successfully collecting the pollen, the bees move to the female Pumpkin flower and leave the pollen there, aiding in fertilization.

Following this process, the female flower closes up and starts forming fruit.

If the bees do not visit your garden frequently, you can also take a paintbrush and induce the pollination manually.

However, both the male and female flowers should be open while pollinating Pumpkins.

The male flowers fall off after they serve their purpose, which is completely natural. So, panic is not necessary unless the female flower falls off.

Step 7: Development of Fruit

After successful pollination, the female flower receptacle’s fruit starts rapidly growing.

At the beginning stage of development, the fruit is green, which turns yellow as it matures. From the day of pollination, the fruit may take about two months to mature completely.

If the fruit is too heavy for your plant to handle, you can make a hammock out of old clothes to support its weight.

With the development of the fruit, the vines start turning brown and withering down.

Pumpkins take about 90 to 120 days to fully mature, with a deep color and hardened stem.

Did you know? Pumpkin also comes in different color like blue, red, yellow, and white depending on the variety you have.

Step 8: Harvesting time

To harvest the Pumpkin, you need to find out whether it is ready to harvest or not.

Pumpkin Fruit
Make sure to leave at least 2 inches of stem at the top of your Pumpkin fruit while harvesting.

Look for the following telltale signs to determine if you should pick your Pumpkin.

  • Feel the outer skin of your Pumpkin. If it is hard, it is ready to be picked.
  • The vines connected with the fruit start turning brown.
  • The color of the Pumpkin is the right color depending on its variety.
  • When you tap the outer cover of the Pumpkin, it gives a hollow sound.
  • The stem connected to the Pumpkin becomes hard.

To cut the Pumpkin off the plant, you can use a sharp knife after sterilizing them properly. While cutting, leave at least 2 inches of stem attached to the plant.

After the Pumpkins are harvested, start the curing process by placing them in a sunny location for about 10 days with relative humidity (50 to 70%).

Curing hardens the skin of the Pumpkin, extending its shelf life.

Once it has been properly cured, you can store it in a cold, dark location and prepare some of its delicious dishes.

Tips to Care for a Pumpkin to Grow Faster

Although the Pumpkin plants will not require much looking after, they will still yield better if you provide them with proper care.

Follow the tips below to ensure you grow a better Pumpkin faster.

  • Add compost manure to your soil to ensure you get better Pumpkins faster.
  • Pumpkin plant needs a lot of water. So, ensure you water one inch every week.
  • Increase the watering frequency in hotter weather.
Pumpkin Plant in Sun
Pumpkin plants are happily basking in the sun.
  • Prune wild vines with sterilized pruners now and then to promote optimum growth.
  • Control the weeds around your Pumpkin plant by mulching it properly.
  • Your plant will require at least six hours of direct, bright sunlight daily to grow properly.
  • The soil should be well-draining and rich with good aeration.

If you want results faster, you need to do the above. Otherwise, you could let the plant grow naturally at its own pace.

You might find it interesting to learn if Peppers are fruits or vegetables.

Conclusion

Pumpkin is a tasty fruit that many people with a non-botanical background will consider a vegetable.

But that will be a discussion for some other time.

Anyways, now you know how all the stages the Pumpkin goes through embark on the journey to grow yourself one.

Happy Gardening!

You may want to read about other vegetables as well. Read our articles on Potato Companions and Garlic Companion plants.

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