London (change)

How to grow pumpkins

You will need

Pumpkin seeds

Small pots

Seed compost

Heated propagator or warm windowsill

Well-rotted manure or compost

Vented bell cloche

Do it: mid-March to mid-June
At its best: 18-22 weeks from sowing


Growing pumpkins is easy and great fun. Pumpkins are rampant growers so they benefit from a large root run, plenty of moisture and regular feeding. For this reason, they are best grown in the open ground, or a large half barrel. When planning your patch, be sure to allow sufficient space for the fully mature crop.

How to do it


Sow seeds individually in small pots of good quality compost, from mid-March to mid-June. Place in a heated propagator, or warm windowsill, and keep just moist.


When seedlings are about 10cm tall, harden off thoroughly. once frosts have passed, plant them out in deeply dug soil, into a large hole filled with plenty of compost or well-rotted manure.


Mound soil in a ring at least 45cm-wide around the base of the plant to divert water to the roots. Water well and cover each plant with a vented bell cloche to protect against cool weather.


Pumpkins have female and male flowers. Males only last a day, so remove them as they fade to reduce the risk of grey mould. if sun levels are low, take out leaves overshadowing the fruits (take out all that have mildew) as this encourages ripening.

Our tip

Make sure you plant your pumpkin in a patch of land you can spare for a few months – it takes about
18 to 22 weeks between sowing and harvesting.

Water regularly, keeping the soil moist at all times. The stress of drought causes the plant to make a greater proportion of male flowers and fruit is only borne on female flowers. Plentiful water is also needed for the fruit to swell.

Discuss this project

Talkback: How to grow pumpkins
Your comment will appear after a quick registration step

Madeleine51 30/03/2013 at 17:10

This year will be my first attempt at growing pumpkins and it this might be a silly question but how do you tell the difference between a male and female flower?

Dovefromabove 30/03/2013 at 17:32

Look at the stalk behind the flower - the male stalk is the same thickness (or rather thinness) all the way along, whereas the female has a swelling behind the flower - this will  grow into the pumpkin when the female flower is fertilised.


No such thing as a silly question - but it would be daft not to ask 

SydCdw 15/05/2014 at 20:12

As a Australian I Love a pumpkin.
Last year I grew 4 Queensland Blue pumpkin plants/vines from seed my Mum sent over from home to Germany for me. Planted the 4 into 2 60L bags of compost on the flat green/living roof of my house as I didn't have enough room in the garden for them, managed 2 decent sized pumpkins per vine ( 8 overall ) and lost 4 to others to birds and greedy squirrels.
As I couldn't find any literature on growing pumpkins in grow bags I was taking a chance on the method for such a heavy feeder with a substantial root run, but they flourished.
However if you want to try the grow bag method plan on watering every day -sometimes twice a day in the height of summer, using a liquid fertiliser every 5 days to keep them going, they will send out feeder roots along the stem if they find a spot to root.
Pumpkins store brilliantly through the winter, I've only just used the last one up for Easter Sunday Lunch. There is a huge difference in flavour in the varieties.
Now if the weather is good this weekend in Frankfurt, I have glut of QB seedlings to go out.