How to Grow Cantaloupes – A Beginner’s Guide

cantaloupes plant growing in garden
Cantaloupes, which are known botanically as Cucumis Melo, are a type of fruit that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing cantaloupes as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Best Time to Plant Cantaloupes

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the cantaloupe seeds about 2 weeks after the last frost date when soil temperatures are about 65?. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when cantaloupes are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Cantaloupes the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing cantaloupes in your home garden.

Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your cantaloupes grow. Generally, your soil should be loamy soil enriched with well-rotted compost or aged manure. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 6.5.

roughly 6′ apart in rows, keeping rows approximately 5′ apart. 4′ apart, keeping rows of seeds approximately 4′ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about  .5″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your cantaloupe seedlings  when plants are 3″ tall, thin to 3 plants per hill.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Cantaloupes

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your cantaloupes. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it.

Ideally, your cantaloupes should be getting full sun, which means as much sunlight as you can possibly give it, or at least 6 hours or more.

How Much to Water Cantaloupes

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your cantaloupes do, and the amount of water is no different.

Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your cantaloupes begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Cantaloupes to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your cantaloupes grow.

It takes approximately 7-10 days to germinate, and a total of 90 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Cantaloupes

The best time to harvest your cantaloupes is when rinds begin to change from green to tan or yellow.

Cantaloupes can grow up to about 7-12 cm in diameter.

What Can Cantaloupes Be Used For?

Food Use: Use this melon as an edible bowl by cutting in half, removing the small seed cavity, and filling with other chopped fruits.

Flavor Profile: Sweet.

Can Cantaloupes Grow in Pots and Containers?

Yes, you will ideally need a 16″ containerfor each plant. This can help control weeds and keep your plant from growing out of control.

It also gives you the flexibility to move your cantaloupes around if you need to adjust sunlight or bring it indoors to avoid harsh weather conditions.

Are Cantaloupes Safe for Bees?

Yes, cantaloupes are safe for bees.

According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition.

Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, I feel it is important to note that growing cantaloupes is bee-friendly.

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