Perfect Pumpkins

Plan ahead and sow some pumpkins this month so you have pumpkins to carve for Halloween

Common Name

Pumpkins come in lots of amazing shapes, colours and sizes, from small to very large; some of the giant pumpkins can weigh more than 400kg.

Interesting Facts

Pumpkin pie is a traditional sweet dish cooked in America as part of their Thanksgiving Day celebrations.

Growing Tips

Growing conditions:

Pumpkins like a sunny place to grow, somewhere out of cold winds.

When to grow:

Pumpkins can be started off in pots inside or in a greenhouse in April and early May and then planted outside in May or early June in colder regions.

You will need:

  • Small 8cm pots
  • Compost
  • Packet of pumpkin seeds – look in your local garden centre to decide what variety you would like to grow. If you grow bigger pumpkins, then you can carve them in October.
  • Plant label and pencil
  • Clear plastic drinks bottles (2L) cut in half

How to grow:

  1. Fill the pot with compost loosely to the top of the pot.
  2. Tap the pot three times on the table and then make a hole with your finger to a depth of 2cm.
  3. Place a pumpkin seed on its side in the hole and cover with compost.
  4. Write or make a plant label and place it at the side of the pot.
  5. You can make a mini cloche out of a clear, large plastic drinks bottle to put over the seedlings, remember to remove it before the plants get too large.
  6. Transplant the young plants outside in to a weed free space at the end of May, protect with the cloches or horticultural fleece until the risk of frosts have passed.
  7. For the biggest fruits make sure that the pumpkins are well watered and protect the young plants from slugs and snails – they like to eat them.
  8. Check the seed packet for when to harvest your pumpkin variety and have fun carving a pumpkin in to a lantern for Halloween.

Get involved

The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.