7 Watermelon Growing Stages: From Seed to Harvest

Watermelon Growing Stages Main
Watermelon Growing Stages

Watermelons are summer fruits enjoyed for centuries due to their refreshing taste and high water content. Growing watermelons can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it requires patience, care, and attention. Understanding the watermelon growing stages is essential for a successful harvest.

Each watermelon begins with a seed. Once the seed is planted, it will germinate and develop into a small watermelon plant. The watermelon plant will continue to grow and develop for the next 4 to 8 weeks (28 to 56 days) until it begins to flower. The flowers are then pollinated by insects, which leads to the formation of the fruit.

As the watermelon grows, it will change in color and size. Depending on the variety, the fruit may take anywhere from 70 to 100 days to reach maturity. When the watermelon is ripe, the stem will begin to dry out and turn brown, indicating that it is time for harvest.

This article will discuss all 7 watermelon growth stages, from planting to harvesting. Also, we will provide tips on how to care for your watermelon plants during each stage.

Watermelon Growing Stages

To reap a bountiful harvest of juicy watermelons, it’s important to understand the different stages of growth. So, let’s look at each watermelon growing stage in more detail.

Stage 1. Planting Seeds

Watermelon Growing Stages - Planting Seeds
Watermelon Growing Stages – Planting Seeds

The first step is to plant your seeds. Watermelon seeds are usually planted in late spring when the soil is warm. Plant the seeds in a location with full sun exposure and enough space for the plants to spread out.

Two seeds should be placed in a hole approximately 1 inch (2.5 cm) deep. Overseeding will increase the chances of seed germination.

Pro Tip: You can begin the process indoors by placing the seeds in a soil-filled container. Water the soil heavily, and store the container in a warm, dark place. Seeds will sprout within 5 to 10 days. This will give plants a head start, especially if you are growing in a cooler climate.

Stage 2. Seed Germination

Watermelon Growing Stages - Seed Germination
Watermelon Growing Stages – Seed Germination

The second watermelon plant stage is seed germination. Once the seeds have been planted, germination will take 5 to 10 days, depending on the soil’s temperature.

Seeds will emerge from the ground and gradually sprout two oval-shaped leaves (cotyledons), which look very similar to cucumber, pumpkin, or squash.

Within a week or so first set of true leaves emerges. These leaves are larger and different in shape than the initial cotyledons that sprouted from the seed. Nor will they look similar to previously mentioned plants.

Stage 3. Vine Growth

Watermelon Growing Stages - Vine Growth
Watermelon Growing Stages – Vine Growth

After two weeks, vines will emerge from the plant’s stem. Watermelons have long vines, reaching 10 feet (3 meters) long, depending on the variety. [1]

The vines can be challenging for raised garden beds as they will grow over the edge and cover pathways. So, it is essential to keep the vines under control.

Pruning is a crucial step in managing watermelon vines. By removing new shoots, lateral branching can be encouraged, which leads to the development of larger and better fruits. Keep three primary vines per plant and prune any additional shoots that appear.

Stage 4. Flower Blossom

Watermelon Growing Stages - Flower Blossom
Watermelon Growing Stages – Flower Blossom

As the watermelon plant grows, large yellow petal flowers will appear between the stems and runner vines. Female flowers will have a tiny fruit behind them, while male flowers won’t.

Add fertilizer to support the growth of these flowers and, ultimately, watermelon fruits. A well-composted manure or organic fertilizers can provide the necessary nutrients to keep the plant healthy and promote the growth of larger fruits.

Stage 5. Flower Pollination

Watermelon Growing Stages - Flower Pollination
Watermelon Growing Stages – Flower Pollination

As watermelon plants develop male and female flowers, pollination becomes crucial for fruit formation. Beneficial insects such as bees, butterflies, and other pollinators play a key role in transferring pollen from male to female flowers, which is necessary for fruit formation.

Once pollination is complete, the female flower will close, and the fruit will begin to grow. At the same time, the male flower will drop to the ground.

Pro Tip: If there is a lack of pollinators in the area, you can simulate their activity manually. Transfer pollen from the male to the female watermelon flowers using a small paintbrush.

Stage 6. Fruit Development

Watermelon Growing Stages - Fruit Development
Watermelon Growing Stages – Fruit Development

After successful pollination, the watermelons develop, and the fruits grow larger.

During this stage, keep the watermelon plant well-watered and fertilized. The plant needs plenty of nutrients to grow these huge fruits. In addition, proper watering will prevent fruits from cracking or splitting.

The fruit will continue to grow and mature. The time depends on the watermelon variety but usually takes 70 to 90 days.

As watermelons continue to develop, characteristics such as stripes or spots will form. These patterns and colors vary depending on the watermelon variety. 

With proper care, watermelons will continue to grow and mature until they are ready for harvest.

Pro Tip 1: Avoid leaving your watermelons in direct contact with the soil to prevent them from rotting. Place a wooden board or a handful of straws under fruits to keep them off the ground. 

Pro Tip 2: During the fruit development stage, checking for any signs of insect pests or diseases is essential. Any insect infestation or symptom of disease should be addressed quickly to prevent any damage to growing fruit. [2]

Stage 7. Harvesting

Watermelon Growing Stages - Harvesting
Watermelon Growing Stages – Harvesting

Finally, it’s time to harvest watermelons. Harvesting watermelons requires careful attention to pick them at the right time.

A ripe watermelon will have a dull, matte finish, and the stem will start to dry out, turning brown. The fruit will sound hollow when tapped and have a uniform color and shape.

Fruits may not be fully sweet or juicy if harvested too early.

Once watermelons are ready for harvest, simply cut the stem close to the fruit and enjoy your homegrown watermelon without delay.

Watermelon Growing Stages Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Watermelon Growing Stages Frequently Asked Questions
Watermelon Growing Stages Frequently Asked Questions

What Is A Watermelon’s Lifespan?

Once harvested, a watermelon can last up to a few weeks if stored properly in a cool and dry place. However, once cut open, watermelon should be consumed within a few days.

How Many Watermelons Do You Get From One Seed?

Each watermelon seed produces one plant. Each plant can produce several watermelons. The exact number of watermelons that grow from a single seed depends on various factors such as growing conditions, variety, and plant care.

On average, a single watermelon plant can produce 2 to 4 watermelons.

Pro Tip: If the plant is a large fruit variety with many fruits on the vines, it is best to reduce the number of fruits to 2 or 4. However, smaller varieties of watermelons can sustain more fruits on a single plant.

Can You Plant Seed From Store Bought Watermelon?

Yes, you can plant seeds from a store-bought watermelon. However, these seeds may not produce the same type of watermelon you bought from the store.

Store-bought watermelons are often hybrid varieties, meaning their seeds may not be viable or may produce a weaker plant.

Do Watermelons Comeback Every Year?

Watermelons are annual plants, which means they complete their lifecycle within a year. Once harvested, the plant will die, and new seeds will need to be planted the following season to grow new watermelons.


Growing watermelons can be a fun and rewarding experience for any gardener. Following these watermelon growing stages, you can successfully grow your delicious watermelons at home. So, get your gardening gloves on and start growing your watermelons!

I hope this article answers your questions about the watermelon growing stages. If you like our article, check out similar ones in our Gardening How To section.

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