If you are planning on growing pumpkins in your garden this year, you might\nbe wondering how big the plants and fruit will get. That way, you can\nplan the number of plants and the amount of space you will need for your crop\nof pumpkins.\n\n\n\nSo, how big do pumpkins grow? Pumpkins grow 10 to 30 inches (25 to 76 centimeters) tall, 4 to 16 feet (1.2 to 4.9 meters) wide, and produce fruit that weighs between 4 ounces and 200 pounds!\n\n\n\nOf course, the quality of your fruit (if you get any at all!) depends on the\ncare that you give your pumpkin plants. Let\u2019s take a closer look at\npumpkins, including size, growing conditions, and time to maturity.\n\n\n\nHow Big Do Pumpkins Grow?\n\n\n\nPumpkin plants generally grow to a height of 10 to 30 inches\n(25 to 76 meters), with a width (spread) of 4 to 16 feet (1.2 to 4.9\nmeters). This means that pumpkins will\ntake up a lot of ground space in your garden.\n\n\n\nPumpkins takes up lots of space in a garden, spreading around with their sprawling vines and a spread of several feet.\n\n\n\nMiniature pumpkin varieties, such as the Mini Harvest Hybrid Pumpkin Blend from Burpee, can produce fruit as small as 4 ounces.\n\n\n\nOn the other hand, some larger pumpkin varieties, such as the Atlantic Giant Pumpkin from Burpee, can produce fruit that weighs 200 pounds or more.\n\n\n\nOf course, according to the Iowa State University Extension, there are giant, world-record pumpkins that can have a circumference of over 10 feet.\n\n\n\nThe Oregon State University Extension has an article on these enormous pumpkins, which can weigh more than 1 ton (2000 pounds or 907 kilograms)!\n\n\n\nHow Long Does It Take Pumpkins to Grow and Ripen?\n\n\n\nPumpkins can take between 70 and 120 to days to mature, depending on the variety. According to the University of Maryland, most pumpkins take 100 days or more to ripen.\n\n\n\nPumpkin seeds take 7 to 10 days to germinate, and 70 to 120 days to mature.\n\n\n\nPumpkin seeds usually germinate in 7 to 10 days. It is preferable to sow your pumpkin seeds directly\ninto the soil where the plants will grow. \nHowever, you can start seeds indoors 3 weeks before transplant to avoid\nlate spring frosts.\n\n\n\nWhat Do Pumpkins Look Like?\n\n\n\nPumpkins are oval or round, and they start off with a green\ncolor. Most pumpkins become orange when\nthey are ripe, although some can be white, yellow, red, or other colors.\n\n\n\nMiniature pumpkins like these can weigh as little as 4 ounces. Many pumpkins are orange when ripe, but there are other colors such as white, yellow, or red.\n\n\n\nAre Pumpkins Hard to Grow?\n\n\n\nPumpkin plants like full sun and warmer temperatures, so they can be\ndifficult to grow in colder, northern regions with short growing seasons.\n\n\n\nOne way to offset this problem is to start seeds indoors and then transplant\nthe established pumpkin plants outdoors in the spring, after the last danger of\nfrost has passed and soil temperatures are a bit warmer.\n\n\n\nTemperature for Pumpkins\n\n\n\nThe minimum temperature for pumpkin seed germination is 60 degrees\nFahrenheit (15.6 degrees Celsius). If the soil is any colder than this,\nyou will see low germination rates \u2013 that is, if you can get any seeds at all\nto germinate!\n\n\n\nThis is nature\u2019s way of protecting pumpkin seeds from sprouting at a time\nwhen they will be unable to survive. This is why it is suggested that you\nstart pumpkin seeds indoors to avoid cold soil temperatures in early spring.\n\n\n\nThe maximum temperature for pumpkin seed germination is 105 degrees\nFahrenheit (40.6 degrees Celsius). If the soil is any warmer than this,\ngermination rates will decrease.\n\n\n\nCombined with high humidity, high temperatures can encourage the growth of\nmold, which is another threat to your plants. So, don\u2019t wait too long to\nplant your pumpkin seeds and transplant your established plants outside!\n\n\n\nThe Old Farmer\u2019s Almanac suggests starting pumpkin seeds indoors 2 to 4\nweeks before the last spring frost date, and waiting until the soil temperature\nis at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit (21.1 degrees Celsius) before transplanting\noutdoors.\n\n\n\nYou can find the frost dates for your area on the Old Farmer\u2019s Almanac\nwebsite.\n\n\n\nThe ideal (optimal) temperature for pumpkin seed germination is between 85\ndegrees Fahrenheit (29.4 degrees Celsius) and 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 degrees\nCelsius).\n\n\n\nKeep in mind that these temperatures refer to soil temperature, not air\ntemperature. If you want to find out the soil temperature, use a\nprobe-type thermometer to check.\n\n\n\nIf the thermometer reads a temperature that is too low, then you have some\noptions. One option is to wait until the sun warms up the soil.\n\n\n\nTo speed up this process, clear away any debris, such as leaves or grass\nclippings, from the soil surface. Also make sure to choose a location for\nplanting that gets plenty of sun, so that it can warm up the soil faster.\n\n\n\nIf you are worried about a short growing season, you can also use a cloche\n(a plastic or glass cover) to trap some heat and warm up the air and soil near\nyour pumpkin seeds.\n\n\n\nA cloche can be made from a plastic water bottle to retain warmth and\nhumidity in the soil for seeds or seedlings as they grow. \n\n\n\nFor more information, check out the table below, and check out this\narticle from the University of California on ideal seed germination\ntemperatures.\n\n\n\nSeed Germination TemperatureTemperature (degrees Fahrenheit) Temperature (degrees Celsius)\n Minimum \n \n 60 \n \n 15.6 \n \n Ideal \n \n 85 to 95 \n \n 29.4 to 35 \n \n Maximum \n \n 105 \n \n 40.6 \n \n\n\n\nWatering for Pumpkins\n\n\n\nPumpkins need lots of water, so water deeply at the base of the vine (try to\nkeep the leaves and the fruit itself from getting wet, especially on the\nbottom). If you find that you have a\nproblem with dry soil, check out my article on how to treat dry soil.\n\n\n\nBe careful not to over water or under water your pumpkin plants.\n\n\n\nOn the other hand, over watering your pumpkin plants (or any plants for that\nmatter) can lead to root rot and eventual death. The best way to decide\nwhen to water is to feel the soil with your fingers.\n\n\n\nIf the soil feels dry 2 or 3 inches below the surface, then go ahead and\nwater. For more information, check out my article on over watering your plants.\n\n\n\nTry to water early in the morning, rather than at night, to allow water to\nsoak into the soil. Avoid getting the leaves wet to prevent rot, mold,\nand diseases.\n\n\n\nAlso, avoid getting the pumpkin fruit itself wet, especially on the bottom. In damp weather, it may help to put a thin\npiece of wood underneath the pumpkin fruit so that it is not in contact with\nthe soil.\n\n\n\nFertilizing for Pumpkins\n\n\n\nUse a balanced fertilizer (such as 10-10-10) early in the\npumpkin plant\u2019s growth, to encourage vine and leaf growth. Avoid excessive nitrogen, since this can burn\nplants or encourage too much green growth at the expense of flowers and fruit.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on over fertilizing your plants.\n\n\n\nToo much nitrogen will encourage pumpkin plants to grow vines and leaves at the expense of flowers (like this one) and fruit.\n\n\n\nSwitch to a high-phosphorus fertilizer just before the flowers bloom. For more information, check out my article on high-phosphorus fertilizers.\n\n\n\nFor more information on fertilizing, check out this article on pumpkins from the Old Farmer\u2019s Almanac.\n\n\n\nSpacing for Pumpkins\n\n\n\nPumpkins extend their vines in all directions, and take up\nlots of ground space in your garden. You\nmight need 50 to 100 square feet per hill (pumpkins are normally grown in small\nmounds of soil called hills).\n\n\n\nPlant pumpkin seeds an inch deep, 5 to a hill (mound of soil), with 5 feet between hills. Thin them later, to the two strongest seedlings per hill.\n\n\n\nSow your pumpkin seeds 1 inch deep in the soil, planting 5\nseeds per hill. Leave 5 feet between\nhills, and leave 10 feet between rows if you have multiple rows.\n\n\n\nAfter the pumpkin seeds germinate and begin to grow, thin the\nseedlings to leave the best 2 plants per hill.\n\n\n\nFor more information, check out my article on thinning seedlings.\n\n\n\nSpacing requirements may vary depending on the pumpkin variety: there are vining, semi-bush, miniature, and bush varieties to consider. For more information, check out this article on pumpkins from the University of Illinois Extension.\n\n\n\nHow to Grow Big Pumpkins\n\n\n\nIf you want to grow really big pumpkins, there are a few\nextra steps to take.\n\n\n\nFirst, wait until your pumpkins reach the size of a softball\n(a diameter of 3.5 to 4 inches or 8.9 to 10.2 centimeters).\n\n\n\nThen, remove all but the best pumpkin fruit on each\nplant. That way, each plant will\nconcentrate all of its energy on this one fruit, leading to a bigger pumpkin.\n\n\n\nTo grow bigger pumpkins, you will need to spend a lot more time pulling weeds, watering and fertilizing carefully, and protecting the vines and leaves to maximize growth.\n\n\n\nAlso, be sure to keep the area around the pumpkin and its\nvines free from all weeds and other plants. \nThis prevents competition with other plants for sunlight or for water and\nnutrients in the soil.\n\n\n\nFinally, water your plants from below, and avoid getting the\nvines and leaves wet to avoid rot. Each\nleaf will absorb more sunlight, create more energy, and add to the size of the\npumpkin!\n\n\n\nConclusion\n\n\n\nBy now, you have a much better idea of how big pumpkins grow, in terms of\nboth the fruit on the vine and the plant itself. You also know a bit more\nabout the care that is necessary to ensure a healthy crop of pumpkins in this\nyear\u2019s garden.\n\n\n\nI hope you found this article helpful \u2013 if so, please share it with someone\nelse who can use the information. If you have any questions or advice\nabout pumpkins, please leave a comment below.