How many pumpkins per plant can you expect to grow? And how can you ensure the best pumpkin yield? We’re about to answer both questions so you can enjoy the best pumpkin harvest possible.
Various factors affect the overall number of pumpkins you can grow on a single plant, and we are here to explore them. In 10 minutes, you’ll know more about optimizing the yield of pumpkin plants than most of our gardening and homesteading colleagues.
Then let’s jump in!
- How Many Pumpkins Can We Expect Per Plant?
- 4 Easy Tips for Increasing Pumpkin Yields
- More Pumpkin Growing Tips
How Many Pumpkins Can We Expect Per Plant?
Like cantaloupes, cucumbers, gourds, squash, and watermelons, pumpkins are part of the botanical family Cucurbitaceae. These odd but wonderful vining plants are super fun to grow. And they aren’t just Halloween decorations. They’re also nutritious and delicious when mashed, roasted, or thrown in a soup. Plus, pumpkin seeds make excellent, healthy snack foods!
According to Penn State, pumpkin plants can be perennial or annual. And they grow optimally in moist, warm environments. Each plant’s appearance, shape, and size can vary significantly.
Some mini pumpkins are round and small, weighing less than 3 pounds. Others are large and ribbed, with some varieties producing fruits that weigh hundreds of pounds.
But How Many Pumpkins Per Plant Are Common?
As a vague rule of thumb, you can expect between 2 and 6 pumpkins from a single plant. However, the pumpkin yield gets impacted (significantly) by the variety of pumpkins you’re growing. And environmental conditions also come into play.
For example, if you’re growing a small variety of pumpkins, like a Jack B or a Munchkin, you might expect up to a dozen fruits off one plant. Comparatively, if you are growing larger pumpkin varieties, like a Monster Smash, for instance, or even the tremendously popular Cinderella pumpkin variety, your plants may only produce 2 or 3 fruits.
Let’s dig deeper.
How Can We Increase Our Pumpkin Yield?
IMPORTANT NOTE: How many pumpkins per plant you can grow isn’t always the most vital consideration. Do you want to maximize your pumpkin per plant ratio? Maybe you don’t want to expand the yield of a particular vine.
Maybe, instead, you want to control the production of the vine to grow ENORMOUS pumpkins. We’re saying that neither massive pumpkins nor more pumpkins are always better. It’s up to you. They’re your pumpkins – grow them as you see fit!
The good news is that pumpkins are surprisingly easy to grow. The average pumpkin plant grows prolifically and quickly and does best when it has adequate nutrients throughout the season to keep it healthy. If you want to maximize your fruits per plant on a single pumpkin vine or multiple vines, implement the following helpful info and tips.
Both small and large-sized pumpkins like warm soil, and pumpkins are winter fruits. So you’ll want to wait until the ground has heated up, after winter, before planting. Depending on the variety, pumpkins take up to about 120 days to complete their life cycles. Some take less time. And some take more. Many gardeners like to plant their pumpkins in late May or early June and then plan for an early October harvest.
4 Easy Tips for Increasing Pumpkin Yields
Our team has tons of experience growing pumpkins worldwide! From Australia to the Southern US and the snowiest parts of New England. From tiny cultivars – to massive! So, we’re also sharing our humble list of helpful tips to help boost your pumpkin harvest.
Give some of these pumpkin-growing hacks a try. We bet they will serve you – and your pumpkin harvest well!
1. Use the Best High-Nitrogen Pumpkin Fertilizer
Use a high-nitrogen fertilizer until you see flowers in your crop of pumpkins. Then, switch up to a high phosphorus feed. And finally, when the actual pumpkins begin developing, switch to a high-potassium fertilizer. Do this optimally, and you might grow some of the heaviest pumpkins in North America! (It will take lots of practice. But many new pumpkin farmers get addicted to seeing how massive their pumpkins can get!)
2. Give Your Pumpkins Plenty of Water
Although they tolerate direct sunlight quite well, pumpkins are very thirsty fruits! Give them plenty of water, and if possible, not tap water. You can get a reverse osmosis (RO) water purifier capable of filtering over 100 gallons daily for less than a couple of hundred bucks.
If you have a large field of pumpkins, consider investing in a drip irrigation system with soaker hoses for delivering water 24 hours a day to your precious plants. Extended dry periods are not desirable!
(We’ve seen many pumpkins dry and die due to dehydration. Give them plenty of water and ensure the soil stays moist.)
3. Invite More Squash Bees and Friendly Pollinators!
Pumpkin vines develop both female flowers and male flowers and require insect pollination. Sure. Maybe the wind will blow some pollen and pollinate some plants, but insects, like bees, work much better. In the worst-case scenario, you could hand-pollinate pumpkin plants, but who wants to do that? Maybe it’s time for you to build that apiary like you’ve been thinking about for years!
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4. Plant Fewer Pumpkins Per Vine
If you’re growing a pumpkin patch for Halloween decorations instead of growing it for food, you’ll want the heaviest fruits possible. To get this, you want to remove most of the pumpkins from the vine before they burst into a growth stage.
Limit the number of pumpkins to one or maybe two per vine. That way – you allow the plant to direct all available nutrients and resources for its fruit’s maximum growth. Fewer pumpkins per vine are perfect for cultivating heavy-hitting cultivars like Atlantic Giant Pumpkins!
More Pumpkin Growing Tips
Growing pumpkins is a ton of fun – no matter how many pumpkins grow per vine.
We can also make the process easier for new pumpkin gardeners. Here’s how.
We want to share some of our best pumpkin-growing tips. Let’s start by looking at the type of soil in which most varieties of pumpkins grow best.
Then let’s get dirty!
Which Types of Soil Are Best for Growing Pumpkins?
The best soil for growing pumpkins will have excellent water infiltration and holding capacities. Penn State says that the soil pH should be between 5.8 to 6.6. And it should be minimally compacted. The soil also needs to be allowed to warm up after winter, so avoid the urge to plant too early.
For best pumpkin growing, average daily temps should flux between 65 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. And temperatures less than 55 degrees Fahrenheit can cause slowed growth or damage to these large but tender fruits. And by the way, frost is a definite no-no for pumpkins. All varieties of pumpkins love and need warmth and their personal space!
The Importance of Proper Row Spacing
Pumpkins typically sow in rows or mounds, and pumpkin vines often grow 20 feet or more long. Even miniature varieties need plenty of room to grow. However and wherever you plant your pumpkins, they need plenty of space. If you’re planting in rows, leave around 10 feet of space between the rows. It’s always better to give the plants too much room than have them choke one another out with too little room, right?
If you plant in mounds, which is my preferred method, then space your hills out so that each has about 70 – 80 square feet per plant of growing room, free from the other mounds around it. Lots of space is good! I make my growing mounds about 4 feet in diameter and about 2 feet high. I put six seeds in each pumpkin mound. And then wait to see which plants emerge most promisingly. Then, I cull the weakest and cater to the 2 or 3 I leave to grow.
Regardless of where you plant or whether you plant in rows or mounds, ensure that your plants have the proper spacing to thrive without competing too much with one another for limited nutrients and water. You’ll also probably want space to walk around and inspect your pumpkin plants without stepping on their developing vines. Ouch!
Our Best Pumpkin Growing Secret
Our secret is that pumpkins are surprisingly easy to grow. As long as you follow a few rules!
Pumpkins are plants. And when the seed is good, the resulting plant has a great chance of success as long as its basic needs get met. So, ensure that you begin with quality seed. And then provide plenty of sunlight, water, nutrition, insects for pollinating the pumpkin flowers, and care. Regardless of the type of pumpkin you sow, allow your plants the opportunity to exercise their genetic potential by giving them the accommodating environment they need to thrive.
And remember, how many pumpkins per plant isn’t the key consideration, at least not in my opinion. It’s more important to enjoy the meditative and beneficial gardening experience. And love every mature pumpkin produced. Miniature pumpkin varieties, midsize pumpkin varieties, and larger-sized pumpkins are ALL LOVELY!
Don’t Forget About Pumpkin Plant Pests!
Beware of these red eggs throughout your plant’s life stages – no matter how many pumpkins per plant you grow. These eggs are from a squash bug. Squash bugs are a damaging insect pest and the sworn enemy of all pumpkin, cucumber, and squash vines!
Watch closely around the underside of leaves for small red eggs. Squash bugs suck the leaves dry – so you may notice crinkled leaves or extra leaf litter. And if you see red eggs, manually destroy them! Chucking the red eggs in a water bottle with tap water mixed with a dash of natural detergent works.
If you leave red eggs on your pumpkin plants unchecked, here’s what you get. An unrelenting squash bug infestation! The infestation quickly grows out of control – and you’ll likely lose your entire pumpkin, squash, or zucchini crop. Inevitable damage to blossoms occurs until the plant eventually dries, rots, and dies.
(Squash bugs are the worst! Not even cucumber beetles have given us this much trouble. That’s why we scan our pumpkin plants daily for pest eggs, squash bugs, or other common pests.)
We hope you enjoyed reading our best tips for choosing how many pumpkins per plant to grow in your garden.
We tried to make things easy!
- We usually keep the number of pumpkins per vine to a minimum if we want jumbo-sized pumpkins.
- But if we’re growing a smaller cultivar – we might grow as many pumpkins as the vine will handle!
Thanks for reading. Now, plant pumpkins. And enjoy your divine pumpkin harvest!
(And if you have more questions about how many pumpkins per plant or about growing backyard pumpkins? Feel free to ask!)
Have a good day!