Have you ever wondered Are Watermelons Perennial or Annual plants? If you like this sweet summer fruit then you definitely know that it is an annual summer delicacy. Watermellon or Citrullus lanatus is a summer fruiting vine. It belongs to the squash family Cucurbitaceae. Watermellon is similar to squash or pumpkin from the outside but the core flesh is totally different. The covering is fleshy with thin skin, the fleshy core is red, sweet, and very juicy.
Watermelon is a summer fruit, it is grown especially on river banks in the early days. River sand, silt, and water provide the necessary conditions to grow these sweet melons. Nowadays, we can grow it anywhere with good soil, water, and adequate sunlight. As it is a summer vine so you have to provide full sun for at least 8-10 hours for better yield. It needs a lot of nutrition to grow therefore keep the soil healthy and full of organic compost.
You can either sow the watermelon seeds directly in the garden or start indoors. Outdoor sowing should be done a couple of weeks after the last frost. Otherwise, you can germinate the seed and prepare seedling indoors 4 to 6 weeks before the last frost. Early germination can help you in getting those early Watermelons in summer.
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How long Does Watermellon Live?
Watermelon plants live for 4 to 6 months after germination.
Most watermelon varieties can live for 4 to 6 months depending n climatic conditions. You have to start the plants in spring and it will last till the first frost. Though you may have to prove frost covers a month before the first frost. Otherwise, the watermelon plant will die at a temperature just below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
It can bloom and fruit for more than 6 months in hotter USDA zones 10 or above. Still, you will need proper care as it can’t resist even mild frost. The early plantation is the best way to get maximum fruit from a watermelon plant.
Do Watermellon Plant Comeup Every year?
No, Watermelons can not come up every year on their own. You have to plant new seedlings every year to get fruits. Seeds are the only way to propagate watermelons. Those small seeds are safe and enclosed within huge watermelons. They can’t come out on their own, not even if you let it dry and disperse.
If you let a watermelon ripe and then dry in the ground then it will definitely rot along with the seeds. Therefore, there is no way for the watermelon plant to reseed itself unless you do it manually.
The plant will die in winter without dispersing any seed in the soil. So no new plant can come up to occupy the empty space.
Are Watermelons Perennial or Annual plants?
Watermelon is an Annual fruiting vine. It belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. The botanical name of Watermelon is Citrullus lanatus. It is grown in warm Agricultural zones but you can grow it anywhere with proper protection. Start your watermelon plants in early spring and enjoy the fruits throughout summer.
Do You Have To Replant Watermelons Every year?
Yes, definitely Watermelons are annual plants and you have to replant them every year. It is summer vine so you have to start again every spring. This is the only way to grow new watermelon plants. They can’t grow on their own without fresh seeds.
The only difference that can happen is you have to buy Watermellon seeds for the first season. Then onwards you can save and store seeds from your harvest. The stored seeds can remain viable for 2 years. Just rinse, dry, and store the watermelon seeds in cool dry packages with a pinch of any contact fungicide.
Start the spring season with new Watermelon seedlings every year. Care for these plants. Feed them regularly with balanced NPK 18:18:18 twice every month. Water abundantly and remove any weeds or grass. This is all you need to do every time whenever you want to grow Watermelons.
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Can you save the Watermellon plant in Winter?
No, you can’t. You cannot save a watermelon plant in winter even if you live in hot agricultural zones. Even a mild frost is deadly for these vines. Watermelons can’t survive the cold climate and the plant will react actively with the dropping temperature. It will start turning yellow and become completely brown in 2 weeks.
The last thing to do at this time is to collect all those ripe watermelons. If anyone is not ripened yet then they will not no matter what you do. So harvest them and make some watermelon candies with sugar syrup.
The fully ripe watermelons are good to eat directly. You cannot save the plants but you can save the seeds. So Scoop out some healthy dark black or brown watermelon seeds from a mature fully ripened fruit. Rinse it well in freshwater then dry out in sunlight for 6 to 8 hours. Again dry the seed for a day or two in shade. Finally store these seeds in airtight packets with a little bit of turmeric, cinnamon, or any contact fungicide. These stored seeds can be used to regrow watermelons for the next 2 years. Start again with fresh watermelon seeds early next spring.
How long Do Watermellon plants keep producing?
A Watermellon plant can keep producing fruits for 90 to 120 days depending on temperature and variety. It will start blooming after 45 days of germination. The plant will continue producing new fruits until it dies. So the exact timing depends on the length of the summer season in your locality.
You should start watermelon plants indoors especially in Zone 7 or below. Here the summer is shorter than winter. So this extra growth can save you 50 or more days of fruiting. This technique is also helpful for other zones. Everywhere else you will get at least 2 extra months for fruiting in your watermelon plants. Your plant can yield an extra 3 to 8 Watermelons during this time.
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What to do with Watermellon plants in Winter?
Once your watermelon plants stop blooming in winter, it is time to remove them from the ground. Start with cutting off the vines. Clean the garden area and collect all of the ripened Watermelons left on the ground. This should be done a couple of weeks before the first frost. Also if you experience heavy rain during winter then get rid of the plant asap.
Heavy rain is bad for watermelon vines. It will cause root rot and attract a lot of bugs and pests towards the plant. The vines may lose their greenery even after a couple of rainy days. Therefore calculate the plantation time beforehand especially if you live in a tropical zone.
Watermelons like dry warm humid soil conditions to grow and thrive. They need water but can’t sustain in sogginess. It is a very fine balance and should be maintained throughout the watermelon plant’s lifecycle.
In the end, remove the vine and prepare the soil for the next season.
If the plant is not dead and there are a few fruits left to ripe. Then Cover the vines with clear plastic sheets. plastic dome or row covers are ideal in this situation.
If possible remove the covering during the daytime and cover it again in the evening. This will force the watermelons to ripe faster.
Watermelon is delicious sweet fruit from the gourd family. It is an annual summer vine. It cannot grow back itself every year. So you have to reseed the garden again every spring if you want to get some more watermelons. You can not save the watermelon plant in winter but you can save the seeds. So rinse off some healthy fully ripened seeds and store them in cool dry storage for next season. Sow these seeds in the garden again next spring season.
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