Have you ever seen a pumpkin that looked like a watermelon? Maybe you’ve wondered if there is an official pumpkin/watermelon cross. Are these strange plants a real variety or just a happy accident?
There is no officially recognized pumpkin/watermelon hybrid. In fact, it’s highly unusual for pumpkins to cross-pollinate, but it’s not impossible. Pumpkins are sometimes mistaken for watermelons when they’re still immature, as their skin looks a lot like a watermelon until it ripens and turns orange.
In the rest of this article, we’ll dive into what these strange-looking plants might be.
Do Pumpkins and Watermelon Cross-Pollinate?
Pumpkins and watermelon both belong to the Cucurbit family, meaning they can cross-pollinate. However, they have different numbers of chromosomes, making this unlikely.
Dozens of gardeners claim to have grown hybrid pumpkin/watermelon plants. While this is technically possible, it is very rare. The offspring of these plants would also be very unstable and most likely be sterile.
What Are Pumpkins That Look Like Watermelon?
The most likely explanation for a pumpkin that looks like a watermelon in your garden is that it’s an immature pumpkin. As juveniles, pumpkin plants look very similar to watermelons; they are both round or oblong, green, and have stripes running from the stem to the blossom end of the plant.
The best way to know if you have a pumpkin is to wait and see if the fruit changes colors. If it turns orange, you’ll know you’ve got a pumpkin. If the fruit stays green all season long and has orange, pumpkin-like flesh, however, you may have a cross between a pumpkin and a watermelon. While it’s rare, it’s not impossible.
Can Growing Pumpkins And Watermelon Close Together Create Hybrid Plants In One Season?
Since watermelon and pumpkins can technically cross-pollinate to create a hybrid, growing them close together can increase the likelihood of this happening. The closer two plants are to each other, the more likely they are to cross-pollinate to create a new type of plant.
However, it’s important to note that you won’t see a pumpkin-watermelon hybrid the first year of growing them near each other. Even if you plant them side by side, the pumpkins and watermelon will produce their respective fruits.
If you collect the seeds from those fruits, however, those seeds may create a hybrid plant the following season. Cross-pollination does not affect the current year’s fruit, but it can impact what the seeds grow the following year.
There are many rumors of a pumpkin that looks like a watermelon. While a cross between these two plants is possible, there is not an official variety of pumpkin that looks like a watermelon.
In fact, it’s much more likely that what you’re seeing is an immature pumpkin that will eventually turn from green to a bright orange as harvest time grows near. If you do happen to grow a pumpkin/watermelon cross, make sure to save the seeds to see what they produce the following year.