Pumpkin (Cucurbita) | Gardening On

pumpkins are vegetables

The pumpkin is a plant that belongs to the genus Cucurbita. Although you may only remember her on Halloween, this is a herbaceous plant that is easy to grow. Therefore, from here we encourage you to do it because surely you will not regret it.

Now, you will discover the most recommended species, the most interesting varieties and everything about how to grow and care for it to get a good harvest.

Origin and characteristics of the pumpkin

Pumpkin is a natural creeping or climbing plant of America. It has tendrils, thanks to which it can be easily extended. The leaves are generally rounded, sometimes lobed, green in color. The flowers are unisexual, that is, there are male and female flowers.

And its fruit is what we know as pumpkin, which in botanical terms is called peponid. Ripens towards late summer and early fall. It is generally globose, but depending on the species it can be elongated. The color also varies: it can be orange to dark green.

Pumpkin varieties

The scientific name of the pumpkin is Cucurbita, although to be exact it is not the name, but the botanical genus to which it belongs. This genus includes a score of species, the following being the most cultivated:

cucurbita ficifolia

Pumpkin is a creeping plantPumpkin is a creeping plant

Image – Flickr / Yotoen

Known as chilacayotes, is a type of pumpkin that grows wild in South America, specifically in its high altitude tropical regions. It is creeping and annual (lives only a few months), and has short, sharp spines on its stems. The fruit is globose, and measures between 50 centimeters wide by half the height approximately. This is also green with whitish spots.

The largest pumpkin

The giant pumpkin is edible

The giant pumpkin is edible

Is the common pumpkin, and one of the ones used on Halloween. It is a creeping or climbing plant, with large green leaves and fruits considered giant. since it is not only the species that produces the largest fruits, but we also talk about the fact that they can weigh more than 100 kilos.

Musk squash

Butternut squash is elongated

Butternut squash is elongated

It is known as squash or zucchini, and it is a plant that is no longer found in nature. The shape and color of its fruits varies depending on the cultivar. They can be elongated and orange in the ‘Butternut’, or globose, compact and green in the ‘Yucateca’.

palmate pumpkin

The Cucurbita palmata is not edibleLa Cucurbita palmata is not edible

Image – Wikimedia Commons / Stan Shebs

Known as coyote squash, it is a creeping plant native to the southwestern United States. It has dark green, webbed leaves (hence its name), and yellow or dark green fruits that are inedibleas they taste bad.

Pumpkin pie

Cucurbita pepo is edibleCucurbita pepo is edible

Image – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

It is known as pumpkin, winter squash, and certain cultivars such as zucchini. It is a creeping plant originating from Texas in the United States to Mexico. It has green leaves, and globose or sometimes elongated fruits of orange or green color.

What is the difference between pumpkin and pumpkin?

As a curiosity, and before moving on to cultivation, it is interesting to say that when we talk about pumpkin we usually refer to the fruits of the species Pumpkin pieand pumpkin to those of The largest pumpkin. But, really, all fruits of the genus Cucurbita receive at least one of those common names.

Growing and caring for squash

To get a good pumpkin harvest it is important to know what the vital needs of the plant we want to grow are. To that end, we are going to explain everything you need to know about it:


Pumpkin seeds should be sown early, in springand preferably in horticultural seedling trays (such as these) with specific substrate (for sale here!). But it is important that it be done once the temperatures remain above 15-18 degrees, since we are talking about a cold sensitive plant.


From day one this plant it has to be located in a sunny place. It is necessary that it is exposed to the star king to ensure that it develops correctly, since it will depend on it if it can produce delicious fruits.

Soil or substrate

Pumpkins are grown in the groundPumpkins are grown in the ground

Image – Flickr / manuel mv

Newly germinated pumpkin seedlings should remain in the seedbed until they emerge from the drainage roots. This seedbed must be filled with specific soil, as we have commented in Sowing, although you can also use substrate for urban garden (for sale here!).

Once it is time to move them to a larger site, the ideal is to plant them in the ground, especially if it is a variety of giant fruits. The land has to be rich in organic matter and also has to have good drainage. so that the roots can breathe and grow without problems.


It must be moderate. It does not withstand drought, so we will have to water as we see that the land dries up. In summer the frequency will be higher, especially during a heat wave and / or in areas where the climate is dry.

When watering it is essential not to wet the plant, since otherwise it could suffer burns if the sun hits it at that time or it could even rot. Also, the ideal is to water in the late afternoon, so that the roots have more time to absorb the water.


Fertilizing squash plants is highly recommended throughout the growing season. For this, organic fertilizers will be used, such as earthworm humus, cow manure, compost or guano.


Pumpkin can be attacked by many different pests, such as aphids, whiteflies, leaf miners, borers and mites. Luckily there are several natural products that can be used to combat them, such as diatomaceous earth or potassium soap (for sale No products found.).


It is vulnerable to rot caused by Phytopthora, Anthracnose and Fusarium. Therefore, avoid watering it excessively, and treat with fungicides such as copper.


The pumpkin harvested about six months after sowingwhen it has reached the final size and color. To know if it is ready, we can press it a little: if we notice that it begins to be a little soft, then it is time to cut it.

Another trick is to hit it with your knuckles: if you hear a hollow sound, perfect, you can take it to your kitchen.

Pumpkin preservation

So that it lasts as long as possible, You have to keep it in a place where the temperature stays at about 10 degrees Celsiusand that it is also dry.

Uses and benefits

Pumpkin can be orange or green

The pumpkin can be orange or green

It is used basically as a horticultural plant, since it is edible. They can be cooked in the oven, made creams or sauces, purees, and it is even possible to eat it fresh in salads.

In addition, has many health benefitslike these:

  • It is useful in cases of constipation.
  • It helps us to have strong defenses.
  • It is diuretic.
  • Improves skin and eye health.

Of course, it also has some contraindications. And is that if you have an allergy to this fruit you should not consume it. Likewise, if you usually have diarrhea, you should not consume the seeds either as they have a lot of fiber and the symptoms that accompany this problem, such as gas or abdominal pain, would worsen.

Another use is decorativeon days like Halloween. A few pumpkins scattered around the garden or patio look great. So don’t hesitate to leave some to decorate.

What do you think of the pumpkin? You like?

Pumpkin (Cucurbita) | Gardening On

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