10 Melon Varieties to Grow for Refreshing Summertime Sweetness

Growing melons in your garden is a delightful way to enjoy the sweet, refreshing flavors of summer. Melons are a favorite treat during the warmer months with their juicy, aromatic flesh and vibrant colors. Whether you prefer the classic taste of watermelon or the unique flavor of cucamelons, there’s a melon variety to suit every palate.

This article explores ten fantastic melon varieties that can thrive in your garden, offering diverse sizes, tastes, and textures to enhance your summertime experience. Discover the best melons to grow for a bountiful and delicious harvest that will keep you and your family returning for more.

The Trouble With Growing Melon

Watermelon on the wooden table in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Melons need a long growing season with plenty of sunlight and consistent warmth, which can be difficult to provide in regions with short summers or unpredictable weather. Frost can damage young plants, so it’s crucial to plant them only after the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed sufficiently.

Melons require regular watering, especially during fruit development, to remain juicy and sweet. However, overwatering or poor drainage can lead to root rot and other fungal diseases. Maintaining a balance is essential, and enough water must be provided to keep the soil moist but not waterlogged. Mulching can help retain soil moisture and reduce the risk of disease.

Pest control is also a significant challenge when growing melons. Common pests include aphids, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs, which can damage leaves, stems, and fruits. Regular monitoring and using integrated pest management strategies, such as introducing beneficial insects or using organic pesticides, can help keep pest populations in check.

Melons are susceptible to various diseases, such as powdery mildew, downy mildew, and fusarium wilt. These diseases can severely impact plant health and fruit quality. Preventative measures, such as crop rotation, choosing disease-resistant varieties, and ensuring good air circulation around plants, can help mitigate these problems. Regularly inspecting plants and removing any infected parts can also prevent the spread of disease.

Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus)

Woman holding a watermelon in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Watermelons are synonymous with summer, providing a refreshing treat on hot days. This sprawling vine produces large fruits, typically with a tough green rind and sweet, juicy red flesh. Varieties range from the classic oblong shape to smaller, rounder types. Watermelons thrive in warm climates, requiring ample growing space and plenty of sunlight. They prefer well-drained, sandy soils and consistent watering.

The fruit’s high water content makes it a favorite for hydration, and its sweet flavor is enjoyed fresh, in salads, or as juice. Watermelons also contain vitamins A, B6, and C, making them a healthy choice for any garden.

Honeydew (Cucumis melo var. inodorus ‘Honey Dew’)

Male farmer holding a honeydew melon.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Honeydew melons are renowned for their smooth, pale green rind and sweet, light green flesh. These melons are typically round to slightly oval and have a succulent texture, making them a popular choice for fresh eating and fruit salads. Honeydew plants need a long growing season with plenty of sunlight and warmth. They grow best in rich, well-drained soil with regular watering to maintain their juicy texture.

Honeydews are a good source of vitamin C and B vitamins, adding nutritional value to their delightful taste. When ripe, honeydew melons emit a subtle, sweet aroma, and their skin is slightly waxy.

Cantaloupe (Cucumis melo var. cantalupensis)

Harvested cantaloupe melons on the wooden table in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Cantaloupes, also known as muskmelons, are characterized by their netted rind and orange, sweet, and fragrant flesh. These melons are typically round and have a juicy, flavorful taste that makes them perfect for fresh consumption. Cantaloupes require a warm growing season, well-drained soil, and consistent moisture for optimal growth.

They are rich in vitamins A and C, providing health benefits alongside their delightful flavor. When selecting a cantaloupe for harvest, look for a sweet, musky scent and a slight softness at the stem end. These melons are versatile in culinary uses, from fruit salads to smoothies.

Canary (Cucumis melo var. inodorus ‘Canary’)

Canary melon growing in the green house.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Canary melons are distinctive with their bright yellow skin and elongated shape. Inside, the flesh is pale green to white and has a sweet, slightly tangy flavor. These melons are named for their canary-yellow rind and are often used in fruit salads or eaten fresh.

Canary melons prefer warm, sunny climates and well-drained soil. They need consistent watering to develop their juicy texture. Rich in vitamins A and C, canary melons are not only tasty but also nutritious. Their unique flavor makes them a delightful addition to various dishes, and they can also be used in chilled soups or desserts.

Bitter melon (Momordica charantia)

Bitter melon on the wooden table.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Bitter melon, also known as bitter gourd, is notable for its distinctively bumpy skin and bitter taste. This melon is often used in Asian cuisine, both in cooked dishes and traditional medicine. Bitter melon grows on a climbing vine and prefers hot, humid climates.

It requires well-drained soil and consistent watering. The fruit is rich in vitamins C and A, as well as various antioxidants. Despite its bitterness, it is valued for its health benefits, including blood sugar regulation and digestive aid. Bitter melons are usually harvested when they are green and firm, and their bitterness can be tempered by soaking or salting.

Cucamelon (Melothria scabra)

Freshly picked cucamelons in a bowl on the table.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Cucamelons, also known as Mexican sour gherkins or mouse melons, are tiny fruits that resemble miniature watermelons but taste like cucumbers with a hint of lime. These small, grape-sized melons are perfect for snacking, pickling, or adding to salads. Cucamelons grow on vigorous, climbing vines that thrive in warm climates with well-drained soil and regular watering.

They are easy to grow and highly productive, often producing an abundance of fruits throughout the growing season. Cucamelons are rich in fiber and antioxidants, making them a healthy addition to your garden and diet.

Charentais (Cucumis melo)

Charentais melons.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Charentais melons are a French variety of cantaloupe known for their intense fragrance and sweet, orange flesh. These melons are typically small, round, and have a smooth, lightly netted rind. Charentais melons thrive in warm, sunny conditions and require well-drained soil and consistent moisture.

They are highly prized for their rich, aromatic flavor and tender texture, making them a gourmet choice for fresh eating or in salads. These melons are rich in vitamins A and C, providing both delicious taste and nutritional benefits. Harvest Charentais melons when they emit a strong, sweet aroma and have a slight give at the stem end.

Snap (Cucumis melo ‘Momordica’)

Male farmer holding a snap melon on the farm.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Snap melons, also known as snap cantaloupes, are unique for their ability to “snap” off the vine when ripe. These melons have a netted rind and sweet, juicy orange flesh. Snap melons grow best in warm climates with well-drained soil and need regular watering to ensure they develop their characteristic sweetness.

They are rich in vitamins A and C, adding health benefits to their delightful taste. These melons are often enjoyed fresh or in fruit salads. Look for a pronounced fragrance and a slight softness at the stem end to determine ripeness.

Matisse (Cucumis melo var. inodorus)

Matisse melon on the wooden table in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Matisse melons are a type of inodorus melon, characterized by their smooth, often slightly wrinkled rind and sweet, aromatic flesh. These melons grow best in warm climates with well-drained soil and consistent watering.

Matisse melons are known for their rich flavor and juicy texture, making them a favorite for fresh eating and in fruit salads. They are also a good source of vitamins A and C, adding nutritional value to their delicious taste. These melons should be harvested when they emit a sweet aroma and have a slight give at the stem end.

Gac (Momordica cochinchinensis)

Gac melon growing in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Gac melon, also known as baby jackfruit or spiny bitter gourd, is a unique fruit with a spiky orange-red rind and rich, red pulp. This melon is primarily grown in Southeast Asia and is valued for its high antioxidant content, particularly lycopene and beta-carotene. Gac melons grow on vigorous vines and prefer warm, tropical climates. The fruit is often used in traditional medicine and culinary dishes for its health benefits and vibrant color.

Gac melon pulp can be used in drinks, desserts, and as a natural food coloring. The fruit is typically harvested when it turns bright orange-red and the spikes are fully developed.

Fruits & Veggies To Grow Vertically

Canary melon growing in the green house.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Most melon varieties do very well when grown vertically, here are some more fruits and vegetables that thrive when grown upwards.

Learn More: 20 Veggies & Fruits You Should Grow Vertically

Fruits & Vegetables You Can Grow in Partial Shade

Kale growing in the garden.
Photo Credit: Envato Elements.

Learn More: 32 Vegetables You Can Grow in Partial Shade

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *