Top Varieties: Best Watermelon to Grow in Florida | Expert Guide

Welcome to our expert guide on the best watermelon varieties to grow in Florida! If you live in the Sunshine State and are ready to start growing your own juicy, sweet watermelons, it’s important to choose the right cultivars for your climate. With an abundance of sunshine and warm temperatures, Florida offers ideal conditions for watermelon cultivation, but not all watermelons are created equal when it comes to thriving in this unique environment.

In this article, we’ll explore the factors to consider when selecting the best watermelon types for Florida, provide a list of top-rated varieties, and offer practical tips for successful watermelon cultivation. Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or a beginner, you’ll find helpful information to make the most of your Florida watermelon experience. So, let’s get started!

Factors to Consider for Growing Watermelons in Florida

Growing watermelons in Florida requires careful consideration of certain factors unique to the state’s climate and soil conditions. When selecting the best watermelon varieties for Florida, it is important to choose cultivars that exhibit resistance to diseases, can tolerate high temperatures, and provide high yields.

Florida’s subtropical climate is characterized by hot, humid summers and mild winters, making it an ideal environment for watermelon growth. However, certain diseases such as fusarium wilt and anthracnose can pose a threat to watermelon plants in Florida. Choosing disease-resistant varieties can help mitigate this risk.

In addition to disease resistance, Florida growers should also look for watermelon cultivars that can tolerate high temperatures and humidity. Some of the best options for Florida include Jubilee, Crimson Sweet, and Charleston Gray, which are known for their adaptability to the state’s climate and produce large, juicy fruits.

Another important factor to consider when growing watermelons in Florida is yield. High-yielding varieties such as Sugar Baby and Black Diamond can provide bountiful harvests and are popular choices among Florida farmers and gardeners.

Top Watermelon Varieties for Florida Gardens

If you’re looking to grow watermelons in Florida, it’s important to choose the right variety for your growing conditions. Here are some of the top watermelon varieties recommended for Florida gardens:

Variety Characteristics
Crimsom Sweet A classic watermelon with a sweet, juicy flavor and deep red flesh. Resistant to many common diseases and pests.
Jubilee Large, oblong watermelon with a sweet, crisp flesh and tough rind that resists cracking and splitting. Ideal for warm climates.
Sugar Baby A small, round watermelon with dark green skin and bright red flesh. Sweet and juicy with thin rind that’s easy to crack.
Apollo An early-maturing variety with high yield and disease resistance. Produces small to medium-sized fruits with sweet, flavorful flesh.

Regardless of the variety you choose, make sure to look for disease-resistant and heat-tolerant cultivars for the best results in Florida’s warm and humid climate.

Benefits of Growing Watermelons in Florida

Growing watermelons in Florida has numerous benefits for both farmers and consumers. Firstly, the state’s warm and sunny climate makes it an ideal environment for watermelon growth, resulting in high-quality, juicy fruit with excellent flavor.

Secondly, growing watermelons in Florida supports the local economy by providing fresh, locally grown produce that is in high demand. This contributes to the long-term sustainability of the state’s agricultural sector.

Finally, there is nothing quite like the taste of a sweet, refreshing watermelon on a hot day in Florida. Growing your own watermelons can provide a sense of pride and satisfaction, while also being a fun and rewarding hobby.

Tips for Successful Watermelon Cultivation in Florida

Growing watermelons in Florida can be a rewarding experience if you follow these expert tips. Keep in mind that watermelon plants need plenty of sunshine, warm temperatures, and well-draining soil to thrive.

1. Watermelons need consistent watering

Watermelon plants require regular irrigation to produce juicy, sweet melons. Aim to water the plants deeply once a week, providing 1 to 2 inches of water. Avoid overhead watering, which can promote fungal diseases.

2. Fertilize watermelons regularly

Watermelon plants are heavy feeders, meaning they require a lot of nutrients to produce a high yield. Fertilize your plants every 2-3 weeks with a balanced fertilizer containing nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. You can also use organic compost or aged manure to improve soil fertility.

3. Monitor pests and diseases

Common pests of watermelon plants in Florida include aphids, cucumber beetles, and spider mites. Regularly inspect your plants for signs of damage or infestation, and take action immediately if needed. You can also use natural pest control methods such as companion planting or applying neem oil. When it comes to diseases, watermelon plants can be vulnerable to fungal infections such as powdery mildew. To prevent these diseases, avoid overwatering and provide good air circulation around your plants.

4. Harvest watermelons at the right time

Knowing when to harvest your watermelons is crucial for achieving the best flavor and texture. Look for signs of maturity such as a yellowish-white underside, a dull surface, and a hollow sound when tapped. Use a sharp knife or shears to cut the stem close to the fruit, and avoid pulling or twisting the melon.

5. Store watermelons properly

After harvesting, store your watermelons in a cool, dry place away from sunlight. You can also place them in the refrigerator to prolong their shelf life. Cut watermelon should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator and consumed within a few days.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to growing delicious, juicy watermelons in your Florida garden.

Best Time to Plant Watermelons in Florida

Florida’s warm climate makes it suitable for planting watermelons almost all year round. However, the best time to plant watermelons in Florida is between March and June as the temperatures start to rise.

It’s essential to wait until the frost-free dates pass before planting watermelons. For North Florida, the frost-free date is around late March, and for South Florida, it’s around late February. Planting before the last frost can cause damage to the plants and reduce their yield.

The soil temperature is also a crucial factor to consider when planting watermelons in Florida. The ideal soil temperature for watermelon seeds to germinate is around 70°F. If the temperature is lower than that, the seeds will take longer to germinate, or they may not germinate at all.

Before planting, make sure to prepare the soil by tilling it to loosen it and remove any weeds. Add organic matter such as compost or aged manure to improve soil fertility and drainage.

Growing Watermelons in Containers in Florida

Watermelons don’t just have to be grown in the ground in Florida. If you have limited outdoor space, you can still grow watermelons using containers. Container gardening has become increasingly popular over the years, and it’s a great way to grow watermelons in Florida’s warm climate.

When selecting a container for your watermelon plant, keep in mind that they need a lot of space to grow. A container that is at least 20 inches deep and 24 inches wide is ideal. Use a potting mix that drains well and is rich in nutrients to fill your container.

Watermelons require plenty of sun and warmth to grow, so place your container in a sunny location such as a porch or patio. Consistent watering is crucial for container-grown watermelon plants. The soil should be kept consistently moist but not waterlogged.

Support your growing watermelon plant with a trellis or stake to keep it upright. As the plant grows, you may need to prune it to prevent it from becoming too bushy.

Harvest your container-grown watermelons when they are ripe. Look for signs such as a yellowish color on the bottom of the melon and a dull appearance. Tap the melon and listen for a hollow sound to indicate that it’s ready to be picked.

With these tips, you can successfully grow watermelons in containers in Florida and enjoy fresh, homegrown watermelons all summer long.

Common Watermelon Pests and Diseases in Florida

Watermelon plants in Florida are prone to several pests and diseases that can damage or even destroy the crops. Here are some of the most common problems that growers should be aware of:

Pests Symptoms Prevention and Control
Aphids Stunted growth, curled leaves, yellowing, honeydew secretion Use insecticidal soap or neem oil. Encourage natural predators like ladybugs and lacewings.
Squash bugs Wilting of leaves, discoloration, sap-sucking damage Handpick and destroy the bugs. Apply insecticides when necessary.
Cucumber beetles Skeletonized leaves, wilting, reduced yield Use yellow sticky traps and insecticides. Remove debris and weeds to reduce breeding sites.

Watermelon plants can also be affected by various fungal and viral diseases, such as:

  1. Fusarium wilt: Yellowing of leaves, wilting, discoloration of vascular tissue
  2. Anthracnose: Sunken lesions on fruits, leaves, and stems
  3. Powdery mildew: White powdery coating on leaves and stems

To prevent and control these diseases, growers should:

  • Choose disease-resistant varieties
  • Rotate crops to avoid soil-borne pathogens
  • Keep the plants dry and well-ventilated
  • Apply fungicides and pesticides when necessary

Remember: Prevention is better than cure. Regularly inspect the plants for signs of pests and diseases, and take immediate action to control them to avoid further damage.

Harvesting and Storing Watermelons in Florida

Harvesting watermelons at the right time is crucial for getting the sweetest, juiciest fruit. In Florida, watermelons are usually ready for harvest in late spring or early summer, depending on the variety and planting time. To determine if a watermelon is ripe, look for these signs:

  • The bottom of the melon should be creamy yellow, indicating that it has reached full maturity.
  • The spot where the stem attaches to the fruit should be dried and shriveled.
  • When thumped, the fruit should produce a deep, hollow sound, which indicates that it is fully ripe and filled with sweet juice.

When harvesting watermelons, use a sharp knife or pair of shears to cut the stem about an inch above the fruit. Avoid pulling or twisting the fruit, as this can damage the plant and reduce future yields. Once harvested, watermelons can be stored for up to 2 weeks in a cool, dry location such as a garage or basement. For longer storage, consider freezing or canning the fruit.

Frequently Asked Questions about Growing Watermelons in Florida

Growing watermelons in Florida can be a rewarding experience, but it is not without its challenges. Here are some frequently asked questions about growing watermelons in Florida:

Q: What is the best watermelon to grow in Florida?

A: The best watermelon to grow in Florida is one that is disease-resistant, heat-tolerant, and high-yielding. Some recommended watermelon types for Florida include Crimson Sweet, Charleston Gray, and Jubilee.

Q: When is the best time to plant watermelons in Florida?

A: The best time to plant watermelons in Florida is in late winter to early spring, after the last frost has passed and the soil has warmed up to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Q: How do I deal with blossom end rot on my watermelon plants?

A: Blossom end rot is a common problem in watermelon plants caused by a calcium deficiency. To prevent it, ensure that your soil has enough calcium and that your plants receive consistent watering. If you notice blossom end rot, remove affected fruits and adjust your watering and fertilizing practices accordingly.

Q: How long does it take for watermelon plants to mature?

A: It typically takes around 80-100 days for watermelon plants to mature, depending on the variety you are growing and the conditions in your area. Once you see the characteristic curling tendril near the watermelon, it is usually ready for harvest.

Q: What is the best fertilizer to use for watermelons in Florida?

A: Watermelons require a balanced fertilizer with a higher ratio of nitrogen in the early stages and a higher ratio of phosphorus and potassium as they mature. A 10-10-10 or 15-15-15 fertilizer is a good option for watermelons in Florida.

Q: How do I prevent pests and diseases in my watermelon plants?

A: To prevent pests and diseases, practice good sanitation and crop rotation, use disease-resistant and pest-resistant varieties, and keep an eye out for any signs of trouble. If you do notice pests or diseases, address them promptly with appropriate treatments such as insecticides or fungicides.


Choosing the right watermelon variety is crucial for successful growth in Florida. With the abundance of sunshine and warm climate, Florida is an ideal location for watermelon cultivation.

When selecting the best watermelon varieties for Florida, consider factors such as disease resistance, heat tolerance, and high yield. Some of the top-rated watermelons for Florida gardens include the Crimson Sweet, Charleston Gray, and Jubilee.

Growing watermelons in Florida offers many benefits, including the availability of fresh, locally grown melons, economic benefits for farmers, and the satisfaction of enjoying sweet watermelons in the Sunshine State.

By following proper watering, fertilization, pest and disease management, and harvesting techniques, you can ensure successful cultivation of watermelons in Florida.

Experiment with different types of watermelons and have fun growing your own delicious fruit. And if you have any questions along the way, refer to our frequently asked questions section for guidance.


Q: What is the best watermelon to grow in Florida?

A: The best watermelon varieties to grow in Florida are those that are known for their heat tolerance, disease resistance, and high yield. Some top-rated options include the Crimson Sweet, Jubilee, and Charleston Gray.

Q: How do I choose the right watermelon for Florida growing conditions?

A: When selecting a watermelon variety for Florida, consider its adaptability to the climate, sweetness, juiciness, and size. Look for cultivars that are specifically recommended for Florida’s warm and sunny conditions.

Q: What are the benefits of growing watermelons in Florida?

A: There are several benefits to growing watermelons in Florida. You can enjoy locally grown, fresh watermelons, support local farmers, and experience the delight of savoring sweet watermelons in the Sunshine State.

Q: What are some tips for successful watermelon cultivation in Florida?

A: To ensure successful watermelon cultivation in Florida, it is important to properly water the plants, provide adequate fertilization, manage pests and diseases, and use appropriate harvesting methods. Following these tips will help you achieve a bountiful harvest.

Q: When is the best time to plant watermelons in Florida?

A: The best time to plant watermelons in Florida is after the last frost date and when the soil temperature has warmed to around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. This usually occurs in late spring or early summer.

Q: Can I grow watermelons in containers in Florida?

A: Yes, you can grow watermelons in containers in Florida. Choose containers of sufficient size, use a well-draining soil mixture, and provide proper care for container-grown watermelon plants.

Q: What are common watermelon pests and diseases in Florida?

A: Watermelon plants in Florida may encounter pests such as aphids and diseases like powdery mildew. Effective prevention and control strategies include regular inspections, proper hygiene, and using organic pest control methods when necessary.

Q: How do I harvest and store watermelons in Florida?

A: To harvest watermelons in Florida, look for signs of maturity such as a dull outer skin, a yellowish bottom spot, and a hollow sound when tapped. Use proper harvesting techniques and store watermelons in a cool, dry place to maintain their flavor and freshness.

Q: What are some frequently asked questions about growing watermelons in Florida?

A: Frequently asked questions include what type of fertilizer to use, how to deal with blossom end rot, and the average time it takes for watermelon plants to mature. These questions and more are addressed in our comprehensive guide to growing watermelons in Florida.