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CITRULLUS lanatus (PUREHEART®)

Image of Citrullus lanatus (PUREHEART®)

James Burghardt

Family

Cucurbitaceae

Botanical Name

CITRULLUS lanatus(PUREHEART®)

Plant Common Name

Pureheart Watermelon, Watermelon

General Description

This "personal-sized" watermelon fits easily on a plate or in a refrigerator. Developed by Syngenta Seeds, this small, round, seedless melon is about the size of a cantaloupe. It has light green skin with jagged dark green stripes. The thin rind encases a core of sweet red flesh. The dense fruits weigh 3 to 6 pounds (1.5 to 2.5 kg). Seeds and plants of this supermarket melon are generally not available for retail purchase.

Watermelon is a tender annual tropical vine that needs a long, very warm growing season to produce its famous fruits. Yellow, bee-pollinated flowers appear among the attractive deeply lobed, gray-green leaves throughout the growing season. Some watermelons flowers are male and others female. Female blooms have a bulbous ovary at the base, which will eventually become the fruit, and the males only have pollen-laden anthers.

Watermelons do not become sweeter after being harvested, so they must be picked when ripe. It is tricky to know when to harvest—especially considering the fruits take a while to mature and patience can wane. The best means is to monitor the tendril closest to the developing fruit. Once the tendril starts to turn brown, the fruit is ready. Another method is to keep an eye on stem health. When the stem is green and firm, the melon is still ripening; a soft withering green stem is an indication of ripeness, and a dry or unattached stem can mean over-ripeness. Finally, check the underside of the melon and give it a light knock. If the underside of the melon has turned from white to pale yellow and a hollow sound emanates from the fruit, it is probably ripe. When harvesting, cut the melon from its stem. Tearing the stem can lead to vine rot.

Full sun and fertile, crumbly-textured sandy loams are perfect for watermelon culture. Watermelon plants appreciate sharp drainage, so it is best to sow seeds in low mounds of soil (called "hills"). After the threat of frost has passed, plant as many as three seeds per hill and keep the soil evenly moist but not wet (wet soil can induce seed rot). Alternatively, plant seed in small pots (using a well-drained potting mix) and set out seedlings after the last frost date. Provide ample room for the plants to sprawl across the ground. The sheer weight and size of the melons precludes training the vines on trellises.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 4

  • Sunset Zone

    H1, H2, 1a, 1b, 2a, 2b, 3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Vegetable

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    1"-2" / 2.5cm - 5.1cm

  • Width

    7'-10' / 2.1m - 3.0m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Africa, Southern Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Prostrate/Trailing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Light Green, Dark Green

  • Fruit Color Modifier

    Striped/Striated

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Gray Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    Yes

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible, Fruit / Fruit Tree, Herb / Vegetable, Tropical

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    No