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CUCUMIS melo 'Sierra'

Image of Cucumis melo 'Sierra'

Family

Cucurbitaceae

Botanical Name

CUCUMIS melo 'Sierra'

Plant Common Name

Cantaloupe, Sierra Cantaloupe

General Description

The classic muskmelon, ‘Sierra Gold’, has been a garden favorite since it was first introduced in 1950. Its golden orange flesh is sweet and fragrant. Mature fruits are oval, approximately 3 pounds and have green skin with tan netting. It takes approximately 80 to 85 days to produce harvestable fruits, and summer warmth needs to last at least ten weeks for fruit production.

Melons are tropical annual vines with long, spreading stems that cling via springy tendrils. Their big lobed leaves are coarse, fuzzy and medium to deep green. Bright yellow, funnel-shaped flowers are produced when the vines reach maturity. The flowers are monoecious, meaning separate male and female yellow flowers appear on each vine. The pollen producing male flowers open first, followed by the female flowers, which have distinctive bulbous ovaries at their bases. Only the female flowers produce melons and each must be pollinated by bees for fruit set, so be sure to encourage these productive garden insects.

For best performance, plant melons in full sun and friable, fertile, deep soil with good drainage. Vines should be planted after the danger of frost has passed. It is common practice to create mounds of soil to grow melons in. The seed can be directly sown in ground. Melons need space to grow and should be surrounded by a layer of straw to protect the fruits from rot and keep weeds at bay. If space is limited, they can be grown on a trellis and fruits supported with cloth slings. Heavy rains can cause ripe fruits on the vine to split and lose sweetness.

Muskmelons are best harvested when the skin becomes fragrant, the undersides of the fruits turn yellow or yellow-orange and they emit a hollow sound if knocked. They should also be easy to remove from the vine.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 4

  • Sunset Zone

    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

    Fruit

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun

  • Height

    8"-14" / 20.3cm - 35.6cm

  • Width

    5'-12' / 1.5m - 3.7m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    Africa

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Vining/Climbing

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Yellow

  • Fruit Color

    Green, Orange, Gold, Tan

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    Yes

  • 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, Vine

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes