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CUCURBITA maxima 'Atlantic Giant'

Image of Cucurbita maxima 'Atlantic Giant'

Jessie Keith

Family

Cucurbitaceae

Botanical Name

CUCURBITA maxima 'Atlantic Giant'

Plant Common Name

Atlantic Giant Pumpkin, Pumpkin

General Description

The massive ‘Atlantic Giant’ is known to have produced some of the world's largest pumpkins. Usually grown for size, display and competition, the fruits of this heirloom winter squash have sometimes approached 1000 pounds (455 kg), but 400-500 pound (180-225 kg) specimens are much more common. The fruits are rounded to broadly obese and almost lumpy, with light orange to orange-yellow rinds and thick, golden flesh that is also good for cooking. They ripen approximately 120 days from sowing.

Cultivated since ancient times by Native Americans, pumpkins and winter squash are warm season, annual vines originating from tropical South America. Rounded, orange types such as 'Atlantic Giant' are often called pumpkins, though true pumpkins are of the species Cucurbita pepo. The vining, rambling stems of these plants bear large, golden yellow, trumpet shaped blossoms. Both male and female flowers appear on the same plant, and are pollinated by bees. The male flowers appear first, followed by the female flowers which can be recognized by the distinctive, bulbous ovaries at their bases. Following pollination, the female flowers develop into fruits; these are often masked by the plant’s huge, bristly, lobed leaves.

Sow the seeds of winter squash directly in mounds of rich, light, well-drained soil after all danger of frost has passed. Full sun is required for successful flowering and fruiting. To reduce the risk of fungal problems, avoid unnecessary wetting of vine stems and leaves. Monitor closely for leaf bugs and beetles, and for stem borers at the bases of the vines. As fruits mature in autumn, deer, birds and rodents may browse them, so protect as needed. Harvest before heavy frosts when the vines begin to brown and die and the rind is firm solid in color. Cut from the vine leaving a short stem, and bring a friend or three to help with the lifting. Take care not to cut or bruise fruits and store them in a cool, dry location, leaving space between for air circulation which discourages the spread of mold.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • Sunset Zone

    A1, A2, A3, 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'-3' / 0.3m - 0.9m

  • Width

    3'-20' / 0.9m - 6.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Indeterminate

  • Native To

    South America

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, Gold

  • Fruit Color

    Yellow, Orange

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green, Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Dark Green

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • 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, Herb / Vegetable

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes