Watermelons are one of Texas’s top agricultural products, and if you live in the state, chances are you want to try your hand at growing them yourself.
After all, watermelons are perfect snacks for hot weather, and if you sow them at the right time, you’ll be able to harvest these fruits just before Texas summer arrives.
So when to plant watermelon in Texas? The best month for this is around April to July.
Table of Contents
Best Time to Plant Watermelon in Texas
1. After the last frost
Watermelons cannot tolerate frost at all, so to grow watermelon successfully, you must plant them after the last frost.
In north Texas, this timeframe would be around mid-April, but for some regions of the state, such as in central Texas and in east Texas, people can start gardening earlier in March.
Therefore, it’s better to look up the specific frost date in your area than to rely on the estimates above.
- For example, icy weather in Houston often ends on February 18, so people here can grow watermelons on February 19 outdoors, way before March or April.
- That said, they should wait until February 25 or up to March 11 to plant watermelons (in other words, one to three weeks after the last frost to be safe).
Note that the above recommendations apply to outdoor gardening. You can sow watermelon seeds in containers indoors two to three weeks before the final frost, though it’s unnecessary to do so in Texas, where the growing season is long.
In fact, the watermelon season Texas may extend up until one day before the first fall frost. This is why you’ll see farmers harvest this fruit in May, in July, and even early October.
2. Sixty-five to ninety days before the first frost
Above, we’ve established that watermelons are harvestable up until the first frost. However, it’s necessary to grow them sixty-five to ninety days before icy weather arrives. Otherwise, watermelons will die before maturing to their full size.
- To exemplify, Hidalgo in south Texas has its average first frost on January 30. Following the above recommendation, residents here should plant watermelons on November 1 or November 26 at the latest.
Of course, it’s best to look up the maturation period of the variety you grow, as the above range is only a general estimate. For instance, Black Diamond watermelons need 90 days to mature, while the Crimson Sweet cultivar will finish growing in 80 days.
3. When the temperature’s right
Whether you’re growing watermelon in Texas or elsewhere, it’s vital to give the plant enough warmth to develop.
In detail, the soil should measure 65 to 95℉ to facilitate germination, while the air should be 70 to 90 degrees. Lower and higher temperatures will hinder plant growth and affect watermelons’ taste.
How to Plant Watermelons?
- Check the soil six months before planting. If it doesn’t have a pH of 6.0 to 7.5, lower the pH with sulfur and aluminum sulfate, or increase it using limestone.
- Once the soil is amended, sow watermelon seeds under the right temperature (see the Fahrenheit range above). This recommendation also applies to seedlings from a nursery.
- At the same time, ensure the soil has adequate drainage and the garden has enough space for watermelons to grow (at least 20 square feet for each plant and 6 feet between two rows).
- If your yard is small, you can use watermelon supports or overhead wires to grow the fruit vertically.
- To be specific, watermelon trellises should be 6.5 feet above the ground and will work best with small plant varieties, since these will put less pressure on the trellises.
- If you put seeds in large pots, place them at a depth of ¼ to ½ inch, and use organic biodegradable containers if possible. These receptacles will degenerate as time passes, so you won’t have to worry about subjecting your watermelon to transplant shock.
- As for direct seeding into the garden bed, a sowing depth of ½ to 1 inch is best.
- Regardless of where you put the watermelon, give it one to two inches of water a week and mulch the soil to discourage weed growth.
- Finally, attract bees to your garden so watermelon plants can produce fruits.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do watermelons grow well in Texas?
Yes. Texas actually ranks third in the US for the production of watermelons. You’ll find this crop in many parts of the state, such as San Antonio, Brooks, Gaines, or the Rolling Plains.
How late can you plant watermelon in Texas?
As stated above, you should look up the first frost date where you live. Then, determine the maturation period of your plant variety (in days) and deduct that number from your first frost.
The result will be the latest date you can grow watermelons.
What is the best watermelon to grow in Texas?
Some of the best watermelons in Texas are: Sugar Baby, Yellow Doll, Crimson Sweet, Jubilee II, Sangria, Summer Sweet, Revolution, and Gold Strike, among other varieties.
How long do watermelons take to grow?
Watermelons can take about 70 to 100 days to develop, so if you have a short growing season, pick a cultivar that matures in about two months rather than three.
Hopefully, you now know when to plant watermelon in Texas. As long as you follow our tips, it will be easy to produce an abundance of watermelons, which you can collect come harvest time.
By then, you can make fruit cocktails, smoothies, and even popsicles for cooling down during those hot summer days.