If you love pumpkins but have limited gardening space, consider growing small varieties. Fortunately, there are tiny and super cute types of pumpkins that will turn your small garden or balcony into a charming autumn fairy tale.
The best small pumpkins to grow are those that are colorful to use decoratively, such as Midnight pumpkins that are black and Blaze pumpkins that are orange with streaks. You can also find small pumpkins that are tasty to eat, such as Baby Boo and Casperita.
Without further ado, let’s talk about small pumpkins, how to take care of them and what might be the best types of small pumpkins to get for your home.
What Are Small Pumpkins?
Small pumpkins weigh about three or four pounds (1.4-1.8kg), so they’re basically mini pumpkins. By comparison, medium-sized pumpkins weigh around 10-25 pounds (4.5-11.3kg), while large pumpkins weigh 25 pounds or more.
Although not all small pumpkins will be as delicious as their regular-sized counterparts, they are usually edible and can have their taste enhanced with spices and other toppings.
You can also carve small or mini pumpkins on Halloween, just like you would larger ones, but this might not be as easy as you might think.
Larger pumpkins are usually planted specifically for carving at Halloween, and they have flat bottoms and are mostly hollow to make carving easier. These types of pumpkins aren’t always tasty, though.
How to Plant Small Pumpkins
You can purchase small pumpkin seeds online or from your local nursery. Once you have the seeds, follow these tips:
- Start your pumpkin seeds indoors. This should be done two weeks before the last frost date is expected in your area.
- Plant two or three pumpkin seeds in soil in a pot or container.
- Ensure you keep the soil at a temperature of around 80°F (26.6°C), which encourages germination.
- Once the seeds sprout, you should put them in a sunny area. It should take up to 10 days for your seeds to germinate.
Extra Tips for Growing Small Pumpkins
- You can sow the pumpkin seeds directly into the ground, but ensure they’re planted after the last frost so that cold temperatures won’t kill them.
- Plant pumpkin seeds in well-draining soil. If your pumpkins are planted in wet soil, they can experience fungus or root rot. Pumpkins want evenly moist soil.
- Give pumpkins nutrient-rich soil by preparing the site with compost before you plant their seeds.
- Let the pumpkin plants vine. Small pumpkin plants have a vining habit so that they can be grown on a fence or trellis.
- You should harvest your mini pumpkins when they turn orange in color and their stem has dried out.
- You can grow pumpkins vertically, encouraging air circulation and preventing pests while looking beautiful. You can do this by planting pumpkin plants in the soil and encircling them with a fence. This will encourage the pumpkins to grow vertically and vine over the fence.
Growing a pumpkin tower is a great way to save space in your garden. Since the pumpkins are small, they’ll also be easier to check and harvest.
Pumpkin towers work well as part of a garden plot. To learn more about setting one up, read our guide, “How To Build Your Own Garden Plot.”
Small Pumpkin Uses
You can use small pumpkins in a variety of ways:
- Appearance: Some people like to plant them because they’re easy to grow and look very cute in the garden when they appear on the plant.
- Food: Many mini pumpkins are edible, although not all have a bold flavor compared to larger varieties.
- Carving: It might be difficult to carve a small pumpkin for Halloween, but if you love a challenge, there’s one. Speaking of carving pumpkins…
Can You Carve Small Pumpkins?
You can carve small pumpkins, but there are tips to follow to make it easier. If you’re carving a small pumpkin, you should find one that doesn’t have a too flat shape, as this will make it challenging to carve.
Ultimately, you must be extra careful when carving a small pumpkin as it is more difficult and dangerous to do so than larger pumpkins. It’s easy to slip when carving a mini pumpkin with a knife.
To make it easier, choose a small pumpkin with a long handle, so you have something to hold while carving it.
Can You Paint Small Pumpkins?
You can paint small pumpkins but ensure that you clean the pumpkin first with soapy water, so there’s no debris or soil on it. Because you’ll be handling the decorative pumpkins a lot, you should use non-toxic paints, especially if you’re painting pumpkins with kids.
To give you more options when painting, go for small white pumpkins. These allow you to experiment with lighter and bolder colors.
Alternatively, choose small pumpkins with distinctive colors on them, as this will prevent you from having to paint them. An example is the Batwing mini pumpkin that’s orange with dark green around the bottom so that it looks like it’s been dipped in paint.
How Long Do Decorative Pumpkins Last After Being Harvested?
Decorative pumpkins can last between three and five days after being picked from the plant. This means you should ensure your paint and carve your pumpkins soon after harvesting them. Don’t leave them lying around before you decorate them!
You can potentially increase the lifespan of your carved pumpkins that you’re keeping outside by protecting them from extreme temperatures.
Also, protect them from rain, hail, and direct sunshine. It’s also good to keep your pumpkins on a porch or in the garden where the air circulates well.
6 Small Pumpkin Varieties and Uses
If you’ve ever wondered what to do with small pumpkins, you’ll be pleased to know that you can do lots! If you want to start growing mini pumpkins, there are wide varieties to choose from.
Here’s a rundown of three of the best ones for decoration and three for cooking.
Small Decorative Pumpkins
Whether you want to decorate your home for Halloween, Thanksgiving, or another special occasion, you can achieve great results with specific mini pumpkins that add color and beauty to your home.
1. Midnight Pumpkins
These small pumpkins are black with subtle orange markings, which give them great contrast when used as decoration and combined with bright orange pumpkins. Midnight pumpkins weigh around 1.5 pounds (0.7kg), so they’re easy to carry around.
Midnight pumpkins should be planted in the spring or summer; ensure you plant them in full sun. They will turn orange after about two months. Bear this in mind if you’re keen to use them when they’re darker for a celebration, such as a wedding.
Batwing pumpkins are bright orange in color and get their name because they have unique patterns on them that make them look like they’ve been dipped in dark green paint.
This ensures they’ll be excellent decor for your next Halloween party. These mini pumpkins reach a maximum weight of about one pound (0.6kg), so they’re tiny!
Sow the seeds directly in fertile soil that drains well. You should plant them about two weeks after the last frost date in your region. The later in the season you sow them, the more pronounced and dramatic their patterns will be.
Although these mini pumpkins are best used for decorative purposes, you can eat them. Just make sure that you don’t water them too much when they’re about to mature, as this can cause them to get soggy flesh.
This type of mini pumpkin is pale orange with darker orange streaks on it. Its striking appearance makes it ideal for displaying in the garden or at home on special occasions.
They reach a maximum weight of three pounds (1.4kg) and can get to about seven inches (18cm) in diameter.
When grown successfully, blaze pumpkin plants will provide you with about ten pumpkins on the plant, and you’ll get to harvest them within 95 days.
To grow blaze pumpkins, mix organic compost with soil to give the plant the nourishment it needs to grow flowers and fruit. Liquid fish fertilizer is ideal for this pumpkin and other pumpkin plants as it’ll provide enough nitrogen that they require.
Keep your blaze pumpkin plant in an area of the garden where it will receive full sun.
Small Pumpkins to Eat
Many mini pumpkins are edible and will taste fantastic in various recipes. Here’s a rundown of three of the best picks.
This mini pumpkin plant produces up to 20 pumpkins on one plant. It has white flesh and tastes really good – it has a similar flavor to acorn squash. This is one of the best pumpkins to eat because it has a mild, sweet flavor.
To grow Casperita in your garden, make sure you plant it after the last frost in your region. Once planted, Casperita grows quickly.
Plant it in full-sun conditions. This will ensure that you get a yield within about 77 days!
2. Baby Boo
This white pumpkin contains white flesh, which can be used in cooking. Baby Boo likes to vine, and the plant will reach a height of approximately two feet (0.6m), so make sure you give the pumpkins enough space to grow. This plant will produce around ten small pumpkins.
Ensure that you plant this pumpkin variety in an area of the garden that receives a lot of sun but is sheltered from direct, harsh light. Adding compost to the soil is essential to give the pumpkins the nutrients they need to grow.
These pumpkins want lots of water, so increase your watering of them when the fruits are swelling on the vine, and the plant is flowering.
3. Jack Be Little
These small pumpkins have an orange rind and a flat shape. While you can use them as decorations around Halloween, they’re ideal for eating because they have tasty flesh. They are about four inches (10.16cm) in width and two inches (5.08cm) in height, so they’re really small!
You should plant these mini pumpkins in the ground when the temperature is about 70°F (21°C). Give the plant enough room to grow by spacing the rows by approximately six feet (1.8m).
Every pumpkin plant will provide about six pumpkins, so if you plant rows, you’ll get lots of them.
Keep the pumpkin plant’s soil warm and wet. Water it regularly so that the pumpkins will grow healthy.
If you’re a pumpkin lover, you must consider getting mini pumpkins for your balcony or if you have a tiny garden. They are easy to grow and can give you a pretty big yield every season. Not to mention how excellent they are for decorating.
One last thing! If you want to grow other miniature plants, check out our guide on read our guide on dwarf plants.