Can you grow pumpkins in a pot? Yes, but this is what you need to know, according to gardening pros

It's all about the planter!

A box of autumnal produce including pumpkins and sweet potatoes
(Image credit: Getty Images/Westend61)

Given the autumnal tradition of annual visits to pumpkin patches, we’re all pretty much used to the idea of pumpkins growing outside directly in the ground. But if you wanted, can you grow pumpkins in a pot as well?

That’s the question we posed to our gardening pros about how to grow pumpkins to ensure a successful result. Because, as we know, not everyone has the luxury of having enough planting space in the garden for pumpkins - and they take quite a lot of space mind you.

But that is also the slight issue with growing them in planters – their root system is expansive and needs its space in order for the plant to thrive and produce a bountiful harvest come Halloween. That’s why picking the right size and kind of planter is crucial to your success, as our experts explain.

Pumpkin plant grown in a pot

(Image credit: Getty Images/Catherine McQueen)

Can you grow pumpkins in a pot?

‘You can grow pumpkins in pots,’ starts Petar Ivanov, gardening expert at Fantastic Gardeners. ‘However, even the smallest ones need a lot of room to grow and you’ll need to get large containers.’

John Clifford, gardening expert at Gardenstone, further affirms that the right pot is your road to success once it comes to the time when to harvest pumpkins in the fall. ‘You'll need to ensure that the pot is large enough. Pumpkins have a pretty extensive root system, and without adequate space they'll fail to achieve proper growth.’

John Clifford
John Clifford

John Clifford is a director of Gardenstone, a leading garden landscaping retailer based in the UK. With over 30 years in the gardening industry and continual work alongside The National Trust, John has amassed an extensive range of gardening and planting knowledge. Alongside his younger son, John has built a strong reputation for Gardenstone as a trusted source for both high-quality garden products and expert gardening advice. 

What you’ll need

Pumpkins growing in a pot

(Image credit: Getty Images/sirichai_asawalapsakul)

What size pot is best for pumpkins?

The short answer is the larger the better. But don’t worry, our experts have a more specific answer than that.

‘Your pot will have to be at least 50 centimetres wide, and a 75-litre pot is generally recommended to ensure that it's deep enough,’ John advises.

According to Petar, a 40cm-diameter pot is the absolute minimum, ‘The smallest pumpkin will need at least a 40-litre container to grow well and if they’re larger species, you’ll likely need 75 to 95-litre containers.’

But there are a few other things to keep in mind when growing pumpkins in a pot.

Petar Ivanov portrait
Petar Ivanov

Petar Ivanov is one of the company's top-performing experts and manages over six teams of gardeners, delivering stunning landscape results and fostering a deep connection with nature through his work.

Ensure appropriate watering and enough drainage

One of the most important things when growing pumpkins in a pot is striking the right balance between watering it often enough - as pumpkins need a lot of water to thrive - and avoiding waterlogging the plant.

‘The most important thing to do for pumpkins which are grown in pots is to provide them with good drainage and make sure there are a lot of drainage holes at the bottom to prevent their roots from getting waterlogged. Keep in mind also that if you decide to grow your pumpkins in pots, it’ll take more work and effort,’ Petar says.

Pumpkin plants in pots

(Image credit: Getty Images/Trudie Davidson)

How to pot up pumpkins

Instead of garden compost, well-draining potting soil is best for this purpose.

‘For container-grown pumpkins, you’ll need a nutrient-rich potting mix instead of garden soil. Garden soil can become too compacted in the pots and prevent proper water flow,’ Petar says.

He continues, ‘After that, apply a dose of slow-release fertiliser. This way, the pumpkins, which are very heavy-feeding plants, will get enough nutrients to their roots from the combination of compost and fertiliser.’

Finally, Petar suggests how to sow the seeds, ‘When you’re planting the pumpkins, sow between 2 to 4 pumpkin seeds in 1 pot and bury them at about 2.5 centimetres depth.’

A box of autumnal produce including pumpkins and sweet potatoes

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

What is the best time to plant pumpkins in pots?

When it comes to the best time to plant pumpkin seeds in pots, it largely depends on whether you’ll be keeping the pot indoors or outside.

‘If you’re growing your container pumpkins in a greenhouse, you can sow their seeds before the last frost date of spring. However, if you’re keeping them outdoors uncovered, you’ll need to wait for the first frost to pass,’ Petar says.

John adds, ‘They can be started as seedlings inside from mid-April time. They can be planted directly outside from May/June time.’

So can you grow pumpkins in pots? Yes, and now you know everything you need to, including what the best pot to invest in is.

News Writer

Sara Hesikova has been Ideal Home’s News Writer since July 2023, bringing the Ideal Home’s readership breaking news stories from the world of home decor and interiors, as well as trend-led pieces, shopping round-ups and more. Graduating from London College of Fashion with a bachelor’s degree in fashion journalism in 2016, she got her start in niche fashion and lifestyle magazines like Glass and Alvar as a writer and editor before making the leap into interiors, working with the likes of 91 Magazine and copywriting for luxury bed linen brand Yves Delorme among others. She feels that fashion and interiors are intrinsically connected – if someone puts an effort into what they wear, they most likely also care about what they surround themselves with.