Plant care and cultivation

How to Plant a Pumpkin From Seed or Sprout

María Belén Acosta
By María Belén Acosta, Landscape and Horticultural Technician. October 15, 2023
How to Plant a Pumpkin From Seed or Sprout

Some people think that growing pumpkins can't be done indoors, but it is perfectly possible as long as we have the right conditions. We can even start by sprouting our seeds in a pot and then transferring them to a large patch of soil. If we want to grow multiple pumpkins, then outside is usually best. This is because pumpkins can grow to be very large, so you simply may not have enough space indoors. To best ensure our pumpkin grows to be nice and large, we need to ensure we have the right soil, hydration, sunlight and other factors.

Whether you want to prepare some Jack-o'-lanterns for Halloween or want to enjoy the delicious flesh of this tasty gourd, thedailyECO explains how to plant a pumpkin from seed or sprout. We show you how to plant them in a pot or directly in a soil bed.

You may also be interested in: How to Plant and Grow Chayote Squash
  1. When is the best time to plant pumpkins?
  2. How to sow pumpkin seeds
  3. How to plant pumpkin sprouts
  4. Pumpkin plant care

When is the best time to plant pumpkins?

As mentioned in the introduction, there are two main ways to plant a pumpkin. You can either plant them directly in their final soil or you can sprout the seeds in a seed starter tray before transferring them.

When to plant pumpkins in their final location

The first option is to plant them directly in their final location. This way of growing pumpkin plants should be carried out in early-to-mid spring. This is because we need to wait until the frost has passed, something which could otherwise kill the pumpkin seedlings.

When to plant pumpkins in seedbeds

The other method consists of sowing the pumpkin seeds in a seedbed starter. Doing so will mean we are able to advance the entire crop and transplant them outside in spring and gain several months in the pumpkin growth development. If you want to plant a pumpkin in a seedbed first, we can prepare the seed starter tray at the end of winter.

Can I use pumpkin seeds from a fresh pumpkin?

Although many people simply discard the seeds once they have removed the flesh of their pumpkin, they can be used again. They can be eaten, but they can also be used to grow new pumpkins from scratch. To do this, it is important you take them from a ripe and mature pumpkin. To use these seeds, you will need to do the following:

  • Scoop the mature seeds with a spoon
  • Rinse clean and remove any flesh or fibers
  • Dab them with a paper towel
  • Leave them on a dry paper towel to air dry further

If you do not want to use a fresh pumpkin or your do not have one available, you can use the affiliate link below:

How to sow pumpkin seeds

Follow these steps and instructions to sow pumpkin seeds in a seedbed. In this way, you will have a sprout ready when spring arrives. You can simply transplant the sprout from the seed starter tray directly to their final location.

  1. The first thing is to prepare the seed starter trays with their substrate. We recommend using a specialized seed starter substrate. You can buy it directly from a specialized store or make the mixture yourself, which will be cheaper and ensures that it has the desired components. The mixture of peat, coconut fiber and worm castings with an addition of perlite and vermiculite is always a safe bet.

  2. Take your pumpkin seeds and let them soak in water for about 3 hours.

  3. Fill your seedbeds up to 3/4 the way full or thereabouts. This way you will be leaving room for some more substrate after we plant the pumpkin seed.

  4. Leave the seeds on top of the substrate so they are lying on their side. You can then add another inch or so of seed starter substrate to cover it.

  5. Water the seedbed by spraying water over the top soil or with a fine-jet watering can. Moisten the entire substrate of the seed starter tray.

  6. Place the seedbed where it receives direct sunlight to avoid malformations in the seedlings. Do so near a window where it can have a constantly warm temperature .

If you do not use a seed starter substrate, then you can make your own using the following ingredients:

  • Peat: the properties of this substrate are ideal for the growth and development of plants, especially in their early stages.

  • Coconut fiber: these are the short fibers of the coconut pulverized together with small particles of the fruit itself. it is useful because it has a great capacity for aeration.

  • Worm castings: this is a natural organic fertilizer that is made with live worms. You can find out how to make your own worm castings at home.

  • Perlite: helps retain a certain level of moisture and has aeration capacity.

  • Vermiculite: it is a mineral with a high capacity to retain water and has good properties as a thermal insulator.

Learn how to pot and grow another popular plant at home with our article on how to grow potted strawberries.

How to Plant a Pumpkin From Seed or Sprout - How to sow pumpkin seeds

How to plant pumpkin sprouts

Approximately 6 weeks after planting in the seed starter tray, you should have a healthy pumpkin seed sprout. You can then transfer this pumpkin sprout to its permanent soil. Follow these tips for planting a pumpkin sprout:

  • You should place your pumpkin sprout somewhere where they can receive direct sunlight for at least 8 hours a day.

  • Pumpkin plants take up a lot of space, so it is recommended to leave a space of around 3-5 feet between each sprout. This provides them with enough distance for them to develop as much as they can.

  • You will need loose and well-drained soil if you want your pumpkins to grow optimally. It will need to have a pH level of 6 to 6.8.
  • Although not strictly necessary, rich soils usually help this crop to develop. You should consider this if you are wanting to grow larger pumpkins.

  • Once you loosen the soil, prepare a hole a little deeper than the bottom of your seedbed and bury the pumpkin sprout about an inch deeper than it was before.

These planting instructions should work for all types of pumpkins. This is because they all have the same fundamental needs.

How to Plant a Pumpkin From Seed or Sprout - How to plant pumpkin sprouts

Pumpkin plant care

Now you know how to plant a pumpkin, the work is not done. You will need to consider our pumpkin care guide to ensure it grows to be big and healthy. For this reason, we look at the most important things you need to grow a pumpkin from seed or sprout.

Sunlight for pumpkins

As we have already explained, pumpkin seeds need around 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. For this reason, if you do decide to grow a pumpkin indoors, you will need to ensure it is by a window or another natural light source.

Watering pumpkins

In addition to its sun needs, the pumpkin plant also needs abundant and frequent watering. We should never allow the soil to dry out completely. With this in mind, it is also very important that the soil has good drainage, otherwise waterlogging will occur. This can rot the roots of the plant. If watering is not regular, the pumpkin fruits are likely to split as they develop.


Regarding growing temperature, pumpkin shares characteristics with other plants in its family, such as cucumber, zucchini and melon. It needs a lot of sun and develops well in a climate of around 20 ºC (68 ºF), being able to withstand temperatures in a range between 10-30 ºC (50-86 ºF) without too many problems. Beyond that margin, we would be taking a risk.


The plant will also appreciate the application of fertilizers rich in nitrogen and potassium during its fruiting season. It is advisable to use natural organic fertilizers such as worm humus and banana tea for this. Increase watering a little when it begins to bear fruit.

About six months after its first planting, your pumpkins should be ready to harvest. You can then enjoy this and other types of autumn fruits in time for Halloween.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Plant a Pumpkin From Seed or Sprout, we recommend you visit our Plant care and cultivation category.

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How to Plant a Pumpkin From Seed or Sprout