Watermelons and Cross Pollination

Do you have to separate watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) from other types of melons to keep them from cross-pollinating?

No, other types of melons like cantaloupes or honeydew (Cucumis melo), and cucumbers (Cucumis sativus) can all be grown close together without fear of crossing. However, each of these items will cross within their own species.

So, if you wanted to save seeds from the fruit to plant next year, you would need to separate different varieties of watermelon from each other (or different varieties of melons or different varieties of cucumbers).

When a cross does happen between two varieties within the same species, the resulting fruit that year is completely normal looking and tasting. Only the resulting seed carries the crossed gene. So, if you saved the seed and planted it the following year, you might get something of a cross between the to varieties.

small watermelons growing on vine
Green Watermelon Vine

If you are growing any combination of watermelons, melons, or cucumbers to eat the resulting fruit, you do not have to worry about cross-pollination in your home garden.

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4 thoughts on “Watermelons and Cross Pollination”

    • Wayne, how FRUSTRATING!
      A few questions that might seem obvious.
      1. Are the watermelon plants getting full sun all day?

      2. Is there enough Phosphorus in the soil to help the watermelons ripen? This may seem odd, but it the plants are getting too much Nitrogen and not enough Phosphorus the may flower, produce fruit, then put more energy into vegetative growth and not enough into fruit production and ripening.

      3. Are they getting enough water? The ground should stay moist but not saturated for best production.

  1. Hello,
    I am so confused about the cross pollination of melons. Please help advise:
    I planted 4 Silver Yamato Watermelons, 4 Ambrosia Watermelons, and 2 Chanterais Cantaloupes next to each other since we have limited growing space. We live in a high altitude 5900+, so we weren’t expecting to get much if anything. To our surprise, despite our terrible cold spring/early summer and short growing season, we did get several of each of the melons. We love the Silver Yamato and want to save its seeds. Did they most likely cross pollinate with the other melons? Should we only grow one variety of a watermelon or cantaloupe each year to be able to save its seeds? Thank you. 🙂

    • Hi Catherine, sorry for the late reply… this time of year on the homestead is BUSY! Yes, plants of the same genus will cross pollinate. You didn’t mention how well you liked the Ambrosia Watermelon. If you like them both equally, the seeds should produce a taste you’ll like. I like experimenting so I’d plant the seeds from both and see what happens. You might be delightfully surprised.


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