Cantaloupes are sweet, delicious, and some types are healthy too. They are available in a large selection, so that everyone can find their favorite variety. Cultivation is easy and the plants are not particularly demanding when it comes to care. However, some things should be noted. This includes watering and fertilizing, cultivating in individual containers and running on scaffolding or strings. The first leaves should also be removed. If you pay attention to these and a few more, nothing stands in the way of a rich harvest of sugar melons. You can read about what needs to be considered in our text.


  • berry fruit
  • Comes from the tropics or subtropics
  • Genus of cucumbers, more closely related to cucumbers than to watermelons
  • Pumpkin family
  • Many breeding forms
  • annual plant
  • Up to 5 m long, unbranched, climbing shoots
  • Large leaves, slightly heart-shaped
  • Male and female flowers on one plant
  • Yellow Blossom
  • Fruit – round to oval shell berry to head size
  • Large fruits only 1 to 2 per plant
  • Sweet and non-sweet varieties
  • In Europe, 3 types are distinguished
  • Winter melons – large – 1.5 to 3 kg, very sweet, late ripening, long shelf life
  • Netted melons – fragrant, quite long-lasting
  • Cantaloupe melons, fragrant, short shelf life
  • Honeydew melon is often used as a synonym for cantaloupe, but describes a cantaloupe subspecies

variety selection

There are different types of cantaloupes on the market. The Cantaloupe-Charentais variety from Provence promises particularly good results. It thrives both in greenhouses and outdoors. But other varieties are also suitable. In order to achieve optimal results, it is necessary to experiment frequently. Not all varieties thrive equally well everywhere. It also depends on the light conditions and the warmth of summer, also in the greenhouse.

  • Cantaloupe melons – Wartmelon, most valuable sugar melon, since the pulp is very aromatic
  • Charentais melon – also called Cavaillon melon, creamy-white skin, orange-yellow flesh: Cantaloupe de Bellegarde, Cantaloupe Santon, Cantaloupe Vine Peach
  • Ogen melon – belongs to the cantaloupe melons, small fruits, about 0.5 to 1 kg, smooth skin, shiny green, white to yellowish flesh, fruity aromatic, slightly acidic
  • Netted melons – medium-sized and flat-round variety, skin covered with a whitish, corky net, orange to green flesh, very aromatic
  • Galia melons – variant of the net melon, fruits weighing up to 1.5 kg, yellow skin, slightly green ribs, white flesh, very sweet and aromatic, very high in vitamins A and C
  • Yellow canary melon – Variant of the net melon, fruits weighing up to 3 kg, long-oval to round-oval fruit, bright yellow, smooth or ribbed skin, green-white flesh, sweet, long-lasting
  • ‘Orange Beauty’ – short tendrils, reliable fruit setting, early ripening, very good aroma
  • ‘Agora’ – Resistant to wilt disease
  • ‘Marlene’ – Resistant to wilt disease
Tip: If you remove the seeds from a purchased cantaloupe, they should be completely freed from the pulp. They are to be washed off, dried well and kept in a dry and dark place until the sowing date. Insufficiently dried melon seeds mold easily and lose their ability to germinate.

Growing cantaloupes in greenhouse

Cantaloupes can also be grown outdoors. Cultivation in a greenhouse is safer, however, as it largely avoids the fungal diseases to which plants in the field are often prone. Cultivation is not complicated. Important are high temperatures, lots of sun, but also sufficient water and nutrients.

Cultivation is easy and should be done very warm. It is important to use small containers and sow the seeds individually or in pairs. The next major step is to plant the seedlings in place. This must not happen too early, because the plants do not tolerate cold well: there is a risk of growth stopping. Care should be taken to ensure regular watering, fertilizing and shading, because it must not get too hot in the greenhouse. The plants should also be guided along a scaffold or strings. During flowering, ensure that insects have access to the flowers, otherwise there will be no fruit. The plants must be protected from waterlogging and drying out. You also need to watch out for diseases and pests.


Cantaloupes should be preferred. This works well in the greenhouse, and of course indoors too. Seeds from a sugar melon are suitable. These often germinate more reliably than purchased specimens. This is probably due to the freshness of the seeds.

Tip: melon roots are very sensitive. They do not tolerate pricking, the associated tearing apart of the roots or repotting. It is therefore advisable to sow one or two seeds in smaller containers instead of in seed trays.
  • Use pots with a diameter of approx. 8 cm
  • Sowing soil loose, airy and rich in humus
  • Start sowing 3 to 4 weeks before the planned planting date.
  • Sow approx. 1 cm deep
  • Douse with warm water
  • Put a plastic bag over the container to ensure an evenly high level of humidity
  • Keep the vessel warm (22 to 24°C)
  • Keep evenly warm and slightly moist.
  • The plants do not like too much moisture and cold.
  • Heat from below is beneficial. So put the growing pots on a windowsill over a heater.
  • No direct sunlight
  • Germination after just under a week

Plant out seedlings

As soon as 2 to 3 leaves have formed, the seedlings can be planted out. It is important that the temperatures are high enough. Outdoors, a wind-protected, full sun location is important. This is not necessary in the greenhouse. Sun is also important here.

  • The seedlings can be planted in their intended place in the greenhouse no later than 4 weeks after sowing.
  • Warm, loose, airy and humus-rich soil is required.
  • In most cases, the changes in temperature initially ensure that the plants develop only slowly.
  • This only improves when the temperatures rise.
  • Planting distance 40 x 80 cm
  • The plants spread quickly on warm, sandy and humus-rich soil.

The further care of the cantaloupe plants

Sugar melons fruit on the side shoots. In order to achieve rapid branching, the first shoot should be cut off after the third leaf when cultivating. It is also important in the greenhouse that the shoots are guided on cords or grids. Of course, they can also be guided along the ground, but this is unfavorable in the greenhouse because too much space is required. If you don’t direct the shoots upwards, it is particularly important that the plants branch out.

  • Water regularly but moderately.
  • Too much moisture is harmful, but so is dryness
  • Never water over the leaves, always on the ground below. A casting ring simplifies this and the water cannot run away. This prevents fungal diseases.
  • No waterlogging, but no dry balls either
  • If possible, water in the morning or mid-morning with lukewarm water, rainwater if possible
  • Provided the young plants have been planted in well-enriched soil, they must be fertilized again just before flowering and then again just before fruiting. Vegetable fertilizers or tomato fertilizers are suitable.
  • To prevent the fruit from falling off prematurely when ripe, it is best to hang them in nets. Alternatively, old nylon tights are also suitable.
  • In the case of melons lying on the ground, on the other hand, care must be taken to ensure that the fruit does not lie on the bare earth. It is better to place them on small Styrofoam plates as soon as small fruits can be seen. In this way, the fruit does not rot on the side that is lying on it. This is also important for outdoor culture.
Note: When growing in a greenhouse, it is absolutely essential that insects can pollinate the flowers during the flowering period. These can usually only get inside through the door. So it has to be wide open for several hours a day.

diseases and pests

Outdoors, melon plants are often threatened by fungal diseases. This is much less common in the greenhouse, but not impossible.

  • Fusarium wilt – typical greenhouse disease, fungus of the Fusarium genus, often triggered by lack of water, waterlogging, soil compaction or excessive salt content. Fungus penetrates via roots or root neck and leads to death. The selection of resistant varieties helps against the problem: In addition, attention must be paid to crop rotation.
  • Powdery mildew and downy mildew – whitish coating on or under the leaves, can spread throughout the plant. Use preparations based on copper and sulfur for prevention and control
  • Aphids – use lacewings, parasitic wasps, assassin bugs or hoverfly larvae in the greenhouse. Aphids can also be rinsed off with a strong jet of water.
  • Red spider – mainly found in the greenhouse, recognizable by the fine webs on the tips of the shoots, easy to recognize if you spray them with a fine mist of water. Beneficial insects such as predatory mites also help here. To prevent this, ensure that the air humidity is high and air it regularly, but without drafts
Tip: In the greenhouse, make sure that the area around the melon does not get too hot, otherwise the plants can wilt quickly.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you tell if the muskmelons are ripe?
It is usually said that you can tell by the smell when a melon is ripe. The sweet smell is characteristic. That’s true, but fruits that are not yet fully ripe also have this smell. It is more reliable that the flesh of the fruit cracks near the stalk, or that the stalk easily detaches from the plant. You can also do the knock test. To do this, you simply tap the supposedly ripe fruit with your knuckle. If you hear a deep tone, the cantaloupe is ripe.

How is the cantaloupe harvested?
As with the pumpkin, the fruit base, i.e. the stalk, should always remain on the fruit. This makes the melon last longer.

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