Characterized by their distinct flat shape, deep ribs, and rich orange hue, Cinderella pumpkins are as attractive on the vine as they are on the dining table.
Beyond their visual appeal, Cinderella Pumpkins boast a sweet, creamy flavor that chefs and home cooks alike prize in autumnal dishes.
If you're considering adding a unique touch to your garden or expanding your pumpkin repertoire, this article offers invaluable gardening tips to help you successfully grow your own batch of Cinderella Pumpkins.
What Is a Cinderella Pumpkin?
Cinderella pumpkins, also known as Rouge Vif D’Etampes in French or “red life of the times”.
It grew into mainstream prominence when the popular children’s movie Cinderella used its flattened shape as a model for Cinderella’s coach.
Cinderella pumpkins grow to a size averaging 12” to 15” and weigh over 40 pounds.
You can identify the pumpkin when it is fully ripe once the skin becomes thick, bright orange, and dense.
The Rouge Vif D’Etampe pumpkin is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family. Their sprawling vines tend to reach over 3 meters when fully grown.
Cinderella Pumpkins are rumored to have originated in France and were a popular staple in the markets of Paris in the 1880s.
Then Atlee Burpee, an American gardener, imported the seeds and introduced them to the US.
How to Grow Cinderella Pumpkins
Cinderella pumpkins need rich composted soil that holds moisture but also drain well. Don’t use clay-based soils because they’re not very hydrophilic.
Make sure to feed plenty of organic matter to the soil. The pH value of the soil should be neutral to slightly acidic or a pH value of between 6.0 and 7.0.
As is true for all pumpkins, Cinderella pumpkins require plenty of direct sunlight for at least 8 hours every day.
Their vines tend to grow huge to the point they will take in all the sunlight. Make sure to displace the vines slightly from the pumpkins so they can absorb enough sunlight.
Cinderella pumpkins require more water than usual because their roots tend to be shallow.
It is recommended to use trickle irrigation, but you can make do with soaker hoses too.
Try not to use overhead sprinklers because their indiscriminate nature of shooting water everywhere will increase moisture around the foliage, thus making them prone to disease.
Stop watering the pumpkins one week before you plan to harvest them.
How Much Fertilizer Do Cinderella Pumpkins Need?
Provided you have cultivated the soil just right, you will only need fertilizer once every week.
Use compost and well-rotted manure to test the soil for minerals such as magnesium and calcium.
It is best to use commercial fertilizers with three numbers on their packaging. The numbers represent the N:P:K ratio.
Nitrogen is useful for the vines and leaves. When you see the flower starting to bloom, use a more fertilizer that is rich in phosphorous.
Once the pumpkin starts to form, use a fertilizer rich in potassium to encourage healthy fruit growth.
Caution: Don’t add too much nitrogen because it will reduce flower growth and burn the leaves.
Try to use a balanced fertilizer with a number such as 5-10-5 applied frequently to yield good results.
Step by Step Guide on Growing Pumpkins
1. Take the Frost Date into Consideration
Due to their larger bodies, Cinderella pumpkins require at least 100 days to reach full maturity.
Before planting the seeds, make sure to factor in frost. Despite being generally resistant, pumpkins won’t in colder conditions.
So they have to be planted just after frost has planted. The best season to plant them is early summer or late spring.
2. Choose a Location with Plenty of Space
Cinderella pumpkins will grow on huge vines that will sprout up to several meters in length.
They will take quite a bit of space in your garden, so make sure you have enough space to help them thrive.
You should be able to provide between 20 to 30 feet of space. Make sure the spot receives full sun. For Cinderella pumpkins, shade simply won’t do.
3. Plant the Seeds
Once you’ve selected the spot, start building a small mound of dirt. Plant the pumpkin seeds to a depth of at least 5 cm to allow heat from the sun to reach the soil faster.
Plant an additional 2 to 3 seeds within a few inches of each other in case one of them fails to grow.
If you do everything right, it will take about one week for the pumpkin plants to sprout.
4. Maintain Your Plants
You will have to get rid of weeds and pests to ensure a healthy harvest.
Watch out for the growth of weeds because too many of them will start absorbing the much-needed nutrients from the pumpkin.
The biggest threat to your pumpkins will be beetles which will eat them and ultimately kill them.
Don’t let them get to your plant. Use an organic pesticide if need be.
5. Harvest and Store
Cinderella pumpkins tend to have long shelf lives before processing.
If you want to increase their shelf life, you can use a mild bleach solution and keep them in a cold area.
Quick Facts About the Cinderella Pumpkin
- Cinderella pumpkins are characteristically flatter than giant pumpkins. They have a bright orange skin which is slightly ribbed.
- Cinderella pumpkins grow up to be the size of a basketball.
- Their vines will end up taking a large chunk of space in your backyard.
- Make sure the foliage remains free of moisture to prevent diseases.
What Can You Do with Cinderella Pumpkins?
Most people use Cinderella pumpkins for their delicious pies and other pumpkin treats.
But if you’re feeling a bit more festive, you can carve them for Halloween decorating to represent your favorite cartoon character or just a spooky smile.
Their flat shape is great for decorating both interior and exterior spaces, and they can even be placed in stacks for an interesting display.
For more pumpkin growing tips, check out these other articles:
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