How Much Water Do Pumpkins Need? [And How Often To Water Them]

Pumpkins are a fantastic addition to any vegetable garden, but their water needs can leave a gardener stumped.

How much water do pumpkins need? We researched this in-depth so you can adequately care for your spooky plantings.

Pumpkins are between 80 and 90 percent water, so they need much water. Around one inch of water each week is the minimum.

Pumpkins will need more water during times of heat and drought. It is crucial to plant pumpkins in well-draining soil.

Planting pumpkins in boggy ground will make them susceptible to root rot and other diseases. 

Let's take a closer look at how often you need to water your pumpkins and the ideal ways to water your pumpkins.

Three huge pumpkins on a staircase, How Much Water Do Pumpkins Need? [And how often to water them]

How Much Water Do Pumpkins Need?

Because they are made up mostly of water, pumpkins need at least one inch of water each week.

An inch of rain equals around 16 gallons of water on average, so ensure you have a sound watering system, whether manual or not.

Ideally, the soil should be evenly moist when the pumpkins are watered. This helps with evaporation and water absorption into the roots.

Likewise, make sure you constantly water the soil and not the leaves. Water on leaves can promote diseases or funguses.

If you planted your young pumpkins in a mound, you could build a rim to form a "moat" for watering.

This helps water stay low and absorb into the soil for the small plants to use. However, make sure to get the majority of the mound watered.

If the plant's roots are not developed enough, they may not be able to reach the water in the "moat fully." 

As pumpkins age, their water needs may grow as their fruits develop and demand more water.

Thankfully, at the same time, their roots also develop and can reach water deeper in the soil. Still, it is best to evenly water your pumpkins at least an inch each week.

If your pumpkins seem to demand water often, consider mulching your garden. Mulching can help the soil retain moisture.

If you live in a hot area, using a light-colored, much like wood chips, can also help reduce heat absorption and water evaporation.

Should You Water Pumpkins Every Day?

While you can water pumpkins daily, it is better to only a few times a week. Not only is it less of a time commitment, but it also helps your plants.

Since pumpkins need around one inch (16 gallons) of water, work out a system that suits your scheduling needs. For example, perhaps give your pumpkins eight gallons of water twice weekly

The primary drawback to watering pumpkins, and most plants, every day is they do not get deep root water. Letting the water soak into the soil, even on plants without deep roots, is best.

This is especially important on hot days. Water at the top of the ground will evaporate faster. The roots will also not usually grow as deep if they get shallow watering.

Watering pumpkins in large amounts every few days rather than every day enables the plant to grow a healthy root system.

This is especially important for pumpkins and other full-sun plants. Plants may be more prone to drought damage without a fully developed root system

When Should I Stop Watering My Pumpkins?

You should decrease how much you water your pumpkins as the fruits mature. Since the fruits use most water, the plant does not need as much as it develops.

While around one inch is still recommended as the fruits mature, "listen" to your plant and the soil and adjust accordingly.

There are some watering considerations if you want to store your pumpkins for a long time.

Ideally, significantly reduce or even stop watering your plants ten days before harvest.

However, if you notice the leaves browning and suspect they need water, do not be afraid to water it. Reducing soil moisture before harvest decreases moisture for long-term storage. This is especially helpful for avoiding mold.  

If you see damaged or yellowing leaves, ensure they get enough sun and nutrients.

Do you think your pumpkins might not be getting enough sun?

Fertilizers are a great option, even if your pumpkins are doing well. Not only can it improve the quantity of your pumpkin harvest, but it can also improve the quality of it as well.

Water-soluble fertilizers are not the only option for pumpkins are a great option because of their watering needs; they also make sure the nutrients get quickly absorbed.  

Check out this article to learn more about pumpkins' specific needs:

Do Pumpkins Need Full Sun Or Can They Grow In The Shade?

If you think your pumpkins are low in a particular nutrient, check out this article on some tremendous liquid fertilizers:

10 Best Liquid Fertilizers For Pumpkins

Water Conservative Pumpkin Varieties

Because of their small fruits, smaller pumpkin plants usually need less water. Here are a few compact bush varieties to consider.

Small and mini pumpkins need less water but are mainly used for decoration or eating. Let's take a look at some options.

Jack Be Little

Jack Be Littles, and all the We Be Little pumpkin varieties are mini pumpkins. They are bright orange and baseball-sized.

They also tend to be somewhat flat, making them great for decorating. If eaten, Jack Be Littles are generally sweet and suitable for pies.

Check out this Jack Be Littles seed packet collection.

Baby Boos

Baby boo pumpkins are white mini pumpkins great for decorating and adding a pop of fall color. Baby boos can be eaten but are often used as a decoration.

Their creeping vines also make a good ground cover that requires less water than the average pumpkin, making them easy to care for.

Check out this Baby Boo pumpkin seeds.

Small Sugar

Small sugar pumpkins are, like their name suggests, small. While not as tiny as their mini counterparts, small sugars generally need less water than the average pumpkin and have various uses.

Small kids can enjoy painting or carving these small pumpkins. Children like them because they can enjoy watering this little, fast-growing pumpkin.

Check out these Small Sugar Pumpkin seeds.

Further Reading

Want to learn more about how to grow great pumpkins? Check out these other posts about how to make your pumpkins thrive.

Do Deer Eat Pumpkins or Pumpkin Plants?

How To Grow Pumpkins Successfully

23 Things To Do With Pumpkins [Beyond recipes and decorating!]

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