Pumpkins are a type of winter squash that has a long shelf life and offers versatility. But certain pumpkin varieties are most suited to making pumpkin pie, while others may be better used elsewhere. There are over 150 types of pumpkins in the world today, with many accompanying variations.
Some are dark green, and some are orange. Some have flesh that is a bright orange color, and others have blue or white insides. If you’d like to know how to grow pumpkins, we have a great piece on that.
Instead of considering how to grow each type of pumpkin, we will examine different pumpkin varieties by category. This piece is a list of pumpkin cultivars sorted by looks. Chances are there’s a pumpkin out there you can grow too!
Whether it’s pie pumpkins you want or even a winter squash look-alike, there are so many to choose from that you won’t be left out of the pumpkin party. There is a winter squash you’ll love to grow! If you can’t decide on a particular variety, try our Organic Rainbow Pumpkin Mix seeds from San Diego Seed Co.
Let’s run through a list of different pumpkin types based on the visual characteristics of their fruit. Then you can order seeds to start growing your pumpkin patch.
The pumpkins in this category have been cultivated for their unusually large size. Most are members of C. maxima.
Atlantic Giant is the largest species of pumpkin on this list, growing 400 to 500 pounds easily, and can be harvested in fall or early summer. The fruit resembles Charlie Brown’s Great Pumpkin, with deep ribs and dark orange skin. These giant pumpkins are great for use in pies, cakes, and cookies, or they’re prize winners.
Big Max is a big and round, smooth-skinned pumpkin variety that does double-duty as giant jack-o-lanterns and as a canning or pie pumpkin. These heirloom giant pumpkins can reach 20″ across and up to 100 pounds!
Mammoth Gold are orange pumpkins that reach 60 lbs or more at full maturity. They’re about as pumpkiny as they come. These large pumpkins are often used to win pumpkin-growing contests. They’re great as a jack-o-lantern pumpkin, or their flesh can be used for canning and baking pies.
Prizewinner plants grow huge pumpkins anywhere from 75 to 100 lbs. They’re often used for contests, and as roadside displays due to their uniform shape, shallow ribs, and bright orange skin. Even though they’re not often used for eating, they’re edible.
Musquee de Provence is the only one of our showcased giant pumpkins that resides in Curcubita moschata. It has a flattened shape with deep ribs and rich orangey brown skin. These reach 20 pounds at the top of their growing range. Unlike other pumpkin varieties in this category, the flesh is used in savory dishes and has a slightly stringy texture.
In this category, we have mini pumpkins that are fun to use as Halloween decorations. Growing them is fun too! See if any of these spark your interest. Most reside in C. pepo.
Bumpkin grows mini pumpkins in a semi-bush style. Not only do its super cute fruit grow to a whopping 6 to 8 ounces, but they’re also resistant to powdery mildew. The skin is bright orange. The seeds and flesh of the cultivar are edible, but there’s only enough food for one person.
Jack Be Little pumpkins are round, baseball-sized fruit with orange flesh more suitable for culinary use than the little bumpkin. This cultivar also grows on a semi-bush. Within three months you’ll have tiny fruit that is packed with Vitamins A and C. They’re also suitable for painting and decorating, making them great miniature pumpkins for kids.
Sweetie Pie is a cute little miniature pumpkin similar to Jack Be Little. These adorable little things tend to be a little less deeply-ridged than their relative, but they’re well worth growing!
Sugar Pie pumpkin is slightly larger than the previous mini pumpkins we’ve mentioned. Its fruits grow to 6 to 8 pounds, with sweet flesh that’s excellent for pies. The round-shaped pumpkin has smooth skin and medium orange color. I’ve personally sprung for one of these every fall to bake a pumpkin pie from scratch, and I recommend you do too if baking is your thing. Try growing your own with the Organic Sugar Pie Pumpkin Seeds from San Diego Seed Company, or the organic and heirloom Sugar Pie Pumpkin seeds from Botanical Interests.
Cherokee Tan pumpkin is one of the mini pumpkin varieties cultivated from the species Cucurbita moschata. It has a round shape and very pale orange skin. It stores well and grows 10 to 15 pumpkins per plant. This variety is highly pest and disease-resistant, too. Especially for those growing in temperate regions, consider that it was originally grown by Cherokee peoples living in Appalachia. It’s excellent for eating because of its small seed cavity and copious flesh.
Crunchkin mini pumpkins have a flat shape, and a medium orange outside, with faint yellow striping. Their highly pronounced ribs make them excellent for decorating the house for Halloween or fall festivities.
Baby Bear pumpkins are about half the size of sugar pie pumpkins, with round, orange exteriors. They have long, stiff stems that make them easy to carry for those with small hands. The seeds are semi-hull-less and the flesh is tasty too!
Here, we’re talking pumpkin varieties with a legacy. Growing heirlooms is a great way to carry on that legacy, and also grow something that stands apart.
Long Island Cheese pumpkins are potentially the most famous of the Cucurbita moschata species. This medium-sized heirloom variety runs 6 to 10 lbs per fruit. It’s a round, slightly flat fruit named for its resemblance to a wheel of cheese. The skin is light orange, and it’s smooth with slight ribs. It’s cold tolerant and easy to grow. It was first cultivated in 1807 on Long Island. Since then, it’s been prized for its versatility in cooking and baking. Its ability to survive has been assisted by the Long Island Cheese Pumpkin Project.
Seminole pumpkins are housed in the Cucurbita moschata species. They reach 8 to 12 pounds, have a round base, and a long neck tapering slightly to a point at the top. Their color ranges from variegated greens to yellow, to dull orange. Their flesh is bright orange and has a sweet taste. Another heirloom with no pest problems, this pumpkin was first cultivated by Seminole peoples in Florida. Settlers there saw the pumpkins in cultivation and took up growing them.
Dickinson pumpkins are oblong with light orange outsides and lovely mildly sweet orange flesh that’s great for canning and baking pies. They’re medium-sized, reaching anywhere from 10 to 40 pounds. They originate from Kentucky, via a settler by the name of Elijah Dickinson who settled there in 1835. They’re often used in canned pumpkin pie filling we know and love. A fall harvest is sure to dazzle any onlookers.
Galeux d’Eysines (Peanut) pumpkin is called such because of peanut-shaped warts that cover its pale orange outer skin. It has a thick layer of orange flesh in its flat shape that surrounds a small seed cavity, making it an excellent heirloom variety for soups and cooking. A member of the Cucurbita maxima species, this French variety was first recorded in 1885 in “Les Plantes Potagères” by Vilmorin-Andrieux. It was then brought from a French pumpkin fair by Amy Goldman in 1996. As far as medium-sized pumpkins go, this one is unique! It stores for up to 6 months too.
Lakota pumpkins are not exactly from the Lakota people like the name suggests. Commonly known as Blue Lakota, the Lakota squash was developed over a century of cross-breeding and hybridization. Today’s seeds are the result, with the original Lakota cultivar hailing from 1820. Give the plant lots of space in the garden (10 to 20 feet). The fruit have deep orange outsides with green streaks, and sweet, nutty flesh, with delicious seeds.
Now let’s talk white pumpkin varieties! Most white pumpkins fall under the Cucurbita maxima umbrella.
Baby Boo is the cutest of the mini white pumpkins. It’s one of the few white varieties that fall under the species Cucurbita pepo. They grow on a summer vine that produces 8 to 12 pumpkins that are about the size of a tennis ball. Their white flesh is great for cooking too!
Casper pumpkins weigh 10 to 16 pounds on average and have thick orange meat that’s great for cooking. They look like your typical round pumpkin with slight ribs, but they’re ghostly white. Therefore people like to use them for jack-o-lanterns as well as for cooking.
Full Moon pumpkins are giant white fruit that reaches anywhere from 60 to 90 pounds each. They have lovely white skin with slight suturing. Their yellow flesh is great for pumpkin pies too.
Cotton Candy pumpkins are another in the Cucurbita pepo species. These white pumpkins are medium to small, weighing in at 5 to 12 pounds each. The milky white flesh is excellent in meals, and the pale skin makes it a great decorative pumpkin.
Polar Bear is a large white pumpkin that grows to about 30 to 65 pounds. It’s slightly ovular, white, and stays that way in the field, making it a great choice for fall festivities. The bright yellow-orange flesh is suitable for cooking and baking.
Lumina pumpkins have very smooth skin, are 8-10″ in diameter, and can weigh 10-12 pounds each. These lovely pumpkins have excellent flavor and texture and make perfect carving lanterns, too!
Green pumpkins are all over the map when it comes to their parent species. They’re all some form of green pumpkin!
Futsu pumpkin is green before it cures in winter storage. It’s a Japanese pumpkin in Cucurbita moschata that has a history going back to the 17th century. Considered rare today, growers seek it out for its warty, deeply ribbed skin, and green to chestnut colors. Its flat fruits range from 3 to 5 pounds and are great for decorating, or eating – raw or cooked!
Buen Gusto De Horno pumpkins have bright orange flesh that surrounds an almost collapsed seed cavity. These highly wrinkled and smoothly warted Cucurbita maxima members are excellent in soup, eaten steamed, or pureed. The 4 to 7-pound fruits are either round or slightly flattened with light green to gray skin.
Shishigatani pumpkins are interesting because they are hourglass-shaped, resembling butternut squash. The flesh is excellent in savory dishes of all kinds. The dark green skin of the roughly 6.5-pound fruit is warty, yet smooth, with slight ribbing. Field scars are often yellow, adding variation to their appearance.
Triamble pumpkins are heirlooms of Australia and have lovely grayish-green skin and a flattened appearance. Each fruit has three distinct lobes with multiple ribs, weighs about 8 pounds, and contains tons of meat that surrounds a small seed cavity. This Cucurbita maxima member is great for eating and decorating.
Thai Kang Kob pumpkins have deep green skin covered in warts. They have a small seed cavity with plentiful deep orange flesh that’s typically used for soups, curries, and stir-fries. They take up a lot of space (roughly 10 to 20 feet) but produce high yields, with their C. moschata fruit weighing 6 to 8 pounds.
Classic Orange Varieties
Here are some traditional orange pumpkins. These are often pumpkin varieties in Cucurbita maxima, and they’re used for decorating homes and roadside displays for your favorite fall holidays.
Cinderella pumpkin plants produce medium fruit at 15 to 35 pounds. The skin is dark orange and shiny, and so is the flesh. This fruit is rumored to have been the inspiration for the Disney version of Cinderella’s pumpkin carriage. It has a long history of use in cooking in France as well.
Autumn Gold is an oval-shaped pumpkin that’s the kind of classic pumpkin used to decorate for a fall holiday. Autumn gold is excellent for northern gardeners who need to harvest the 7 to 10-pound fruit early due to cold weather.
Howden is a fall classic. Thick walls with defined ribs and a sturdy handle make them a perfect carving pumpkin. The round fruits are 12-16″ around and average 18-22 pounds each, with 1-2 fruits per plant.
Magic Lantern pumpkins are another excellent choice for Halloween. These round pumpkins are the only ones in this category under the Cucurbita pepo species. They look like all the orange pumpkins we’ve talked about up to this point, but are more round than the others.
Connecticut Field pumpkin is an heirloom variety that’s great for use as a jack-o-lantern. Weighing in at 15 to 25 pounds, they practically come with a flat face for carving.
If you’re looking for different types of pumpkins that diverge from the traditional, check these out!
Green Striped Cushaw is the first of the C. mixta species we’ve mentioned. It’s a small crookneck that grows well in the Southeastern US. It’s popular in Japan today but came from Mexico. The meat is used to make Cushaw butter and pies. The skin is green with pale yellow streaks, and the fruit reaches 10 to 20 pounds each.
Kakai are small orange pumpkins in the C. pepo species that have green streaks. They reach 5 to 8 pounds each, growing up to 3 per plant. With hardly any ribs at all, the fruit is great for displays and eating. The hull-less seeds are especially desired for snacking.
Strawberry Crown pumpkins reside in the C. maxima species. They’re a bicolor pumpkin with pale salmon blush at their crown. Reaching up to 6 pounds, this smaller variety is used for its moist flesh that is sweet to the taste. Use it for salads, as a starter, or stirred into risotto.
Batwing pumpkins are shaped much like sugar pumpkins at about 1 to 2 pounds each but have a deep green to black base. Just like others in C. maxima, the fruit has dense flesh great for pies. They’re also great decorations or inhabitants of your goth garden.
Lil’ Pump-ke-mons reside in C. pepo and have a slightly off-white skin with orange stripes in between each lobe. These miniature fruits reach 1 to 2 pounds each, and each plant has high yields. They’re sized perfectly for individual servings, or for decoration.
Speckled Hound pumpkins reach 3 to 6 pounds each. The fruit is lovely with pink skin that has light green splotches that drip down from their tops. Use this C. maxima fruit for its thick flesh, or to decorate your home in fall.
Forget the traditional pumpkin! Let’s talk about lumpy, bumpy, warty little monster pumpkins!
Yokohama pumpkins come from Japan and made their way to North America in 1862. These C. moschata members are pest and disease resistant and make lovely little green heirloom pumpkins that are great for eating in soups, steamed, tempura fried, or sauteed. That’s because the seed cavity is almost non-existent!
Knuckle Head pumpkins are 12 to 16 pounds each. They have orange outsides, green and blistered skin, and warts covering their tight, yet light ribs. These C. pepo pumpkins were developed in Holland, Michigan by Siegers Seed Co. Prized for their flesh or decorative capabilities, they’re rewarding to grow.
Warty Goblin pumpkins are famous among wart-covered varieties. Similar to Knucklehead, these members of C. pepo have more densely arranged warts. They’re used for decoration but make good meals too. And they’re highly resistant to powdery mildew.
Marina di Chioggia pumpkins are members of C. maxima and have smooth warty skin with a few pronounced warts here and there. Their tight ribs run across glossy gray-blue skin that’s either light or almost black. The tasty flesh of this pumpkin is highly aromatic, and it’s a great display too.
Red Warty Thing is a fun pumpkin cultivar. Their bumpy and thick red-orange skin protects the pumpkins from damage during storage, enabling them to last in storage for a longer time. Typically 10-20 pounds, with 1-2 fruit growing on vines up to 15′ long.
While many of the pumpkins we’ve talked about are strange-looking, these are even weirder!
Porcelain Doll Pink pumpkins reside in C. maxima. Each 10 to 20-pound flattened gourd has light pink skin and deeply lobed ribs. To get that lovely pink color, ensure you do not harvest until the stem has developed a cork. Alternately, harvest them and cure them in a cool and dark place whenever to obtain blue splotches.
Blue Jarrahdale pumpkins have a parent in C. maxima. One of the most sought-after strange flattened pumpkins, these fruits have striking blue skin with deep lobes. The orange meat of these blue pumpkins has a sweet flavor that can’t be beaten. Its unusual look makes it a great display pumpkin too. Not to be confused with Blue Doll pumpkin!
One Too Many is yet another pumpkin in C. maxima that is strange. The skin is white and covered in orange veins. It has slightly pronounced ribs. These round, 20 to 25-pound fruits get their name because they look a bit like a bloodshot eye!
Scheherazade come from C. pepo and have a distinct deep yellow-orange skin with almost pixelated green streaks on their warty ovular exteriors. Each fruit weighs about 5 to 10 pounds, making them great for displays. But they’re also prized for their spaghetti squash-like meat.
Now let’s talk about winter squashes in C. maxima that look like pumpkins, but aren’t!
Turbans have bright orange-red skin and look like they’re wearing little hats. Weighing 4 to 10 pounds each, these heirlooms predate 1820. They come from France where they have been used as decoration and cultivated for their nutty meat.
Kabocha squash has green outsides with yellow streaks. It’s packed with meat and seeds, suitable for eating. Highly sweet, and often used in cooking rather than decorating, each squash weighs 2 to 3 pounds and is typically consumed on the winter solstice in Japan.
Orange Hokkaido (Red Kuri) look like small pumpkins without ridges. The 3 to 7-pound squashes have a chestnut-like flavor and a slightly pointed tip. They’re cooked with butter and herbs and are typically steamed and enjoyed on their own too.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How many types of pumpkins are there?
A: Over 150!
Q: What are the best types of pumpkins to eat?
A: Those with thick flesh or lots of hull-less seeds are best for eating.
Q: What is the most common type of pumpkin?
A: Most pumpkins come from the C. maxima species.
Q: What are grey pumpkins called?
A: It depends on the variety! Sometimes they’re Jarrahdale, and sometimes they’re blue dolls. There are plenty of green, blue, and gray pumpkins out there.