31 Watermelon Varieties You Can Grow This Season
There are around 300 watermelon varieties grown in the United States and South America. We share a list of our favorites you can grow!
Worldwide, there are over 1200 types of watermelons! In North and South America, about 300 of those are commonly grown. With so many watermelon varieties to choose from, you might be asking yourself where to begin.
Well, it might be helpful to consider that within these varieties of watermelon, there are a few subcategories, such as seeded varieties and seedless varieties, picnic varieties, open-pollinated varieties, and more! Seeded watermelons are abundant and easy to grow, while seedless watermelons generally need to be pollinated by a seeded parent plant in order to produce fruit.
Seedless types, however, offer the benefit of not needing to spit out seeds as you eat! Picnic watermelons are generally larger and enough to feed, well, a picnic full of people. Icebox watermelons are smaller single-serving melons that can fit easily into your refrigerator. Sizes can range from handheld (mini watermelons) to gigantic (growing up to 50 pounds each).
The easiest way to separate all of these watermelon types into categories, however, is by the color of their flesh. Yes, there are more varieties of watermelon than the typical seeded watermelon with red flesh. There are also pink, yellow, orange, and even white fleshed watermelons.
The red watermelons contain lycopene, while the yellow and orange watermelons contain beta-carotene. Flipping through the pages of seed catalogs will reveal the many watermelon options that exist.
If you want to grow watermelons in your garden, then you will not be disappointed. Producing melons in your own backyard will yield fruits that are extra sweet and like nothing you’ve ever tasted from the grocery store. They are easy to grow and make great garden companions for other plants.
Many love watermelon for the juicy, sweet flavor and crisp texture that can be a welcome treat to beat the summer heat. Hundreds of watermelon cultivars have been developed over the years and vary in taste, texture, and color. Read on to find the perfect variety for you!
Red-fleshed watermelon varieties are what you might picture in your mind’s eye when you imagine a watermelon with a green exterior, deep red flesh, and dotted with black seeds (though some of them are seedless watermelons).
This melon originated in Charleston, South Carolina, around 1954. A Charleston Gray melon has bright red flesh, a sweet, crisp interior, an oblong shape, and a green-gray outer rind. The thick rind of this melon is often used to make pickled watermelon rind (don’t knock it until you try it!)
These Crimson Sweet melons can grow up to 25 pounds! They are famous for their high sugar content (around 12%).
Crimson Sweet was developed at Kansas State University in 1963. This variety is resistant to anthracnose and fusarium wilt. The Crimson Sweet rind pattern has classic green skin with light green stripes.
The Sugar Baby melon variety was introduced in 1969 and is known for its compact size weighing in at 8-10 pounds per fruit. It is the perfect personal-sized watermelon.
In fact, these small watermelons are sometimes called icebox watermelons because they can easily fit into the refrigerator and are about the same size as a small ball. It has a solid green, dark green rind, and dense red flesh.
Bred by Glenn Drowns in the 1970s in Northern Idaho, this watermelon is perfect for short-season growers in cooler climates, although it can still handle heat and humidity.
It is also ideal for first-time gardeners as it is easy to grow, small, fast maturing, and highly productive. It has a dark green rind and crimson flesh.
This family heirloom originated from Montrose, Iowa, and is a cross between Hawksbury and Dixie Queen made by Chris Christensen in 1950.
It produces round, 15-20 pound pale green fruits with jagged dark-green strips and contains red flesh. Moderately sweet.
Oh So Sweet
As its name would suggest, this variety is known for its delicious sweet flavor! Productive plants bear many medium-round, striped fruits with high sugar content.
Small Shining Light
This traditional Russian watermelon was introduced to American gardeners by Seed Savers Exchange in 1991. It produces round 10-12 inch fruits with a very dark green rind and sweet, deep red flesh.
An early-maturing variety that is well-suited for northern gardens and high altitudes. Great little icebox watermelon.
Red Ruby Hybrid
This seedless variety produces super sweet, perfectly crisp, ruby-red flesh. It’s worth noting that seedless watermelons need a pollinator (seeded watermelon) to make fruit. Most seedless watermelon seed packs also include pollinator seeds as well.
Another hybrid seedless watermelon that weighs about 4 pounds each. This watermelon has a refreshing flavor and is the perfect size for a quick snack. Vigorous plants produce about six fruits per plant.
Big Tasty Hybrid
A taste test winner! The ideal small icebox size with fruits reaching 6-8 pounds each. A light green rind with a deep red flesh. This is another seedless watermelon.
This variety produces small, compact, handheld-sized fruits with a dark green-black outer rind and bright red flesh. The small oval fruits are irresistibly sweet and juicy.
Their sweet flavor comes in at a rating of 12 on the brix sugar scale, which is used to measure the amount of sucrose per 100 mL of water.
The Black Diamond watermelon is a classic oblong variety with a smooth dark greenish-black outer rind and bright red flesh with an excellent texture.
It is said to have been developed in Arkansas and is drought-resistant and high yielding. These fruits are large and can grow up to 50 pounds!
Cal Sweet Bush
This variety produces watermelons that weigh around 10-15 pounds. They are perfectly round, with a green-striped outer rind and deliciously sweet red flesh. It is known for its bushy growth rather than most watermelons’ typical vining growth habit. This makes it a great option for small space gardeners or even patio or container growers.
As its name would suggest, these watermelons are well known for their sweet flavor. The plants produce 6-7 pound oblong fruit with green skin and light green stripes with reddish-pink flesh. It’s the perfect icebox watermelon and serves two people.
A personal-sized mini watermelon with red flesh and a few small black seeds. Mini love watermelons weigh about 3-6 pounds and are the perfect single serving.
Standard red flesh watermelons may be the poster child of the watermelon world, but those with yellow flesh are just as, if not more, delicious and fun to grow! They add a delightful pop of color to fruit salads and offer a unique alternative to the standard red varieties.
Mountain Sweet Yellow
Large, colorful, very sweet-flavored yellow fruit. Each Mountain Sweet Yellow fruit can weigh between 20-35 pounds.
The extra firm flesh makes them perfect for slicing or added to fruit salads as they will hold their shape.
This variety was acquired by Joseph Borries around 1970, and his family has grown this heirloom variety in Illinois ever since.
These plants produce oblong fruit averaging 15-20 pounds each. The rinds are green with dark green stripes and produce yellow, sweet flesh.
Moon and Stars (Yellow Fleshed)
This variety was introduced by Southern Exposure Seed Exchange in 1987. The Moon and Stars watermelon foliage and fruits are spotted with yellow, just like the original Van Doren strain, but the flesh is yellow and speckled with white seeds.
Gold In Gold Hybrid
This hybrid variety produces melons that are gold striped on the outside and sunshine-yellow on the inside for a real summer treat.
Oval fruits are crisp and delicious, and each fruit weighs 5-8 pounds. A very sweet watermelon.
Yellow Baby Doll
This watermelon is a hybrid with a thin rind and sweet yellow flesh. Its rind pattern is similar to classic watermelons with lighter green skin and much darker green stripes.
This variety is a hybrid that is very similar in taste and texture to Yellow Baby. The main difference is that this variety is seedless!
This watermelon is in the same genre as the above-mentioned Sugar Baby being a small icebox watermelon.
Sugar Babies are sweet with dark green rinds and red flesh, while Tiger Babies are golden once matured. Because of their smaller size, they are also faster to mature and ready to harvest in about 75 days.
Orange-fleshed watermelons are not as common as their yellow counterparts, but they are just as delicious and just as beautiful to slice into. Like eating a slice of summer sunshine!
This variety was first offered by Willhite Seed Company in the early 1960s. The fiery orange flesh is sugary, delicious, and crisp. Large, oblong fruit averages 25 pounds. A reliable producer.
A Russian variety that was first offered by Peter Henderson & Co. in 1898. It produces oblong fruits weighing 10 pounds. The flesh is very sweet, juicy, and apricot-colored.
Watermelons with pink flesh are just as beautiful and sweet as their red-fleshed equivalents.
Weighing in at 3 pounds per fruit, this snack-sized watermelon has a golden yellow rind and salmon-pink flesh. Developed in 1959, it is a cross between New Hampshire Midget and Pumpkin Rind.
It has a built-in ripeness indicator, as fruits only turn yellow when ready. It is also a very early variety, ripening in just 70 days.
Moon and Stars (Cherokee)
A moon and star-studded strain of the classic Moon and Stars watermelon. These fruits grow to about 2 feet long and weigh around 15 pounds each. Bright pink, sweet flesh with black seeds.
A mid-season variety bred by Asgrow Seed Company and introduced in 1972, the Picnic watermelon has a mildly sweet pink flesh and hard rind.
It is resistant to fusarium wilt. These types of watermelon are often referred to as picnic watermelons because of their ability to feed a large gathering of people at a picnic.
This heirloom variety has a snakeskin striped rind with bright pink tender flesh. It is one of the oldest heirloom watermelon varieties in existence. It is known for its green and white striped rind that resembles the pattern of a rattlesnake.
This variety was developed in Georgia around the 1830s. They can grow up to 2 feet long and weigh up to 35 pounds!
This melon was developed at the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station in Leesburg in 1963. Jubilee produces long oblong fruits similar in appearance to Georgia Rattlesnake but much larger.
These fruits can grow to weigh up to 40 pounds! This puts them squarely in the category of giant watermelons. This variety also has disease resistance to fusarium wilt.
White fleshed watermelons are even rarer than orange varieties. This makes them even more unique and exciting to grow!
Citron Red Seeded
Despite its name, the flesh of this watermelon is not red but white. The name refers to the red seeds inside.
This variety is very old and very rare and has been grown for centuries. It may have originated in Africa and been cultivated in the Nile Valley as early as the 2nd millennium BCE.
Later the watermelon was brought first to India and China and then to Europe. European colonists and African slaves eventually brought it to North America.
The white flesh is hard, like the texture of the rind, all the way through to the center, and for this reason, it’s not grown for fresh eating but rather to make preserves and pickles.
Cream of Saskatchewan
A small round white watermelon weighing about 5-10 pounds each. It has a thin, brittle rind with dark green stripes and sweet white flesh with exceptional flavor. This rare cultivar is said to have been brought to North America by Russian immigrants who settled in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the most popular watermelon variety?
A: This all depends on your personal preference! Charleston Gray is a popular choice among those looking for a long-standing well-performing heirloom variety.
Q: What is the sweetest watermelon variety?
A: Little Darling is one of the sweetest varieties coming in at a rating of 12 on the brix sugar scale.
Q: Are there 1200 varieties of watermelon?
A: Yes there are! About 200-300 of these varieties are grown throughout the United States and Mexico.
Q: What color watermelon is the sweetest?
A: Yellow and orange watermelons are generally sweeter than red and pink varieties. Seedless melons tend to have crisper, firm flesh.
Q: What is the healthiest watermelon?
A: That depends! Some varieties can be high in sugar, which might not make them “healthy” per se, but red varieties do contain lycopene, and yellow/orange varieties contain beta-carotene.
Q: What month is watermelon the sweetest?
A: Peak watermelon is between May and September, depending on the climate in your area and the days to maturity of the variety that you’ve chosen to grow.
Q: Do bigger watermelons taste better?
A: Not necessarily. Small icebox-sized watermelons can be just as juicy and sweet!