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Winter Plant: How to Grow Winter Melon Indoor?

Disha Jain
Disha Jain

Winter melons are summer-grown tender plants that are commonly harvested in late summer, autumn, or early winter.  Winter melon (Benincasahispida) is a member of the cucurbit family and is a variety of musk melon. The winter melon is a primarily Asian vegetable but its exact country of origin is unknown.

Winter melon is also known by some other names in some other regions of world : white gourd, white pumpkin, tallow gourd, ash gourd, gourd melon, Chinese watermelon, Doan Gwa, Dong Gwa, Tong Qwa, Petha, Sufed Kaddu, Togan,  Fak and Alu Puhul.

When mature it resembles a watermelon.  The flesh of the melon is white, thick, and firm in appearance with a quantity of small seeds and tastes somewhat like  zucchini squash. The melon can be stored for a long time, around 6-12 months when mature if stored in a cool and dry area.

Growing winter melon indoors  :

Light and Temperature requirement -

Winter melon prefers warm mild weather not full winter. The optimal temperature for fast growth of winter melon is 250C – 300 C. Ash gourds are adapted to a broad range of rainfall conditions.

The plants should be placed at a bright sunny spot , under open sunlight as these requires full sunlight. But in summer protect the plants from the afternoon sun.

Soil Requirement

Winter melon can grow in a range of soil but best is well drained sandy loam soil rich in organic matter.  These plants can tolerate a wide range of pH even alkaline pH of upto 8 but the optimum pH range is 5-6.

Water Requirement

Water the plant everyday in summer. Use a watering can to water the plants and make sure to water in a shower form not in a single flow. Water every 3-4 days in initial growth days. When the plant starts blooming, start watering every alternate day. Overwatering plants can cause root rot.

Location to grow –

As winter melon is a vining plant, either grow it in a place enough for it sprawl, or place it near a wall or fence or pillar for support.

Fertilizers –

As it is not a demanding plant, it will be fine without addition of fertilizers. But if the soil lacks essential nutrients, apply an all – purpose fertilizer or can also enrich the soil with compost or manure.

Suitable  season and time for sowing –

Planting is done twice in a year between January and March or September and December. Sowing can also be done between may and June after first few rain showers.

Spacing the plants –

In a pit of one to two cm, sow 4-5 seeds in each. Pre- sow the land i.e. water the land  before 3-4 days of sowing. After germination, remove the unhealthy plants and keep 3 plants per pit.

Container –

As winter melons are heavy feeders and require lots of water use a large 16- 20 inches pot with drainage poles.

Steps of sowing :

1. Select a container of your choice.

2. Fill the container with proper potting mix.

3. Sow seeds at the centre of pot.

Stages of growth of winter melon :

I stage : After 8- 10 days seeds will be germinated and little sprouts will be visible.

II stage : In the second week of germination, false leaves will be visible that are called cotyledons.

III stage : At the end of second week of first leaves will appear above cotyledons.

IV stage : Seedlings will start growing after second week.

Harvesting procedure :

Normally at the end of 3rd month, winter melon will start flowering. A ripe winter melon fruit will be available after 3 months.  As the stem attached to the fruit is thick, use clippers to pluck the fruit.

Harvesting can be done on both mature and immature stage. For food consumption, fruits are harvested at an immature stage.

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