White (Ghost) Pumpkins: Care, Types, and Growing Tips

Ed Wike
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History of the White Pumpkin

while, you may assume the white pumpkin might have been created specifically for Halloween or as a perfect Jack O Latern, the truth is that these pure white pumpkins have been around for quite a while. The pure white pumpkin was first believed to be grown in the 1870s by John Howland of Vermont. His love of growing pumpkins lead John to plant pumpkin seeds that he had bought from a local farmer. One of those seeds produced a pumpkin that was soft-shelled with a course shell and dull, white skin.

While it seems that John Howland may have been the first white pumpkin gardener, there are several other tales of how these pumpkins came about.

You can read more about the history of pumpkins, and you can keep in mind that even though these white pumpkins have lovely white skin on the outside, they are still the usual orange color on the inside.

The Many Types of White Pumpkins

White pumpkins are striking, interesting, and oblong in shape. The natural orange color of pumpkin flesh has practically become the pumpkin norm, but it seems as if white pumpkins are available in the United States, too.

White pumpkins can be treasured mementos as well as decorative items for your home- especially on the spookiest night of the year.

Read on to learn more about the white pumpkin varieties, techniques for growing your own, and ideas for displaying your decorative pumpkins.

White pumpkins come in a variety of types:

  • Baby boo: a cute and small white pumpkin that cannot be eaten. These ones are generally used for decorative purposes.
  • Hooligan: this refers to a white pumpkin with green dots that can look like freckles
  • Lumina: these are 10 to 15 pounds when they are fully grown. You can spot hints of the underlying orange flesh
  • Cotton candy: these white pumpkins have a perfectly rounded shape

Planting White Pumpkins

Install hardware cloth around the perimeter of the patch to prevent ground-nesting critters such as rabbits, possums, and skunks from digging up the seeds.

Keep the bed well weeded for the first couple of years so the pumpkins don’t have to compete with weeds for nutrients.

Apply a thick layer of compost or aged manure to the bed in the fall.

Water your seeds thoroughly as soon as seedlings appear. Keep a close eye on the weather forecast; white pumpkins are prone to rot and wilt in rainy spring weather. If you live in an area with lots of rain, perhaps grow your pumpkins in a heap of soil so the seeds do not become soiled with water.

Keep the area around the pumpkin patch well-weeded and free of debris.

If you’re growing white pumpkins for decoration purposes, you can pull them up and save them for the winter. They stack nicely and bring a nice touch to the garden.

How to Plant?

Ideally, you purchase the white pumpkin seeds (it may be harder to find as orange pumpkin is usually favored in our society).

Once you have purchased the white pumpkin seeds, plant them in ditches and keep away the breeze.

When to Plant?

At least one month before you set out to plant your winter squash, you need to start a warm-up. Imagine that you are a seed sitting out in the cold all winter. That’s how you should think about getting your plants, a seed expecting the right environment to grow. You want to see whether its warm or cold outside. If it is cold outside, rather start your pumpkin plant in doors in a basement. If it is warm outside, rather start growing your plant from the onset in the outdoor environment.

Where to Plant?

White pumpkins can handle more cold than orange pumpkins, so your best bet is to plant your white pumpkin seeds after the last frost. If you plant them any earlier and it is cold, the pumpkin will be stunted and produce a very small fruit. The flower buds can be damaged in frosts, so if there is a frost, they should be covered with a frost blanket. You can learn the frost dates from your local Weather channel.

You can also start the seeds indoors, and then transplant to the ground. However, the plants do not transplant well so you may want to grow your plant outside from the beginning.

Pumpkin seeds should be planted in well-draining soil that can retain some water. Pumpkins do not always enjoy dry soil conditions. Smoother soil that is nice and level should do the trick if you want your pumpkins to be ideal in shape.

Care and Cultivation

Care for white pumpkins is rather similar to that of orange pumpkins.

The soil and water supply should be the same as those used for orange pumpkins. You'll want to keep these inputs consistent, because that will promote optimal growth.

In colder climates, you can grow your pumpkin seeds in a container. You do, however, need to ensure you keep check on the soil in the container at all times.

If you want to encourage large pumpkins, you should be sure to give your plant plenty of potassium. You can do this by adding aged manure to your pumpkin plant's soil.

Before you harvest the pumpkin for eating, you'll want to make sure that you grow it to at least 4 inches in diameter.

A main factor is to ensure that your pumpkin plant gets plenty of sunlight, whether you position it on your front porch or in doors.


The most important things to consider when growing white pumpkins are: soil and sun exposure.

Whilst there are some white pumpkins available in limited quantities in shops, obtaining them from retailers is often much more expensive than if you grow your own. Growing white pumpkins yourself is relatively easy. Ideally, you should plant your white pumpkin seed at the same time as any other seeds you are sowing.

You should use a sunny, well-drained area to plant your seeds. A sunny, well-drained area is important because the growth of your pumpkin plants relies upon high temperature and a good amount of sunlight.

The seeds are most suitable for germination in a sunny, well-drained location. These seeds need a period of growth to get a head start on the season and the time to grow pumpkins can exceed a period of 2 months before they can be harvested.

To eventually be able to harvest your pumpkin, give your pumpkin seeds 6-8 hours of sunshine per day.


Different varieties of pumpkins and squash have different fertilizing needs. Some need lots, while others need little fertilization. The fertilizing needs also depend on what you are growing the pumpkins for. If you are growing them for contest, you need to find out what the judges are looking for. Most contests are only concerned with appearance, not the taste.

In general, most pumpkins and squashes need plenty of fertilizer. If you are growing things for contest or for personal use, you can go wrong by giving them too much fertilizer. If you give your pumpkin plants too much, the fruits will be enormous but they will taste awful.

This is because the rapid growth and yield will dilute or even eliminate the sugars. As they grow, you do not want to water these plants too much because it will make the plants huge, and you will have to wait for the fruit to grow very large.

For white pumpkins, it is best to use a decent amount of organic fertilizer so as not to ruin the beautiful white coating of your pumpkin. Any other type of fertilizer might ruin the white pigment.


White (ghost) pumpkins are very seasonal. They need to be watered well, starting about mid-July. Once you plant them, water them every few days until the end of October or until they have matured.

As they age, white pumpkins get bigger, and they need more water in order to have a good harvest.

Keep in mind if you live in a dry climate, they may need daily watering.

Remember to water them by hand, not by hose. If you water by hose, your pumpkins will most likely rot or not grow.

While watering your pumpkin is important, don't drown your seeds in water as this can be highly detrimental to your growing plant. A good drainage system is a must.


Pumpkins need a lot of room to grow, so slightly more than a square foot per pumpkin is usually recommended. You will have much better success if you plant pumpkins in hills rather than rows.

If you plan to grow your pumpkins from seeds, plant them 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep and 4 to 6 inches apart in full sun. Pumpkins need plenty of heat to grow, and should be planted after danger of frost has passed.

If you have plenty of room, you might try planting more than one variety of pumpkin. This will give you the opportunity to choose the best of both worlds. For instance, you may want to grow a variety of pumpkins for cooking or baking, while growing another variety strictly for carving.

Remember the bigger the pumpkin, the more space it will need to grow. Also, vines of the pumpkin needs space as they can spread out wide, so always ensure you plant your pumpkin seeds in large enough areas.

Companion Planting

Companion planting is a class of gardening where you plant flower, vegetable, or other types of plants next to each other. The idea is the plants will offer protection, help each other grow, and enhance the well being of each other.

You have probably heard of companion planting. It is a form of gardening that is popular with organic growers. It has its origins in the mystery of pollination. Because of the mystery surrounding bee activity and pollination, early growers have learnt to copy nature.

When you grow white pumpkins, you can take advantage of companions who will benefit from the relationship, and plants that will protect your pumpkin from disease. Things like tomatoes, squash, nasturtium, marigolds, and radicchio. Even sunflowers can keep pests away.

Harvesting and Storing White Pumpkins

White pumpkins are sometimes referred to as pie pumpkins or ghost or snow pumpkins, and they have a more bland flavor. They are generally used in cooking to provide a starchy texture and acts as a thickening agent. These pumpkins grow in pie-like shapes and are great for baking, soup, or pureeing. They are typically smaller in size than field or carving pumpkins, and require less room to grow. They are shades of grey or white.

  • Keep check of your pumpkin growth and how long it takes to reach maturity. Leaving it too long may mean rotten pumpkins.
  • Flicking the pumpkin and not causing damage to it means the pumpkin is ripe.
  • Once your white pumpkin is 10 to 12 inches in diameter, it's ready for harvest. Pick the pumpkin from the vine using a garden fork and place it onto a raised screen for curing.
  • Curing the white pumpkin will ensure that it will keep longer, preferably at room temperature for about two weeks, while the skin of the pumpkin hardens. After the curing period, move the pumpkins to a dry storage area.

Harvesting Tips for the Pumpkin Fruit

Pumpkins are an important cultural crop in many parts of the world.

In addition to their cultural importance, pumpkins are also a common symbolism used during Halloween.

By acquiring the basic knowledge of growing pumpkins, you will be able to grow your own pumpkins fruit.

Pumpkins should be harvested when they are fully ripe. That being said, there is no right time to harvest them.

It truly depends on your needs and the availability of cans or jars that you plan on storing them in. Many decision factors to consider when growing pumpkins include your ability to store them and how early you want to plant them.

If you plan or need to store pumpkins for an extended period of time, then they should be harvested when they’re still slightly immature.

Pumpkins harvested early will have a somewhat soft shell, and flavor will develop slowly.

That being said, in order to fully ripen a pumpkin, you will need to have it in a warm and humid location. Harvesting them when they’re not ready will also increase their size.

Harvesting Tips for Pumpkin Seeds

Store bought seeds are the best type of seeds to plant. However, if you are harvesting seeds to plant, make sure that you keep the in an envelope or in refridgerator.

When harvesting seeds, you have removed all of the seeds and extra flesh, before you can begin cleaning the seeds. Rinse seeds, take out pulp, leave them on a paper towel sheet to dry for seven days.

If you want to eat pumpkin seeds, try roasting them first then safely lock in a seal-tight jar.

Pests and Diseases

The most common pest found in white or ghost pumpkins is a small larva from a moth that typically lays its eggs on the outside of pumpkins, then the larva eats through the pumpkin. Most plants that grow from seed are naturally pest and disease resistant, but when you start with a plant that is grown through grafting, the system is less robust.

If you do find that your pumpkin is infested, there are a couple of ways of dealing with it. There are numerous forms of insecticides available, but make sure you read the label before purchase to see if it is specifically designed to work against pests on pumpkins. The same rules apply when using water-based treatments.

While the most common method of dealing with an infestation is to use insecticides, there are viable natural alternatives. Milk and water, applied to the leaves, is said to deter pests.

Another natural pesticide is the garlic. You can make a spray by crushing several garlic cloves and mixing with water.

One of the most effective natural pest repellants is a "salt" solution. Any kind of salt, even rock salt, can be dissolved in water and sprayed over the leaves, effectively keeping pests away.


How do I prevent my pumpkin from turning yellow?

Some pumpkins turn yellow when they are getting too much sun, others take on this color if they require more sunlight.

You need to know how long you have kept your pumpkin on the vine for as the more the plant matures, the more yellow it will turn.

How long should I wait before my pumpkins are fully grown?

Pumpkin growth varies. Some pumpkins take less than 100 days to fully mature, other take more than 100 days to reach maturity. The 100 day mark is a pretty good rule of thumb though.