Melon varieties: 21 different types of melon varieties (2023)

Honestly, the majority of Americans have never really had a cantaloupe. Sure, they've bought one at the supermarket, but these bland generic fruitspale in comparisonin domestic melons. Once you've tasted a specialty ripe variety of melon from your garden, you'll never want to eat melon at a grocery store again!

If you are looking for thethe most delicious, the sweetest, the most delicious and fragrantmelon varieties for your garden, you've come to the right place. After growing thousands of pounds of melons on commercial organic farms across the country, I spent a lot of time sampling and experimenting with unique muskmelon varieties from France, Italy, Japan and China.

Those aromatic melons for sureblow youwith their taste and texture.Melons are also easy to grow, making them a great choice for beginners. For better or worse, you'll probably never buy supermarket cantaloupe again. Let's dig deeper!


  • 1 Are all melons muskmelons?
  • 2 Why grow melon in your garden?
  • 3 What is the best flavor variety?
  • 4 Choosing a variety of melon
  • 5 Top 21 Melon Varieties
    • 5.1 Charentais
    • 5.2 Enjoy
    • 5.3 Diplomat
    • 5.4 Arancino
    • 5.5 Sugar cube
    • 5.6 True love
    • 5.7 First kiss
    • 5.8 Divergent
    • 5.9 Sweet granite
    • 5.10 Sense
    • 5.11 Pride of Wisconsin
    • 5.12 Halo
    • 5.13 Oregon Delicious
    • 5.14 Hearts of Gold
    • 5.15 Sarah's Choice
    • 5.16 Golden Gopher
    • 5.17 Sivan
    • 5.18 Hannah's Choice
    • 5.19 Home Run
    • 5.20 Joy of Mandu
    • 5.21 Ichiba Kouji
  • 6 Frequently Asked Questions
  • 7 Final Thoughts

Are all melons muskmelons?

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Traditional melons are actually muskmelons. They are named for their sweet, slightly "musky" taste and unique sugary aroma. The word 'musk' comes fromPersian word for perfumeand the term "melon" is a French word of Latin origin that translates to "apple-shaped melon."

All muskrats are native to Persia, which is modern Iran, but have spread around the world through trade, settlement and breeding.

Today's era

Today, muschofia include hundreds of varieties of melons with different tastes, colors and uses.All melons are technically muskmelons, butnot all muskmelons are melons. When we hear "melon," most of us think of the classic meshy skin and bright orange flesh of a grocery store melon.

This is the North American melon orCucumber Melon "Reticulata". The variety name "reticulatus" is a nod to the net-like skin sometimes called reticulate rhyming.

Fancy jargon aside, our melon and muskmelon taste buds are pretty limited here in the states. European melon,Cucumber Melon "Melon"he's gotpale green striated skinwhich is nothing like the American cantaloupe.

There are also Asian, Japanese, French and Galia melons, each bred into unique hybrids and varieties of the above species. We'll explore the unique flavors, benefits, and cultivation of each seed variety below, but suffice it to say, they're all nutty!

Other names for melons

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Muskmelons and melons can go by many names depending on where you are in the world. In Australia and New Zealand, they are usually called "melons.” In South Africa, melons are called "spanspek". In France, the small 'Charenteis' melon is highly regarded.

The most common Japanese melon is “King YubariIn Southeast Asia, you may hear cantaloupe melons referred to as 'sarda', which actually refers to amelon gall. Galias are technically a honeydew and melon cross that originated in Israel, but we included them here just in case.

Honeydew melons, casaba melons and canaries areall the musketeers, but they are not melons.

Why grow melon in your garden?

Before you dig into all the melon varieties available, you may be wondering why you should grow it in the first place. After all, melons and zucchini are cousinsthey tend to take up a lot of spacewith their vines running through the gardens. How can we justify such valuable land real estate?

Easy to develop

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First, melons are easy summer annuals that take care of themselves quite well once established. Melons lovewarm weather and well-drained, fertile soil. Give them some organic all-purpose fertilizer or a monthly dose of liquid fish and they'll be going crazy all summer long.

Melons thrive in full sunlight and compete with weeds quite well when the large broad leaves are able to establish themselves on the vines. From seeds, melons get on average70-80 days to produce mature ripe fruits. Each plant can produce 2-8 fruits, depending on variety and size. They are quite thirsty during fruiting but are easily watered with soaker hoses or drippers.

Expensive to buy

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Melons are also a great garden crop because they can be so expensive to buy in stores. While a typical conventional cantaloupe costs only $1.50-$2 at many large supermarket chains, an extra-sweet, high-quality organic cantaloupe at the farmer's market could do the trick for you.$5-$6 or more. By growing your own specialty melon varieties, you get more flavor, more sweetness, and more melons for a lot less money.

Vine-Ripened Beats Store-Ripened

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Store-bought melonsthey are picked green and unripe. They are then shipped hundreds or thousands of miles across the country or world to reach grocery stores. Like bananas and tomatoes, so are melonsethylene treatmentor other ripening agent to ripen and sweeten while waiting on the shelves.

There is no doubt that this will drastically affect the texture and taste! Although unripe fruit has a longer shelf life and shipping capacity, vine-ripened melons are just like vine-ripened tomatoes. onesuperior culinary experienceBy all means! When you grow your own melons, you can enjoy them ripe and sweet straight from the vine. The plants tell you when the fruit is ready, so you no longer have to guess whether a melon is ripe or not - only to open it and be disappointed.

Unique Special Flavors

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Speaking of buying melons in stores, you really can't find French 'Charenteis' or Southeast Asian 'Galia' melons in any regular store. The special varieties we describe below areit is not usually cultivated on an industrial scaleand personally I have only tried them from local organic farms at the farmer's market.

The best thing about growing these melons yourself is that you can use your garden to practically travel around the world andexperience new tastes and cuisines. Your friends, family and neighbors will be delighted with the unique aroma and sweetness of special melons. Usually, they ask where they can buy theirs or how to save some seeds!

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Nutrition to fight cancer

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Of course, we cannot talk about fruits and vegetables grown in the garden without admiring themincredible nutritional profiles! Melons in particular are rich in nutrients with very few calories. Despite their sugary taste, they provide a very healthy low-glycemic sweetness that won't spike your blood sugar.

They are loaded withVitamin A, Vitamin C, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory compounds and phytonutrients. Melons are also an excellent source of potassium, vitamin K, magnesium, B vitamins and fiber. Even the seeds (which are edible) offer lots of omega-3 fatty acids and gut-friendly fiber!

The antioxidant flavonoids in melons have even been linked toreducing the risk of cancer. Interestingly, the compounds that make it a cancer-fighting fruit arethe same pheromoneswhich the plant uses to protect itself from external damage.

What is the best flavor variety?

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The best variety of melon is avery subjectiveand even hot topic among farmers and gardeners. There are so many unique seeds to choose from!

In my opinion, the best cantaloupe of all time is the French Heirloom"Charentes", which is perfectfloral, intoxicatingly aromatic, honeysuckle-sweet, creamy smooth, and oh-so-smelly. The flesh is sweet enough to eat for dessert but firm enough to be served on a platter with prosciutto and goat cheese (the classic French way).

There's just something about these fancy melons that make me want to have my *pink on* as I taste them. The 'Charenteis' is, after all, considered one of thethe best melons in the world, so it deserves oneextraordinary presentation. I have to thank the wonderful French chef turned farmer, Leila SchneiderHayshaker Farmin Walla Walla, Washington, to introduce me to this dreamy variety of melon.

But don't take my word for it - I haven't tried all the musks out there! The perfect variety for your garden will needcheck several boxes. In addition, each variety can be a little different depending on the conditions. Consider it uniqueterroirof your garden.

Choosing a variety of melon

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To find the best melon variety for your garden,start by answering a few basic questions:

  • What growth zone do you live in? Is the season long and hot or short and cool?
  • How much space do you have in your garden?
  • Need a compact variety?
  • Is your garden in full sun or is it slightly shaded?
  • Do you prefer sweet, floral, juicy or all of the above?
  • How many melons can your family eat per week in the height of summer?
  • Prefer a steady supply of melon all summer long?
  • In the past, have you had problems with powdery mildew or disease on crops in the cucurbit family (pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, etc.)?

Top 21 melon varieties


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The French heirloom melon of your dreams (or at least mine). As I described above, this melon is so incredible that you can write poems about it. The plants are performing wonderfully2-3 pounds of melonswith soft silver-green skins and bright orange flesh that is dense and flavorful. The taste and smell is dreamy, floral and aromatic. The vines are very vigorous and take 85 days to ripen. Melons are small enough to fit if you're short on space.

Our vote: Best tasting


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This is another traditional Charentais variety, but it was hybridized for greater disease resistance than the heirloom variety. "Savor" isresistant to fusarium and powdery mildew, making it ideal for wet or very wet growing areas. The fruits are slightly ribbed with smooth grey-green skins.

The flesh is a deeper orange than 'Charenteis', but just as flavorful. You pick it when the bark acquires a yellowish hue and thehelix (the "stem" of the melon)it begins to turn yellow and detach from the plant. This makes it easy to know when your melons are ripe, which is about 78 days until ripe.

Our vote: Best disease-resistant Charentais


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A tasty muskmelon, 'Diplomat' is technically a subset of the Galia melon, which is a cross between a honeydew and a cantaloupe (it's still a muskmelon!) This varietyit turns yellow and has a net when ripeand has "full slip" (meaning it almost detaches from the vine to let you know it's ready to be picked).

Fruits weigh5-6 kilosaverage and have a small seed cavity surrounded by neon green, fragrant, plump flesh. So delicious and vibrant, this is the perfect Galia experience. It ripens in 71 days and has excellent resistance to powdery mildew.

Our vote: Best Galia type


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Now for an Italian melon - this variety is extremely aromatic and incredibly tasty. It originates from Sicily and is traditionally served in pieces wrapped in prosciutto or thinly sliced ​​Italian ham. But you can also eat it as it is while enjoying itbright orange firm flesh. The plants produce plenty of 2-4 pound melons with gray netting that tell you when they are ripe. Open pollination and 80 days to maturity.

Our vote: The best Italian melon

Sugar cube

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If you prefer an incredibly sweet, personal-sized melon, the 'Sugar Cube' is calling your name. This variety iswidely adapted to both northern and southern regions. The vines have strong disease resistance and a long harvest window for continuous production throughout the summer.

The fruits are slightly larger than a softball and have aromatic, deep orange flesh that isideal for individual portions(but honestly I could eat 2-4 in one meal)… It's better than any candy or pie you've ever tasted. Scoop out the seeds and put a scoop of ice cream in the center for a decadent summer treat that the kids go crazy for (they don't realize how healthy it is!)

They take 80 days to mature and are resistant to powdery mildew, fusarium and several common melon viruses.

Our vote:Best Personal Size Melon

True love

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This high-sugar melon was bred at the University of New Hampshire for excellent performance in the Northeast oranywhere with a cold short season. The melon is a "full slip", making it easy to identify ripeness. Vines produce later and larger than 'First Kiss', so it's best to use this as a succession planting for continuous melons all summer long.

(Video) Trying Every Type Of Melon | The Big Guide | Epicurious

Takes76 days for maturationand has high resistance to both fusarium and powdery mildew. It was one of the last melons standing in New Hampshire's wettest summer in decades (the rest of the pumpkins pretty much rotted to the ground).

Our vote: Best for rainy climates

First kiss

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With only 71 days to ripen, 'FirstKiss' is a true short season melon. This is one of the first melon varieties thatnever dulls the sweetness or flavor. The bark is orange in color and reticulated. Also developed at the University of New Hampshire, 'FirstKiss' is best planted at the same time as 'True Love' for an extended melon season. Fruits weigh 1-2 kg and are highly disease resistant.

Our vote:Best Early Ripening Melon


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This top quality organic cantaloupe is more like American style cantaloupes, but much tastier. The3-4 lb fruit with heavy nettingthey turn mostly yellow-green when ripe and have nice pastel orange flesh. "Divergent" isresistant to powdery mildew and fusarium. It takes 75 days to mature and is an extremely vigorous vine with high yields.

Our vote: The best big melons

Sweet Granite

One of the earliest melon varieties to ripen, this oriental type offers hardy growth and deliciousfruit in the shape of torpedoesto growers of northern or mountainous regions. Melons are oblong, with orange flesh, with a slight net and about 3 kg. They have a medium flavor that is very sweet. Only 70 days to mature and open pollinate.

Our vote: Best for mountainous areas


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Another French variety, 'Sensation' is a wonderfully sweet and complex melon with notes of hazelnut, amaretto and cinnamon. The flesh is uniquely white and the ripe skins are orange-yellow with a "full slip" from the vine for easy harvesting. In the kitchen you will be seduced by awonderful aroma that fills the room. In the garden, these F1 hybrids grow vigorously and produce a bountiful 2-4 pounds of fruit in about 85 days from sowing.

Our vote: Better melon than white flesh

Pride of Wisconsin

At last, a full-sized, open fertilized calf. This big melon with salmon flesh isoval shape with a deep net. It's not musky, but rather smooth and juicy with a subtle sweetness that doesn't overwhelm you. Originally called 'Pride of Colorado', this variety was almost lost to cultivation, but was revived in the 1940s and 1950s thanks to specialist seed savers. Consider saving some seeds yourself to continue the line!

Takes88 days for maturationand it does well in cooler northern areas as long as it only grows in the height of summer. Fruits weigh 5-7 pounds and are fragile to breakage during handling or shipping, meaning this is one of those unique varieties that can only be enjoyed straight from the garden.

Our vote: The best juicy nutmeg


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'Halona' is another early eastern type melon that averages 4-5 lbs. You can easily identify ripe melons with this"Full slip" variety.that pulls gently from the vine. It has intermediate resistance to fusarium and powdery mildew, as well as very early maturity at just 73 days.

Our vote:Best for short growing periods

Oregon Delicious

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This Pacific Northwest heritage melon has an extra juicy sweet flavor that melts in your mouth. Fruits areslightly oval and reticulate as well as striated. If sown in early June, it will bear until mid-September in Oregon. This rare variety takes 80-90 days to mature and is open fertilized to save true type seeds.

Our vote: Best for the Pacific Northwest

Hearts of Gold

These vigorous vines will reliably produce at least 2-4 melons per vine. This was one of the most popular melons in the Midwest, thanks to its thin skin and thick aromatic flesh with plenty of juicy sweetness. This variety existedfrom the late 1800sand embodies the old summer tradition of eating melon straight from the garden. It takes 85 days to ripen and has orange flesh.

Our vote: Best for the Midwest

Sarah's choice

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This melon consistently comes out on top in farm trials because of its great flavor. The attractive oval fruits average 4 kg and have greenish-cream skin with a light netting. "Sarah's Choice" wasbred at the University of New Hampshireand performs well in northern climates. It's another "full slip" melon for easy ripeness gauge. It takes 76 days to mature and includes moderate resistance to both fusarium and powdery mildew.

Our vote: Better Taste

Golden Gopher

If you're looking for a biodynamically grown melon seed option, this is it! 'Golden Gopher' produces 6” wide heavily ribbed fruits thatweighs about 2.5 lbs. The soft yellow-green skin surprises you with deep orange flesh inside. The high sugar content comes from the genetics of honeydew crossed with musklime.

It was developed by the University of Minnesota in the 1930s and has been saved from extinction by specialist seed savers. Unfortunately, this variety isquite susceptible to powdery mildewand is best grown in an area with dry summers. The fruit sometimes splits open when ripe, but that's a small price to pay for the outrageously delicious flavor. 85 days for maturation.


Our vote: Best Biodynamic Variety


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These trusty little melons are round, sweet and deep orange in color. They are heavy nets and have a fine sweet texture inside.Better harvest in "half slip"(cut from the vine when the stem begins to separate from the plant) and then ripened at 70°F for three days.

"Sivan" hasof the best resistance to powdery mildew. It is technically a Charentais type, averaging 1.5-2 lbsin and produces a pleasant floral aroma when ripe.

Our vote: Best for powdery mildew resistance

Hannah's choice

With strong disease resistance and a sweet aromatic taste, this melon is an easy choice for any garden. Fruits arebeautiful, slightly elongated and average weight 3-5 lbs. Plants are healthy and productive. Bred at Cornell University, this is a complete variety that is well suited to the Northeast and is resistant to powdery mildew and squash viruses. 75 days to ripen and particularly beautiful exterior with golden yellow ribs.

Our vote: Better disease resistance

Home Run

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This F1 hybrid from Fedco Seeds is named for the most memorable home run in baseball history: Hammerin' Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth's all-time record in April 1974 and moments after a northeastern melon grower crossed two lines to yield this wonderful high. sugar melon. Has adense musky orange fleshand oval shape with coarse netting. Fruits averaging 4-6 pounds are "whole" when ripe. 'Home Run' yields in 82 days and is usually undisturbed by cold wet summers. Resistant to powdery mildew and fusarium.

Our vote: Best for rainy climates

Cheers Mandu

This lovely melon from Punjab, India is teardrop-shaped and oozing with sweetness. The high sugar brix level is balanced with an extremely unique taste. This variety wasintroduced in 1967 by the Punjab Agricultural Universityafter improving old local varieties from the Indian state of Haryana. This true heirloom is a testament to a blend of flavors and cultures indigenous to this region.

'Hara Madhu' takes 90 days to mature and bear fruitvines 10-12 feet longfrom 2-3 kg of fruit. Each melon has striped cream and green skins with white flesh that does not store well, so they are best eaten straight out of the garden.

Our vote: Best Indian variety

Ichiba Kouji

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As one of the more unique melons on this list, 'IchibaKouji' is a special Japanese melon that isespecially popular at every farmer's market in Japan. The fruit has net green skin and a round shape, averaging over 3 kg. The flesh is juicy, thick and green, making a unique addition to any melon salad or platter. This variety is easy to grow and adapts to most areas. Only 55-60 days to mature and excellent resistance to powdery mildew.

Our vote: Best Japanese variety

Frequent questions

How can I tell when my melon is ripe?

Unfortunately, every variety is different. Melon ripeness is usually determined by a "full slip" or "half slip". This means that the "stalk" of the fruit will begin to break and separate from the vine to tell you that it is ready to harvest. A "full slip" will completely separate from the vinewith just a gentle pull.

A "half slip" usually requires a knife to cut it from the vine. The circular area where a melon is attached to the vine will usually start to wilt and turn yellow as the main sign of its ripening. You can also check the ripeness of the melonbased on skin color; Some varieties turn yellowish-orange when ripe. Often the best indicator of melon ripeness is the smell. The aroma of a ripe melon should be floral, sweet and aromatic. The smell is particularly strong near the base of the fruit stem. If you accidentally pick a slightly underripe cantaloupe, you can leave it on the counter near bananas or other fruit to fully ripen.

What is the best month to plant melon?

Melons arebest planted 2-3 weeks after the last frostin your area when soil temperatures have fully warmed to above 70°F and outside nighttime temperatures are reliably above 50°F. This can be May-July in most growing areas of the US.

(Video) How to grow super sweet and fruity melons right at home, not everyone knows

How long does it take for melon to grow?

MelonsThey usually take 65-80 days to mature from seed, depending on the variety. Once the melon plants begin to flower, it usually takes another 35-45 days to develop fruit.

Where do melons grow best?

Melons are warm weather annuals that really love the long hot summers of southern climates. However, melons can be grown in climatesas cold as USDA zones 4with a few extra steps to plant early and protect the tender vines from cold nights below 50°F.

What is the sweetest variety of melon?

The sweetest melon varieties are 'Charenteis' and 'Sugar Cube'. The luscious sweetness and smooth dense texture of these French-style melons will rival any dessert.

What is the largest variety of melon?

Colossal Cantaloupe' is one of the largest melon varieties ever bred, yielding melons weighing 25-30 pounds. But keep in mind thatbigger is not always betterin the world of melons. It is often the smaller, denser melons that have the greatest flavor and sweetness.

Do melon plants need a trellis?

Most melon plants can be vined along the ground, however, small-fruited melons can be trellised insave space in the garden. Use a reinforced cattle panel or sturdy wooden trellis for this use and be sure to support the growing fruit so they don't break from the vine.

Final thoughts

Who knew there were so many varieties of melon? Like any ecosystem, diversity in the gardencreates resilienceto pests, unpredictable weather and definitely bored taste buds.

You can grow several varieties of melons in your garden at the same time because most varieties are self-pollinating. However, if you want to save seeds that are true to type, melons arebetter separatedor planted two weeks apart to avoid cross-pollination.


Melon varieties: 21 different types of melon varieties? ›

Bearing in mind that melons have been cultivated for over 4,000 years, there is a surprisingly low number of species. To date, there are only 40 different types, and probably around half of those shouldn't go near your plate if you are after 'sweet and juicy'.

How many varieties of melons are there? ›

Bearing in mind that melons have been cultivated for over 4,000 years, there is a surprisingly low number of species. To date, there are only 40 different types, and probably around half of those shouldn't go near your plate if you are after 'sweet and juicy'.

What is the sweetest type of melon? ›

Crenshaw Melon

This hybrid of a Persian and Casaba melons boasts an extra sweet flavor and vegetal aroma. Its texture is tender and juicy, making it great to eat raw in fruit salads or with charcuterie meats. Crenshaw melons also make for delicious sorbet, frozen cocktails and smoothies.

What is the most popular type of melon? ›

Three of the most common melons are cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. Cantaloupe has become the common name for all netted, musk-scented melons or muskmelons. Honeydew melons are another type of melon with white or green flesh, although some newer varieties may have orange or pink flesh.

What is the best melon to eat? ›

Cantaloupe and honeydew melon are similar, so which one you choose primarily depends on your personal preference. Cantaloupe contains more provitamin A and vitamin C, making it slightly more nutritious — though both make healthy choices.

What is the most popular melon in the United States? ›

Watermelons have long been America's favorite melon.

What is the oldest melon variety? ›

The Egyptians were among the earliest peoples to cultivate melons, and they have left good documentation in the form of tomb paintings and actual archaeological specimens. What they raised was the so-called chate melon (Cucumis melo var. chate), a melon with a cucumber-like fruit.

What is the rarest melon? ›

Yubari melon is by far the most expensive fruit in Japan and even arguably in the world. It is available only to the top 1% in the society because of how rare it is. This is because it is only grown in greenhouses in the Yubari region in Japan.

What melon is very expensive? ›

The pinnacle of Japanese luxury fruit, the Yubari King melon sells for roughly $200 each. The sweet melon, which has become a status symbol, is grown exclusively in the small town of Yubari in Japan's Hokkaido province.

What is the easiest melon to grow? ›

Small watermelons (Citrullus lanatus) and orange-fleshed muskmelons, often called cantaloupes, are easy crops for beginning gardeners. Some melons require more gardening skills or a perfect climate, but all are grown in much the same way.

What is the most expensive melon ever sold? ›

Small wonder then that the Yubari King melons have set records by going for $45,000 a pair, during an auction in 2019, per Insider.

What melon is most fragrant? ›

Charentais. Also known as a French cantaloupe, this highly fragrant melon features firm dark-orange flesh, enticing musky notes, and a shallow seed cavity.

What is the best melon to grow? ›

Cantaloupe melons, with aromatic orange flesh – these are the best choice for growing outdoors and will do even better in a greenhouse. Honeydew melons, smooth-skinned, with firm yellow flesh – best grown in a greenhouse.

Are there more than 300 varieties of watermelon? ›

More than 300 varieties of watermelon are cultivated in the United States and South America, where complementary growing seasons provide a year-round supply of watermelon in an array of shapes, colors and sizes.

Are there 1200 varieties of watermelon? ›

According to the International Tropical Fruits Network, there are over 1,200 varieties of watermelon. The most popular kinds are known for their green rind and red flesh, but watermelons come in an array of sizes, colors, and flavors.

What variety of melon is Santa Claus? ›

The Santa Claus melon, sometimes known as Christmas melon or Piel de Sapo (Toad Skin), is a variety of melon (family Cucurbitaceae, Cucumis melo, Inodorus group) originating in Spain that grows to about a foot in length and is ovoid in shape.


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