Can I Grow Sugar Baby Watermelons in Grow Bags?

“What would you recommend I use to grow my sugar baby watermelons? A grow bag?” Question from MSJ of Marshall, Wisconsin

Answer: Watermelons are heavy drinkers and feeders with hefty root systems that demand more space. Even more compact vines, like those of ‘Sugar Baby‘, grow to reach 5-6 feet long (sometimes longer) and need plenty of water, nutrients, space, and sunlight to produce their ample 12-pound fruits. Stressed vines produce fewer, smaller melons. (Click here to watch our video about growing watermelons. Your cultivar is mentioned in the piece.)

If planting them in-ground is not an option, and you want to raise them in grow bags, then choose a very large grow bag to fully support the plant. We have had good luck growing in Smart Pots® and have even trialed them using our mixes. Smart Pots are available in all sizes (from 1-1000 gallons), and the containers are reasonably priced. A 20-gallon pot will support three healthy vines. We recommend getting two bale-sized bags of Black Gold® Natural & Organic Flower and Vegetable Soil. The bales are 2.2 cf, so one and one-quarter bales will fill a 20-gallon pot. The rest of the soil can fill other pots or be saved to replenish the Smart Pot® soil at a later time.

Smart Pots and our quality mixes both last and can be reused. Once your summer watermelons are finished, simply pull the vines, and plant something new for the fall. Any cool-season vegetables, such as lettuce, kale, carrots, turnips, and beets, will grow beautifully in the pots.

I hope the information helps. Have a good gardening season.

Jessie Keith

Black Gold Horticulturist


Plants are the lens Jessie views the world through because they’re all-sustaining. (“They feed, clothe, house and heal us. They produce the air we breathe and even make us smell pretty.”) She’s a garden writer and photographer with degrees in both horticulture and plant biology from Purdue and Michigan State Universities. Her degrees were bolstered by internships at Longwood Gardens and the American Horticultural Society. She has since worked for many horticultural institutions and companies and now manages communications for Sun Gro Horticulture, the parent company of Black Gold. Her joy is sharing all things green and lovely with her two daughters.

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