13 Mini Pumpkin Varieties That Are Delicious and Fun

The pumpkin/squash family (Cucurbita) is one of the most diverse in the vegetable kingdom. Heirlooms and hybrids both come in a wide range of sizes and colours.

Mini pumpkins, alone, run the gamut of size and colour and are most commonly used for autumn decoration. However, they’re perfectly edible and absolutely delicious in savoury and sweet dishes, alike.

Looking for some new varieties for your own garden? You’ve come to the right place! Keep reading to discover new and exciting varieties that are compact and easy to grow, regardless of the size of your growing space.

Types of Mini Pumpkins

Mini pumpkins are excellent garden additions and will even thrive trellised in pots. This means you can grow these on small patios and balconies that receive full sun.

Determinate and Indeterminate Pumpkins

Determinate and indeterminate pumpkins have different growth cycles. They go through the same growth stages, but indeterminate pumpkins will continue growing and vining until harvested. Whereas mini pumpkin vines usually don’t extend beyond 4 ft. Making the determinates below perfectly suited to small spaces.

Hybrid vs Heirloom

Heirlooms have superior texture and flavour for cooking and baking. Hybrids are more robust plants that often produce long-lasting fruit for decorating. The best one for you will depend on its intended use.

13 Varieties of Mini Pumpkins

If you’re planning on growing your mini pumpkins in pots, keep an eye out for the mature size of each of these exciting varieties. Some can get a bit heavy and would need to be supported and secured with netting on a larger trellis.

Mini pumpkins, regardless of variety, will usually produce 3-4 fruits, per vine. Especially those grown in the ground. Potted specimens may also see this kind of yield. Just remember that pot size affects plant and yield size. The bigger the pot, the larger the plant, fruit size and yield.

Apprentice

1. Apprentice

The ‘apprentice’ is by far one of the cutest and small enough to nestle in the palm of your hand. It only grows to 5” in diameter. Yet, can weigh a full pound.

A holiday table showstopper, its bright orange rind is smooth, with faint rib lines in a darker shade, which tapers up toward a stout stem. 

This tiny hybrid comes with resistance to Phytophthora and Fusarium fruit rots (common when allowed to vine along wet soil) and is ready for harvest in just 90 days. To discourage mildew, water this thirsty plant only at the soil level.

Baby Boo

2. Baby Boo

The soft, white exterior of this hybrid variety adds a touch of organic elegance to holiday tables, seasonal decor and autumn weddings. It produces an exceptional 10 fruits per fast-growing vine, each reaching 2” tall with a 3” diameter.

Determinate vines on the Baby Boo can reach 10 ft in length from a 3 ft tall plant. So, these may need taller trellises, if potted.

Even more impressive, this reliable cultivar shares its genetics with an acorn squash which not only tastes similar when cooked but also imparts an increased tolerance against the dreaded powdery mildew that’s so prevalent with pumpkins and squash.

Batwing

3. Batwing

Nothing says “Halloween” like the Batwing mini pumpkin. Mainly cultivated as an ornamental, rather than for eating, the lower, shaded half retains a higher concentration of chlorophyll cells, while those on top, fade.

This phenomenon manifests differently on each 4” wide fruit, giving you uniquely spooky ‘bat wing’ patterns across your plants. These are ready for picking in 90 days from seed germination.

Pro Tip: Soil fertility dictates fruit size. Increase the size of your Batwing pumpkins by adding well-aged compost or manure to your soil.

Batwings, like most mini pumpkin varieties, are thirsty plants and require regular watering to ensure healthy metabolism of nutrients.

Blaze

4. Blaze

The Blaze is an ornamental pumpkin that displays beautiful bursts of dark orange variegation on a soft, yellow base. Giving the illusion of being roasted on an open campfire, on a crisp night.

This, along with other hybrids I’ve mentioned below resulted from a cross between a ‘Jack-be-little’ mini pumpkin and an acorn squash.

Unique colouration appeared on each one and according to research conducted by the American Society for Horticultural Science, all exhibited large yields and increased resistance to powdery mildew.

With 10-12 fiery fruits per plant, each can reach 3 lbs and are ready for harvest in 100 days.

Cherokee Tan

5. Cherokee Tan

This delicious mini pumpkin is an heirloom variety, originally cultivated by the Appalachian Cherokee Nation. It’s packed with flavour come harvest time and offers gardeners with small growing spaces the opportunity to cultivate hardy pumpkins for both culinary and decorative purposes.

In fertile soil, the Cherokee Tan’s vigorous nature can yield 10-15, 4 lb pumpkins per plant, in 110 days. This heirloom has a remarkable resistance to disease. Which is especially advantageous in southern climates where pests and diseases are more common.

Once harvested, these have been known to last up to one year in optimal storage conditions.

Half Pint

6. Half Pint

This one is a great size for little ones or when diversifying your pumpkin display and is used mostly for Halloween crafting. But, growers love it, too, for the high yield, uniform size and near-perfect pumpkin shape. Like the Cherokee Tan, this is also a great choice for small, vertical gardens. Its semi-bush growing habit requires less space to produce an abundant crop.

To achieve maximum yields, the half pint requires full sun and an average soil pH of 5.5-6.5 (lower than full-sized pumpkins) coupled with a steady stream of nutrients and water.

Higher yields are further supported by companion plantings like corn, onion and radish.

Hooligan

7. Hooligan

The second of three borne from a jack-be-little and acorn squash is this little pumpkin whose colouring has clearly gone rogue. 

Unlike the ‘Blaze’ which is more round and maintains a light yellow base beneath fiery folds, the ‘Hooligan’ is white. Orange webbing and mottling create an appealing contrast.

True to its miniature status, the Hooligan stays a compact 4” wide by 2” tall. Colour and yield are fueled by hot summers, fertile soil and a 5.5-6.5 pH for sufficient moisture and nutrient absorption. 

These mini pumpkins are hailed for their deliciously sweet yet slightly nutty flavour, making them a firm favourite in culinary uses – sweet and savoury alike.

Midnight

8. Midnight

For something a little different, the mysterious Midnight pumpkin is so apropos for Halloween. It’s almost black, thanks to a heavy concentration of chlorophyll in its rind. 

This hybrid variety is better suited to ground planting, as each pumpkin can reach 2 lbs and on long vines than other mini varieties. But, they do offer a different sort of flexibility. 

These can be harvested early to maintain their black colour or left to mature (80 days), at which time they’ll ripen to bright orange. This will also happen when stored for more than two months.

The appeal of Midnight pumpkins for many is how their black rind contracts so well against the orange of traditional pumpkins. However, their orange flesh tastes great and roasted in savoury dishes too.

New England Sugar Pie

9. New England Sugar Pie

The Sugar Pie has been a seasonal baking staple since 1863. This historic cultivar matures to 9” tall and wide, making it one of the largest mini pumpkin varieties on record.

A handsome round shape with narrow ribs protects a naturally sweet and creamy interior that is perfect for pies.

Given their size, Sugar Pies grow best in the ground and are protected from bottom rot with garden liners. These also require a higher soil pH (6.0-6.8), full sun and fertile soil to reach maximum yield and fruit size in 110 days.

Snowball

10. Snowball

The ‘Snowball’ has an ethereal quality to it. Glowing, white orbs, topped with twisting, green stems are favourites among kids. Not only for their appearance, but a large seed cavity means they’re lighter to carry around.

That’s not to say these pretty pumpkins are small, they can weigh up to 4 lbs, especially when you narrow down your yield to two or three, per plant.

If you’d rather they be smaller, simply allow the standard 6-12 pumpkins, per plant, to mature. This will be easy, considering this hybrid comes with increased resistance to powdery mildew.

If you are planning on using this variety for decoration, then be sure to harvest them as soon as they are mature rather than leaving them on the vine as they tend to discolour quickly. 

They are good for eating too – especially the large number of seeds they produce. Plus, their orange flesh is great for both savoury and sweet dishes and can be used in the same way as orange pumpkins.

Spark

11. Spark

The third offspring of a ‘Jack-be-little’ and an acorn squash is ‘Spark’. The relation to its hybridized siblings is evident by its dark-on-light, rind variegation. 

However, the rib depth on this is more subtle, giving it a more plump appearance. Colouration is also not as fiery as on the Blaze or Hooligan, just a little spark. (See what I did, there?)

Not only does their appearance mean they are great for Fall decorations, but they also have a deliciously sweet and creamy flesh that is perfect for pies.

Another unique feature of this mini pumpkin variety is the uniformity throughout each plant’s substantial yield. Each pumpkin reaches 3.5” wide by 2” high, at maturity and can easily be grown in trellised pots.

Sweet Dumpling

12. Sweet Dumpling

The ‘Sweet Dumpling’ may be the most interesting mini pumpkin variety, as it takes the best features of all others and combines them into one.

Ribs, heavy with green chlorophyll, a present stunning contrast to a creamy white shell. Open-pollinating plants thrive as both trellised pots and ground plantings. Producing 8-10 fruits that are resistant to mildew issues, in 110 days.

That may seem long, but it’s necessary for their sweet, creamy texture to develop. These make eye-catching additions to holiday decor. But, they’re an even bigger treat when baked into stuffings, side dishes and soups.

Jack-Be-Little

13. Jack-Be-Little

Finally, we have the granddaddy of them all. The modern-day ‘Jack-be-little’ cultivar is thought to have direct lineage to the original random mutation that gave us the mini pumpkin. The one from which most new hybrids stem.

Maturing in 95 days, these have an impressively high tolerance for mildew, fungus and pests and have proven successful in small, vertical gardens and wet, maritime zones where other pumpkin varieties typically suffer.

Lasting in storage for as long as one year, these compact cuties have a succulent, citrus flavour that mellows to sweet and creamy goodness, when baked.

Mini Pumpkin Plant Care

Clearly, these nostalgic harbingers of autumn come in a wide range of options. But, specific care is needed for optimum performance.

Mini pumpkins are thirsty, by nature. This is necessary for efficient nutrient and photosynthesized food metabolism. 1” of water, per plant, per week will ensure adequate hydration without risking root and fruit rot.

Effective photosynthesis requires full sun and nutrient-rich, well-draining soil with a pH range between 5.5 – 6.8 (depending on the cultivar).

To encourage larger fruits, minimize the number of fruit per vine. This will redirect the plant’s energy toward those remaining.

Once seedlings produce a second set of leaves, apply a nitrogen-rich fertilizer to boost root establishment and foliage development. Once buds are set, switch to one with higher phosphorus and potassium for robust flower and fruit formation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are all mini pumpkin varieties edible?

Mini pumpkins offer the same healthy vitamins and minerals that large pumpkins do. Each variety has its own unique flavour profile that develops when cooked. From citrusy and spicy to creamy and naturally sweet.

How long do mini pumpkins last?

Once harvested, mini pumpkins can last anywhere from 6-12 months. Provided that they’re stored in a dry, well-ventilated area that stays below 65°F and placed on a material that allows for air circulation around the bottom of each pumpkin.

Citations

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Ben's horticultural interest grew when graduating from Hertfordshire University in 1997. Having contributed to numerous publications including Better Homes & Gardens, Garden Design Magazine, and The English Garden. He is also the author of Propagating Houseplants Made Easy.