Vegetable Science

Pumpkin Cultivation

Other Name:- Sitaphal, Kashiphal, Kushmand, Lal Kumhda, Kaddu, Petha, (Hindi), Butternut Squesh, Vegetable of immense value, Red Gourd

Botanical Name: Cucurbita moschata

Family: Cucurbitaceae

Chromosome Number: 2n= 40 (Natural Amphidiploid)

Origin: Mexico, Peru

Important Points

  • Toxic substance present in pumpkin is choline esterase.
  • Yeruseeri: is prepared from immature fruits famous in Kerela.
  • Pumpkin is a monecious plant but some cultivar produces more no. of male flower than female so these cultivars are used as pollinator varieties along with female-producing varieties at the ratio of 1:3 male and female respectively.
  • Pollination through honey bees.
  • Flowers of pumpkin have more nutritive value than fruits.
  • An insecticide is prepared from the seeds of pumpkin by Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad.
  • Insecticidal properties due to Kyamocine -2 chemical.

Area and production

  • Pumpkin is grown throughout India. As it tolerates hotter conditions than the other cultivated species of Cucurbita. Major pumpkin-growing states of India are Orissa, Assam, Rajasthan, and Punjab.
  • Orissa covers about 85% area and 90% production of pumpkin cultivation.
  • In 2018 according to NHB database total pumpkin cultivated area is 78,000 hac. with the production of 17,14,000 MT.

Economic importance

  • Immature and mature fruits are cooked as a vegetable and mature sweet flesh is used to prepare halwa, sweets, and jam also.
  • They can also be candied or fermented to give a beverage.
  • The Yerusseri or erissery prepared from immature fruits is very popular in Kerala. Pumpkin erissery is a mild and tempered curry with light sweet tones made with pumpkin, cowpeas & coconut.
  • Fruit is also mixed with tomato in the preparation of sauce.
  • The seeds after removing from seed coats are used in confectionery.
  • The young leaves, flowers, and fruits are rich in carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.
  • Medicinal uses of pumpkin to reduce tapeworm infection and its use as a diuretic.


  • Arka Suryamukhi: Resistant to fruit fly, IIHR
  • Arka Chandan: Pleasant Aroma, IIHR
  • Pusa Viswas
  • Pusa Vikas
  • Co. 1: TNAU
  • Co. 2: TNAU
  • Ambili: KAU, Vellanikkara
  • Saras: KAU, Vellanikkara
  • IIHR 93-1-1-1
  • VRM 5-10: Resistant to green mottle virus and Downy mildew.
  • CM 14:
  • Sonal Badami: YSPUH&F.Solan
  • Sooraj: KAU, Vellanikkara
  • Suvarna: KAU, Vellanikkara
  • Pusa Hybrid-1: Hybrid
  • CM-350
  • Azad Kaddu
  • Narendra Agrim
  • Narendra Amrit
  • NDPK 24
  • Golden Hubbard
  • Green Hubbard
  • Barsathi
  • Chaitali
  • S-107
  • S-101
  • Australian Green


Plants require long warm weather but it can survive in low temperatures. The optimum temperature of 25 -300C requires for successful cultivation. Above 40°C and below 15°C the growth of the plant will be very slow and the yield goes down. Short days, low-night temperature, and high relative humidity are best for pumpkin production.


Well-drained, deep, and rich in organic matter Sandy loam or loamy soil is preferred. Due to the long tap root system, it is also suitable for river beds. The best pH should be 6.0-7.0. Pumpkin is sensitive to acidic soils.

Sowing Time

  • This crop is grown in the summer and rainy seasons.
  • In South India, pumpkin is sown throughout the year but the best time is June-July and December-January.
  • In North Indian hills the crop is sown in April-May
  • June-July or January-March in the plains of North India.

Seed rate

For one hectare of planting about 5-6 Kg seeds are required.

Methods of Sowing

Seeds are sown on ridges or raised beds at a spacing of 1.5m X 0.75m. Generally, 3-4 seeds are sown in a pit.

Manure and Fertilizers

The doses of manures and fertilizers depend upon the soil type, climate, and system of cultivation.

Table: The recommended dose for some states is given below


N  (kg/ha) 

P  (kg/ha) 

K  (kg/ha) 





Himachal Pradesh








Madhya Pradesh









Well rotten FYM is applied as basal dose along with the full dose of phosphorus and potash and half dose of nitrogen. The remaining nitrogen is to be applied in two equal split doses at the time of vine growth and at the time of full blooming. In general, high N under high-temperature conditions promotes male flowers resulting in low fruit set and low yield.


During the initial stages of growth, irrigation of the crop at intervals of 3-4 days Later irrigation may be given at 5-7 days intervals. At the time of flowering and fruiting, irrigation should be given on alternate days. Excessive irrigation at maturity affects the storability.

Weed control

2-3 weeding may be done during the early stage of growth. During the time of manuring, the raking of soil should be done. According to Khurana et al. (1988), pre-plant incorporation of Besulide @ 4-6kg/ha or Alachlor 2.5kg/ha as pre-emergence can be used for weed control in pumpkin.

Use of Growth regulators

Ethrel can be applied to increase the female flower production which helps to increase the yield. The first spray has to be given at 2 true leaf stages (15 days after sowing) and the second at 4 leaf stages.

Training and Pruning

Excessive vine growth can be pruned manually to promote a higher female-to-male ratio. Then the plants are irrigated immediately. Generally, the vine trained on the ground itself.


It is better to harvest at the tender stage as a vegetable, this increases the yield. But for storage and seed extraction, it should be harvested only after full maturity.  At the full maturity stage, it can be stored for 4-6 months. The pumpkin crop will reach maturity in about 75-180 days after seed sowing depending on the variety, season, and other conditions.

Fully matured fruits have to be harvested after the skin colour has turned completely brown from green colour and the pedicel (fruit stalk) separates from the vine or is dried.


The yield varies from 150-190 q/hac. in the rainy season and from the summer season the yield varies from 67 to 75 q/hac.