Skip to main content

You can grow pumpkins vertically – give these methods a try!

Keep your pumpkins safe from diseases and pests by growing them vertically

People plant pumpkins because they are fall favorites with a nearly endless number of uses. They take a while to grow, though, and have a few common problems. So how do you keep your pumpkins safe from pests and disease while they take their sweet time growing? Well, try growing pumpkins vertically on a trellis! If that sounds silly to you, or perhaps intriguing, keep reading!

Pumpkins growing on an A-frame trellis in garden

The basics of vertical gardening

Vertical gardening is the method of growing plants in a vertical or semi-vertical way, usually in a frame of some sort. You can grow plants as part of a green wall, where the frame of the garden is, as the name suggests, mounted to or embedded in a wall. Plants grow out of the frame sideways.

There are also freestanding trellises. These come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and you can actually make your own with relative ease. You can make a trellis out of a frame with a lattice or grid filling in the middle, and they can be any shape to fit with the aesthetic of your garden — but there are two standard shapes.

There is a standard vertical trellis, which is traditionally a vertical rectangular frame and lattice, often with a rectangular base to keep it standing up. You can mount these to a wall or place them right up against a house or other structure to form an easy green wall. Vertical trellises work well for flowers and small fruits or vegetables.

There are also A-frame trellises. These are, as you might expect, shaped a bit like the letter A. There are two rectangular frames with lattices leaned together and connected at the top to form a triangle. These are very stable and are also useful for flowers and smaller fruits and vegetables; they also offer a little more support for larger fruits and vegetables.

Pumpkins sitting in the sun

Do pumpkins grow well in vertical gardens?

You bet they do! Pumpkin vines love to climb; in fact, they’ll climb over anything near them if you aren’t careful. This makes them an excellent choice for vertical gardens.

The type of vertical garden you choose, however, should depend on the type of pumpkin you’re growing. Small pumpkin varieties, like Baby Boo or Hooligan, will do OK on any type of trellis. Larger pumpkins, however, may need a little more support. For medium or large pumpkins, pick an A-frame or similar style of trellis. If you plan on growing pumpkins that tend toward 5 pounds or more, they may need even more support. You can create a fabric sling to support them from beneath as they grow to avoid fallen pumpkins.

Pumpkins in slings growing on trellis

How do you grow pumpkins vertically?

First, select the type of pumpkin and trellis you want. You can build your own trellis, make use of an existing structure, or buy a premade trellis. Position your trellis where you want it, keeping in mind the amount of sun it gets and the type of soil it’s on. Since the pumpkins will be growing on it, the conditions need to fit with the preferences of the pumpkin variety you have.

Then, plant your pumpkins like you normally would at the base of the trellis. You can plant your pumpkins first and then arrange your trellis how you want to, if you prefer. Just be sure not to put the trellis directly over the seeds! Once the seeds have sprouted and you have vines that are a few inches long, gently weave the vines into the trellis.

You don’t need to wrap them tightly on to it; once they begin growing, they’ll hold on to it on their own. If the vines are too small and are slipping off the trellis, you can gently tie them to the trellis with some garden twine until they begin growing. They’ll continue climbing on their own. The only real difference in care is that they need more frequent watering, as the ground has less cover than it otherwise would.

Pumpkin growing on trellis overhead

What are the pros and cons?

Vertical gardening leads to healthier fruits and vegetables as it keeps them away from ground-dwelling pests and decreases the likelihood of diseases. Vertical gardening also adds to the visual interest of your garden. Depending on how you arrange it, vertical gardens conserve space, too.

On the other hand, it can be harder to set up than a regular garden. Building your own trellis isn’t difficult, but it does require some supplies and time. If you opt to buy a premade trellis, that’s another expense to add to the budget. If you’re growing larger fruits or vegetables, the weight may become too heavy for the vine, leading to fruits or vegetables falling off, unripe, and shattering on the ground.

No matter if you’re growing big, prize-winning pumpkins or tiny, adorably decorative pumpkins, now you know the secret (or maybe not so secret) way to grow the healthiest pumpkins. Why stop at pumpkins? You can grow anything that has vines on a trellis! Whether you’re growing beautiful flowers or delicious vegetables, don’t be afraid to employ a trellis.

Editors' Recommendations

Cayla Leonard
Cayla Leonard is a writer from North Carolina who is passionate about plants.  She enjoys reading and writing fiction and…
What is coconut soil, and how can it make your garden better?
Learn about coconut soil, a sustainable must for your hydroponic system
Person with small plant in hands

Coconut soil, or coco soil, as it's often called, hasn't been around for very long, but its history goes back only a few decades. In a relatively short amount of time, it's gone from a niche product to a popular trend among gardeners who need a highly efficient growing medium.

There are myriad benefits waiting for the gardener who chooses to use coconut soil. One of the most attractive benefits is that coco soil and coco coir are considered to be entirely renewable and sustainable.

Read more
Should you use ladybugs as a pest control method?
Find out if ladybugs help control your garden pests
A pair of ladybugs on a leaf

Are you having trouble keeping pests out of your garden, but don’t want to resort to chemical sprays? There are more natural pest control methods on the market, and some you can even make at home. One you may not have heard of is ladybug pest control. Ladybugs are common garden critters that play a beneficial role for most plants by pollinating flowers and eating certain pests. If you’re interested in the pros and cons of using them to help control insects in your garden, we’re here to answer all your questions.

Why are ladybugs used as pest control?
Ladybugs eat a few different species of insects, but are especially good at controlling aphid populations. They have a voracious appetite from the moment they hatch, eating scale bugs, mites, aphids, some small caterpillars, beetles, and even the eggs and larvae of other insects. These insects are some of the most common garden pests, and can even carry diseases that can decimate your plants. A thriving ladybug population will eat the pests already in your garden and discourage more from settling there.

Read more
Can you grow strawberries in a vertical garden?
Here are the best ways to create a vertical strawberry garden
Strawberries being grown vertically

Growing your own fruitful strawberry plants can be one of the most exciting ways to enjoy delicious, ripe strawberries each and every spring. And, believe it or not, the way you grow them is getting a makeover. Growing strawberries is taking a vertical turn for the best, offering up the most delicious harvests you can imagine. So, check out what vertical growing is all about and how to grow your very own vertical strawberry garden in the most efficient way possible.

Can strawberries grow vertically?
The very simple answer: Yes! Strawberries are very versatile and hardy plants, making them easy to grow in a variety of planters, locations, and environments.
Although strawberries are typically grown horizontally in rows on the ground, that doesn’t mean you can’t switch up their position. Vertical growing can be perfect for those with limited space. You can create tall structures, allowing the strawberry plants to grow out parallel to the ground.

Read more