Life Cycle of a Giant Pumpkin

The Timeline of a Giant Pumpkins Growth

How long does it take to grow a giant pumpkin?

It can take around 150 – 170 days to grow a giant pumpkin from seed to maturity.

Starting a seed to pollination of the pumpkin takes around 60 – 70 days.

The pumpkin itself will grow from 90 – 110 days. Top growers try and get as many days of growing as possible.

The standard planting time here in NZ is mid to late October. Your pumpkin will be mature mid to late March / Early April.

Life Cycle of a Giant Pumpkin

Please Note:  This is a general guide to a giant pumpkin’s growth.  There will be slight differences due to seed, location, weather, water etc.

Lifecycle of a Giant Pumpkin

Day 1
Seed Icon used in life cycle of a giant pumpkin plant

Seed Starting

For most places in NZ seed starting will occur in the month of October.


Helping the giant pumpkin seed so it can easily germinate is recommended.


Filed side of a giant pumpkin seed


Learn about Seed Starting Here

Days 5 - 10

Seeds Should Start Germinating

Around this time seeds should start to germinate.


If using the plastic bag mentioned on the Seed Starting Guide place the seed into seed raising mix in a pot.


Giant pumpkin seed starting to germinate

Leaf Icon used in life cycle of a giant pumpkin plant

First True Leaf Appears

This is the middle leaf found between the 2 cotyledon “leaves” which are the ones contained within the seed and not classed as true leaves.


Having this leaf present allows you to orientate the place the correct way. The vine grows opposite this leaf.


How to work out the direction your giant pumpkin vine will grow

Days 14 - 20
Dig Icon used in life cycle of a giant pumpkin plant

Transplant to Patch

Around this time it’s a bit of a balancing act. You want your seedling out growing as soon as possible. But you don’t want it to be affected by harsh conditions.


Depending on your weather and location you may need to wait a little longer. Early season protection is advisable.


Weather Icon used in life cycle of a giant pumpkin plant

Early Season Protection

In it’s early stages of growth in the patch you will want to provide early protection for the seedling.


Protection from the wind and cold overnight lows may be needed.


More info on the Early Season Protection page.

Days 60 - 70
Bee Icon used in life cycle of a giant pumpkin plant


Now is the time to pollinate the female flowers to get a pumpkin growing. Hand pollinating is the best way.


Pollinating your giant pumpkin


Pollinated giant pumpkin

DAP (Days After Pollination) Explained

The main measurement giant pumpkin growers use for time is DAP. Which means Days After Pollination.


This means no matter how many days it took to get to pollination all growers are talking about days after pollination. Which keeps things easy to compare and track.


The rest of this timeline will now talk in DAP.

20 DAP (Days After Pollination)

A lot of growers will take their first measurement of the pumpkin to estimate it’s weight on this DAP.


To learn how to estimate your giant pumpkins weight go here.


30 – 55 DAP (Days After Pollination)

During this time the pumpkin will grow the most.


You want to make sure you have good watering and your pumpkin has enough nutrients to grow as big as it can.

85 – 95 DAP (Days After Pollination)

Your pumpkins growth will slow down a lot. It will be putting on small gains and growers will want to be getting everything they can out of the plant.


Top growers are trying to get 100 – 110 days growth out of their pumpkin if they can.

110 DAP +
Pumpkin Icon used in life cycle of a giant pumpkin plant


Anytime around here is when you want to cut your pumpkin from the vine.


Think about lifting it and taking it to your weigh off event.

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