Do you love pumpkin everything? Well, you’re in luck! Pumpkins are versatile vegetables that you can use for so many different things. They’re an excellent option for gardeners of all skill levels because they’re fairly simple to grow, and if you plan it right, you can grow pumpkins in surprisingly small areas.
How many different types of pumpkins are there? There are more than 100 pumpkin genuses in the Cucurbita family with over 700 distinct species. The most common types of pumpkins fall into the pepo and moschata genus. Pumpkins come in various shapes, sizes and colors, and most types are edible. The most common color for a pumpkin is orange, but there are also white, blue, green and red varieties.
In this post, we’ll take a look at all the different types of pumpkins and how to choose the right one(s) for your garden. We’ll also answer some common questions.
Let’s get started!
All pumpkins, squash, gourds and some other garden plants are members of the Cucurbita family. According to the Missouri Botanical Garden, there are actually over 700 different types of pumpkins, and each type falls into one of five genera:
Pepo and moschata are where most of your average home garden pumpkins fall.
Types of Pumpkins: Key Distinctions
With so many pumpkin options to choose from, it can be hard to choose one that will work best in your garden.
Here are some benchmarks that distinguish the various pumpkin types from one another:
Overall Pumpkin Size
There are five size categories for pumpkins:
- Miniature: Weigh less than 2 pounds
- Small: Weigh 5-10 pounds
- Medium: Weigh 10-20 pounds
- Large: Weigh 25-35 pounds
- Giant: Weigh 50+ pounds (the Guinness World Record holder was over 2,000 pounds!)
Not surprisingly, the size of the actual pumpkin plant corresponds to the size of the fruit it produces. Mini pumpkin plants tend to produce vines less than 10 feet in length, while giant pumpkin plants can easily reach vine lengths of 30 feet.
Size is vital when you’re thinking of growing pumpkins. So, if you’re a balcony gardener or want to use a pumpkin trellis, you may wish to stick to miniature and small types. If you’ve got more space to work with, feel free to experiment with some of the larger varieties!
Pumpkin Rind Color
Most of us probably think of a big orange ball when we think of a pumpkin, and most varieties do indeed have an orange rind and flesh.
But thanks to imaginative plant breeders, we’ve also got plenty of other pumpkin colors to choose from. The blue/green varieties are some of my personal favorites in terms of looks, but there are also a wide array of stark-white pumpkins, vibrant red-orange, and soft creamy golden orange.
There are also a couple of varieties that are a true tan in color, like Grizzly Bear. And some varieties have a blend of different colors mottled/marbled together on the rind. Some plants, like the Calico Belle, can produce a variety of different colored pumpkins from a single plant, so that would be a fun surprise to see you end up with!
Pumpkin Rind Texture
All pumpkins have vertical ridges on the rind, but the depth of the ridging can vary quite a bit between types.
Some pumpkins, like Sugar Pie and Howden, have shallow ridges that produce a nearly-smooth rind. On the other hand, some types, like Jarrahadale and Musquee de Provence have dramatic, pronounced lobes.
And then there are also the fun bumpy pumpkin rinds that look like the fruit is growing warts. They’re definitely attention-getting!
The Pumpkin’s Intended Use
Most people grow pumpkins for decoration or eating, and most varieties are suitable for either use. However, the larger pumpkins and those with heavily-warted rinds are usually reserved for autumn decor.
Typically, larger pumpkins have less-flavorful flesh, and they also tend to be quite stringy. Some exceptions to this would be Long Island Cheese and Cinderella varieties, which fall into the large size category but are excellent for eating.
And if carving a fall pumpkin is on your to-do list, Jack O Lantern and Howden are a couple of great choices.
From the classic orange pumpkin to the more unusual white pumpkins, there are different types of pumpkins for everyone. Here are 31 pumpkin varieties, in all shapes and sizes, that you might encounter.
Miniature pumpkins are just what they sound like: small versions of the classic pumpkin. They’re a perfect choice for pumpkin container gardening, and as you might hope, these small pumpkins also have cute pumpkin names.
Miniature pumpkins usually take about 77-100 days to mature and are perfect for fall decorating. So if you’re looking for a unique hostess or teacher’s gift, look no further than a mini pumpkin!
Jack Be Little pumpkins are one of the most popular miniature pumpkins. These little guys are only about 4 inches in diameter and have a deep orange color. They’re perfect for roasting and make a delicious addition to any fall recipe. They grow best in warm climates and take about 80 days to mature.
Black Kat pumpkins get their name from their rind color – they’re almost jet-black. They’re small, about six inches in diameter, and have a thick, sturdy stem or handle. Black Kat pumpkins take around 77 days to mature and grow best in warm climates.
Hooligan pumpkins are perfect for the microwave. Yep, you read that right! These 3-inch pumpkins are ideal for a quick and simple snack that you can heat in the microwave.
Hooligan pumpkins have an unusual mottled orange and white color and take about 80 days to mature. As a result, they’ll grow best in warm climates with plenty of sunshine.
These pumpkins are slightly larger than miniatures and perfect for decorating and cooking. In addition, you can use small pumpkins to create cute displays or fall centerpieces.
Cannonball pumpkins get their name from their round, cannonball-like shape. They have a smooth rind texture and a vivid orange color. Cannonball pumpkins take about 90 days to mature and grow best in cool climates.
Sugar Pie pumpkins are about the same size as Cannonball but have a more oblong shape. They get their name from their sweet flavor, making them perfect for baking pies and other desserts. Plan to harvest your Sugar Pies about 100 days after planting.
Autumn Pearl pumpkins take their name from their small, pearl-like shape. These pumpkins are usually about 3-6 pounds in weight, they have a bright-orange color and have subtle lobes on the rind.
Autumn Pearl pumpkins take about 95 days to mature and grow best in cool climates. They’re perfect for creating spooky displays or Halloween decorations.
Medium pumpkins are slightly larger than small ones and can be used for decorating and cooking. They are perfect for carving jack-o-lanterns or creating fall displays.
Fairytale pumpkins are one of the most popular types of medium pumpkins. They weigh about 15 pounds and have a soft orange color, and they’re perfect for front-porch decor or roasting. Fairytale pumpkins take about 110 days to mature and grow best in warm climates.
Benchmark pumpkins are a medium type with a bright-orange rind and an average size of 12-18 inches in diameter. They’re perfect for carving jack-o-lanterns or roasting. Benchmark pumpkins take about 100 days to mature and prefer cool climates.
Jack of All Trades pumpkins are perfect for cooking. These traditionally orange pumpkins are roughly 11 inches in diameter and weigh about 15 pounds. They’re perfect for roasting, baking, or making soup. Jack of All Trades pumpkins take about 95 days to mature and grow best in warm climates.
These larger pumpkins are perfect for eye-catching decor! And not surprisingly, it usually takes longer for a pumpkin plant to produce such large fruit- the average maturity time is 115-120 days.
The Calico Belle is a flat pumpkin that’s your perfect choice if you like the look of pumpkins stacked up. At 18-24 inches in diameter, Calico Belle can be soft orange or green, white or a marbled combination of colors. They’re much more of a decorative variety, and they’re usually not used for cooking or baking.
Death Star pumpkins are wonderfully orange, 18-24 inches in diameter, and perfect for cooking. You can roast, bake, or make soup with them. Cooler climes suit them best. If your carving skills are strong with the Force, why not turn one into its namesake?
Spartacus pumpkins are dark orange and perfect for carving jack-o-lanterns or roasting. They’re 18-24 inches in diameter and like a warmer climate.
Giant pumpkins are the largest type around, and they’re perfect for setting records or making huge displays. As you’d imagine, these take a while to go from sprout to fruit – anywhere up to 150 days. Strong sunshine and space are the keys to successfully growing these huge pumpkins.
Early Giant pumpkins are, as their name suggests, the earliest type of giant pumpkin. At a massive 24-36 inches, these gorgeous, tall pumpkins take about 125 days to mature and grow best in warm climates. They’re bright orange – if the size doesn’t catch your attention, the color will.
Prizewinner Pumpkins are 24-36 inches in diameter and have a deep orange color. With the right care, Prizewinner pumpkins can reach 150 pounds! They take about 120 days to mature and grow best in cool climates.
Atlantic Giant pumpkins have a soft orange color and are the largest type of pumpkin, with some reaching over 2,000 pounds! As the largest pumpkins on record, and as you can guess, their main purpose is display, not eating! Atlantic Giant Pumpkins take about 120 days to mature and grow best in warm climates.
Perhaps orange is a bit harsh for your color scheme. Meet these 3 lovely white pumpkins.
Baby Boo pumpkins are edible mini pumpkins (only about 3 inches wide) that are white if harvested before they reach maturity. Even the flesh is white. They take about 95 days to mature.
Cotton Candy pumpkins are a medium pumpkin that is perfect for cooking. These pumpkins have sturdy handles and are 12-18 inches in diameter. They are milky white both outside and inside and are perfect for roasting, baking, or making soup.
Cotton Candy pumpkins take about 95 days to mature and grow best in warm climates.
Casper pumpkins are medium pumpkins that are perfect for decoration or eating. These friendly white pumpkins grow to be 9-12 inches in diameter and can weigh 10-16 pounds.
If you thought white pumpkins were pretty eye-catching, how about a blue-green or gray pumpkin? Here are some stunning varieties to check out.
Jarrahadale pumpkins are blue-green and orange inside – a beautiful contrast that makes them perfect for carving jack-o-lanterns. Hungry after all that carving? Don’t worry. Jarrahdales are perfect for pies, stews, and soups. They grow quickly for their size, taking about 100 days from sprout to harvest.
Medium-sized Queensland Blue pumpkins are best reserved for baking or boiling. Does anyone feel like pumpkin scones? Mmmm! They take 120 days to mature, so plan ahead to grow these tasty and productive pumpkins.
Blue Moon pumpkins are the newest variety of pumpkins on the market. They are a deep blue color and taste quite sweet. For baking pies and other sweets, they are ideal. Blue Moon pumpkins prefer cooler climates and do not like staying in hot weather for too long.
Let’s round out our rainbow of pumpkins with our can’t-miss red-orange selection.
Rouge vif d’Etampes is a French heirloom pumpkin that has a vibrant red-orange rind. It’s perfect for carving jack-o-lanterns or making pies. Rouge vif d’Etampes pumpkins take about 110 days to mature and grow best in cool climates.
Cinderella is a versatile red-orange pumpkin that can be used for any cooking while still being stylish enough for any fall display. Its flat, wide shape is perfect if you like the look of stacked pumpkins!
Now you may need your pumpkin for more than its color or size. Check out these pumpkins, which are excellent for carving.
The deep orange, medium-sized Jack-O-Lantern is the classic carving pumpkin. The flesh is thick and bright orange, too – perfect for making pies or soup. Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins mature in about 110 days and thrive in chilly areas.
Howden pumpkins are the classic Halloween pumpkin. Large and orange, they can weigh up to 30 pounds! Howden pumpkins are outstanding for carving jack-o-lanterns.
Connecticut Field pumpkins are also suitable for carving. They are a bit smaller than Howden pumpkins but have a similar shape. Connecticut Field pumpkins have a light orange color.
These pumpkins might not be the smoothest characters, but they have personality.
The Goosebumps pumpkin has unique, warty bumps all over its skin. It’s a small to medium-sized pumpkin, typically orange in color.
The Knucklehead pumpkin is a small/medium type. Its main boast is the high-contrast orange rind with green bumps scattered over the entire surface. Attention-getting for sure!
Grizzly Bear pumpkins have a tan color and large, tan bumps on their skins. This is a medium-sized pumpkin that takes about 90 days to mature.
These get their name from their shape, similar to a wheel of cheese. These medium to large-sized pumpkins are often a creamy orange in color.
Long Island Cheese pumpkins are best known for their use in pies but can be cooked any way you like. They take about 110 days to mature and can weigh up to 20 pounds.
Musquee de Provence pumpkins can weigh up to 30 pounds and have a deeper orange color. They’re perfect for roasting and make a delicious addition to any fall recipe. They mature in about 120 days and do best in warm regions.
Frequently Asked Questions about Different Types of Pumpkins
So there you have it. The sheer variety of pumpkin types out there is both exciting and overwhelming. The good news is that they all look great and most are pretty versatile, so you really can’t make a bad choice!
We want to hear from you! Do you have pumpkin tales to share? Or do you have questions about the varieties of pumpkins we mentioned? Which of these pumpkins have you used or grown?
Leave a comment below – we’d love to hear your thoughts!