So, Can Pumpkins Grow Vertically?

Pumpkins are the most popular squash out there. Whether they’re being grown for food, usually for soups and pies, or as decorations for all sorts of festive fall crafts, you will see fields and fields of these giant orange fruits every year.

young pie pumpkin plants
young pie pumpkin plants

Lots of people even grow their own and their very own gardens. But there’s just one problem with growing pumpkins at home… They are huge, and they take up a ton of room on the ground.

This space limitation can be a deal breaker for some gardeners but it does beg the question: can pumpkins be grown vertically?

Yes, pumpkins can be grown vertically as long as they are a medium to small cultivar and well supported on a sturdy trellis, arch, pallet, or other structure.

I know it sounds truly hard to believe that a massive, heavy pumpkin could be successfully grown vertically without encountering all sorts of problems, but I promise you it is true.

You’ll need to know a few tricks of the trade when it comes to vertical gardening and also make sure your structure is set and sturdy prior to germination, but if you can do that, you’ll soon have pumpkins reaching towards the sky.

I’ll tell you everything you need to know in this article…

Why Would You Grow Pumpkins Vertically in the First Place?

The first question you might have when considering this topic is “why bother?” It’s understandable: why take the extra time, effort and resources to grow pumpkins vertically when you could just grow them in a traditional row?

The answer is simple: vertical gardening saves on space and allows you better access to the pumpkins themselves.

It’s also a perk for the pumpkins since they get better airflow and enjoy improved pest resistance.

If you have limited room for a garden, or if you are trying to maximize productivity with minimal physical space, then vertical gardening is an excellent solution.

It also makes the harvesting process easier since you don’t have to bend down as far!

Aren’t Pumpkins Too Big and Heavy to Grow Vertically?

Some are, yes. Generally speaking, you will have a limitation on what types of pumpkins are suitable for vertical gardening.

If you want to try, it is best to stick with small- to medium-size varieties such as Jack-Be-Little, Baby Boo, or Munchkin.

If you attempt a larger variety such as Howden Biggie, Atlantic Giant, and Dill’s Atlantic Giant then your chances of success will be slim to say the least!

On average, the maximum size any individual pumpkin should attain when vertical gardening is 10 to 15 pounds.

Any more than that, and you’ll have a hard time slinging them, and the structure will be put to a severe test.

Consider, too, the total weight of the pumpkins you’re growing! Five 12-pound pumpkins is 60 pounds of weight your structure must support! Failures can happen!

What Kind of Structure Do You Need to Grow Pumpkins Vertically?

You can use all of the usual options for vertical gardening, but the most successful are archways made of metal, wooden posts supporting strong crossmembers, a sturdy trellis using garden netting or chicken wire, or a tepee made with bamboo poles.

You can get creative and use improvised options, just make sure anything is strong enough to support the weight of your pumpkins!

Can Pumpkins Grow On Trellises?

Yes. In fact, they do very well on trellises. Make sure the trellis is sturdy and can support the weight of the pumpkins and you should have no problems!

If attached to a wall, double-check that your fasteners are up to the job of holding the grid on the wall!

Garden netting is ideal for this purpose; just make sure there are plenty of supports suitable for slinging the fruits as they develop. More on that in just a bit…

Can Pumpkins Grow on Arches?

Yes, they sure can. I prefer growing them on arches not only for the strength, but also for the visual appeal: a decorative arch laden with pumpkins and vines is quite a sight in the fall!

Make sure your arch is firmly planted in the ground and has plenty of support, and again don’t forget to make sure you have a way to sling the pumpkins.

Can Pumpkins Grow on Arbors?

Yes, they can. Arbors work much like trellises for our purposes. Make sure your arbor is strong and suitable for slinging the pumpkins, and you will have no problems.

What Else Can be Used for Growing Pumpkins Vertically?

It is entirely possible to improvise or re-purpose other garden structures for growing pumpkins vertically. A couple of options are below, but you can use your imagination.


Pallets are the thrifty gardener’s best friend. You can use them to make a vertical, trellis-like structure suitable for growing and slinging pumpkins, and you can even remove planks or cross-members if needed.

Just make sure the basing is absolutely solid so they don’t sag or topple. That will usually spell the end of your pumpkins!


You can use nearly any kind of fencing as an impromptu trellis if it is sturdy enough. Wooden fencing, chain link, even woven or welded livestock fencing can work.

The trick is to ensure that the weight of the pumpkins won’t make the “panels” between the posts sag and then drop.

An extra post here and there and high-strength fasteners will prevent this unhappy occurrence.

You Must Sling Hefty Pumpkins to Support Them

And here’s the real trick to growing your pumpkins vertically: slinging them. As the fruits become mature and grow heavy, you must provide a way for them to hang freely without straining their stems or vines.

This is especially important for pumpkins nearing 10 or more pounds. A pillowcase, cloth strips made from old t-shirts, or even pantyhose can be used as a sling.

To sling your pumpkin, run the cloth beneath the pumpkin and tie it off on either end, almost like a little hammock.

It should cup and support the pumpkin while allowing it room to grow freely. Slings will need to be adjusted periodically as the fruits get larger.

How Should You Start Pumpkins for Vertical Growth?

Here’s the fun part, and also the easy part! All you need to do to get your pumpkins growing vertically is to plant them like you normally would right at the base of the trellis, arbor, or other structure.

Leave only 12″ or so between each seed, accounting for about how much weight your structure can bear. Then see to their requirements as normal and expect them to sprout in about 7 to 10 days.

Once they do, those creeping vines should grab hold of your structure naturally. You should always help them along by wrapping them around the slats or posts as needed, always guiding it upward.

Once the pumpkins start to develop properly, implement slinging for best results, and adjust as needed.

After that, you should just take care of them normally. Pumpkins need plenty of water, especially as they mature.

You can also supplement with a balanced fertilizer for an extra boost, but always follow instructions for application.

And that’s it! With some support structures in place and giving your plants a little training to climb, you will have no problem growing pumpkins vertically. This might be your new favorite way to grow them.

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