Keep your garden growing - see what to plant right now

Growing Rockmelon, also Canteloupe

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
T                 S S T

(Best months for growing Rockmelon in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 68°F and 90°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 16 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 10-16 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Sweetcorn, Sunflowers
  • Avoid growing close to: Potatoes
  • Leaves and flowers
  • Young melons

Start in small pots then transplant when no danger of frosts. Plant into a raised mound to provide good drainage and warmth. Provide plenty of water.

Ready to use when the fruit falls from the vine

In the United Kingdom start the seeds in a heated greenhouse with plenty of light.

Rockmelons may need hand pollination with a soft brush.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Rockmelon

Cut in half and scoop out and discard the seeds.
Sprinkle with some ground ginger or serve plain.

Your comments and tips

28 Nov 19, Peter Blakey (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
how do you care for the rockmelon plant the one we have have grown from scraps and have many flowers and one has a small fruit
29 Nov 19, anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
It is becoming late in the season to be growing rockies with the hot weather we are having and coming The plant will have lots of flowers, male and female (the one with the fruit on it), bees need to do their pollinating work. Only a small % of the female will develop into fruit. They need plenty of water while the fruit is growing (only takes a week or two). It takes approx. 45 days from pollination to the fruit ripening. Back off the water a bit after the fruit has grown to full size. Too much water and they will split in the hot weather.
18 Feb 19, Edith (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have a patch of garden that was covered by polythene due to illness and I planted 3 rock melons into small holes that I made. They have flourished and there are melons galore. I think the heat from the polythene must have helped. I find that the plastic does not drain the water when it rains, and I am worried that the melons will spoil against it. I have tried to lift them and put netting and wood underneath as many as I can. Can I harvest them and will they ripen when they are off the vines. I will pick them all as there is rain coming if they will ripen themselves. They are nearly ripe as I cut one and altho it was not ripe and yellow I could eat it. They are a good size. bit in fact.
19 Feb 19, mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
I don't believe they will ripen if picked unless they have started to ripen already. Rockmelons will break from the vine fairly easily when starting to ripen. A rather gentle pull and they will come away from the vine. A bit hard to tell when to pick without this sign. At this stage a good down pour of rain and they will take up heaps of water and split. Melons seem to take a long time from growing to a good size and to then ripening. I had some ripening the last 4-6 weeks and most just split or just went rotten. They are a spring crop in SE QLD Australia. Good luck.
23 Feb 19, Edith (New Zealand - temperate climate)
thankyou for your answer. The forecast was for days of rain so I snipped them off and they are in the shed which gets pretty warm. The info on them splitting in rain is valuable thankyou and I am glad I have taken the gamble and picked them as it is solid rain for days. I will put an update on if and how they ripen when it happens. thanks again.
06 Dec 18, Lorraine (Australia - temperate climate)
I have rock mellons coming up where i have buried kitchen scraps.. Should i pull them out or let them grow. I am in Ipswich Qld December 6 2018
06 Dec 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
You could let them grow - thin them out or separate them to 2-3' apart. I did this in Oct - the plants are just setting and growing fruit now. You may have to protect them later when they have fruit on from the sun. Better to plant them late August (away from frosts) or early Sept. The picking season is well under way in SE Qld now - probably finished by Xmas.
12 Nov 18, Dianne Morgan (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I live In Brisbane Australia I have a rock melon plant can I plant it now & How far do the vines go as I only have a small courtyard
13 Nov 18, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Yes try growing it - I have some which are just starting to spread now. In really good soil and plenty of water they could spread a diameter of 4m. You could move/train the vine to a smaller area.
12 Oct 18, Mary (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Where I live at Mount Bruce the temp can be cold with semi high wind is there any special care needed when tending to my rock melons
Showing 1 - 10 of 196 comments

You could let them grow - thin them out or separate them to 2-3' apart. I did this in Oct - the plants are just setting and growing fruit now. You may have to protect them later when they have fruit on from the sun. Better to plant them late August (away from frosts) or early Sept. The picking season is well under way in SE Qld now - probably finished by Xmas.

- Mike

Please provide your email address if you are hoping for a reply


All comments are reviewed before displaying on the site, so your posting will not appear immediately

Gardenate App

Put GardenGrow in your pocket. Get our app for iPhone, iPad or Android to add your own plants and record your plantings and harvests

Planting Reminders

Join 30,000+ gardeners who rely on GardenGrow. Subscribe to our free planting reminders email newsletter


Home | Vegetables and herbs to plant | Climate zones | About GardenGrow | Contact us | Privacy Policy

This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
We cannot help if you are overrun by giant slugs.