Orange pumpkins are quintessentially to Fall, to decorate your home, and used in the kitchen. But other colors and shapes of pumpkins are becoming more and more popular each year! White pumpkins, in particular, are seen on many front porches. They add contrast without increasing visual clutter. However, white pumpkins are still more "boutique" than orange pumpkins and are usually pricier. So, why not simply grow your own?
What Is A White Pumpkin?
Pumpkins come in various shapes and sizes, but for the longest time, the various cultivars were primarily developed with baking and cooking purposes in mind. Sugar pumpkins have sweet flesh and are best for pies, for example. Others would have thicker rinds for roasting. It wasn't until the early 2000s that pumpkin varieties began to be cultivated specifically for the outward appearance of the pumpkin. Now, pumpkins are to be sought out for their ornamental purposes. There are various shades of orange pumpkins (even very pale orange!), white pumpkins, and green pumpkins. There are bumpy pumpkins and squat, flat pumpkins, pumpkins with pronounced ribs, and pumpkins with a smooth rind.
White pumpkins are pale-colored pumpkins bred as an albino breed by scientists and pumpkin growers for years. The albinos are sometimes referred to as Ghost pumpkins, Snowball pumpkins, Luminas, or Caspers.
Are White Pumpkins Edible?
Yes! White pumpkins are simply the albino cultivar of the typical bright orange pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo. You can use a white pumpkin for everything you would use with a traditional orange pumpkin. White pumpkin is perfect for making pumpkin soup, pumpkin puree, pumpkin pie, and so much more.
White pumpkins vs. bright orange pumpkins
They are nutritionally very similar and have a low-calorie count. Since they have less carotid synthesis due to their pale color, white pumpkins have fewer vitamins than orange pumpkins.
Different White Pumpkin Cultivars
White pumpkins, sometimes called moon pumpkins, are easy to grow from seed, but it doesn't hurt to make sure that you're getting the right kind of seed! Here are a few cultivars to keep an eye out for.
Baby Boo Pumpkins
Baby Boo pumpkins are small and somewhat flat. They usually only reach 2 to 3 inches in diameter and produce an overabundance of seeds.
Casper pumpkins are smooth pumpkins without the pronounced ribbing that can make pumpkin carving difficult! They are a variation on the sugar pumpkin, so they're pretty sweet. They have a particularly long growing time - 155 days.
Cotton Candy Pumpkins
Cotton candy is a slightly larger variety, making nice round pumpkins of about 10 pounds and 1o inches in diameter. They have shallow ribbing.
Full Moon Pumpkins
Full Moon pumpkins are huge! Sometimes called giant ghost pumpkins, these giant white pumpkins can reach up to 90 pounds in size!
Lumina pumpkins are another sweet variety, but it is flat rather than round. This pumpkin works well in most recipes and reaches about fifteen pounds.
Crystal Star Pumpkins
Crystal Star is a unique variety in that they won't turn yellow with age. They are another squat, flat pumpkin, growing to 35 pounds. They're good for both cooking and carving.
White Ghost Pumpkin
White Ghost pumpkins are a variety that produces smaller pumpkins of irregular shape and a noticeably thicker rind. This makes them difficult to cook with but great for outdoor decorations.
Shiver pumpkins are another small, round pumpkin with a dark green stem. They typically weigh about 2 pounds each and make them the perfect fall decor for your home.
Silver Moon Pumpkins
Silver Moon pumpkin is a small-medium pumpkin with a bit of silver-colored on the outside. While the outside is blue-white, the inside is rich, dark orange.
Valenciano pumpkins are medium-sized, heirloom, flattened with pronounced ribs. This character made them a unique ornamental choice for decorating and carving Jack-O-Lantern.
How To Grow A White Pumpkin
Pumpkins are one of the easiest vegetables to grow, but they take up a lot of space and require a long growing period.
When To Plant
Pumpkins should be planted outdoors after the risk of frost has passed. Most varieties take 90 days to grow but check the information on your seed packet to be certain. Then, count back based on the average first frost date for your growing zone. If you plant them too late, their growth will be stunted by an early frost! Typically, plants with a long growing period are started indoors while there's still a threat of a spring frost, so as to give them a head-start when they are moved to the garden. Sadly, pumpkins do not transplant well. You'll need to plant them outdoors just as soon as the daytime temperatures stay above 70 degrees.
Where To Plant
Choose a planting site that has well-draining soil with good water retention. White pumpkins don't like either too much water or drying out. They'll need a moderate amount of sun less than their orange pumpkin counterparts. Some cultivars need quite a bit of shade to keep their white hue from turning yellow. Plant them in a spot that gets about 8 hours of sun each day. They'll also need a lot of legroom! Pumpkins are vines, and a vine can take up more than a 6 square foot plot of soil in your garden!
How To Plant
White pumpkins, like all pumpkins, should be planted in a mound. This helps prevent water-logging by encouraging excess moisture to move downwards, away from the seeds. Use a hoe to pull up soil into a mound about a foot high and 18 inches across. Flatten the top of the mound, and make 3 to 5 holes spread evenly around the flat top by sticking your index finger into the soil. Drop two white pumpkin seeds into each hole, and then cover them.
Pollinating And Harvesting White Pumpkins
Squash plants pollinate differently from other plants. Usually, each flower on a plant has both a pistil and a stamen, regardless of the plant. Squash flowers don't! They'll have either one or the other. Now, you can let insect pollinators take care of your pollinating for you, but to get the maximum harvest out of your work, it's beneficial to help nature along. Find a male pumpkin flower - it will only have a stamen. Pull the petals back, and then use the stamen to pollinate the female pumpkin flowers. Only pollinated female flowers will develop into a white pumpkin!
White pumpkins should be harvested as soon as they ripen. Orange pumpkins can stay on their vines longer, but bright white pumpkins will start to turn yellow. Not sure if your pumpkins are ready? Flick the pumpkin with your finger and listen for a hollow sound - that sound means that it's ready to go. You can also check by pressing your fingernail into the skin. If the skin is firm and doesn't budge, your pumpkin is ripe. If you want to store your pumpkins for cooking throughout the winter, store them in a cool, dark room - they'll last for several months.
How to eat white pumpkins
You can enjoy eating white pumpkins just like you would with traditional ones or other hard winter squash. You will need to refrigerate pumpkin innards as soon as it is cut open to prevent bacterial development or fungal growth.
The seeds of the pumpkins are edible, and you will get a ton of seeds from one pumpkin. You can scoop out the seeds, wash, and bake to your liking. Unlike the other pumpkins, white pumpkin seeds are a bit sweeter.