Watermelon, especially ripe kinds, is a fruit that nearly everyone enjoys during the hot summer months. They originate in Africa and need a hot climate and a long growing season. Watermelons thrive in warm climates with extended growing seasons because of the ample time of warm weather they require. Shorter-season cultivars and seed-starting inside or from a nursery are the keys to success when producing watermelons in more excellent areas. From planting to harvesting, watermelons typically take between 70 and 100 days.

There are occasions, though, when watermelon plants experience difficulties. For most gardeners, one of the frustrating challenges is dealing with watermelon vines that die off. There is urgency in finding a solution to the problem plaguing your watermelon plant. By reading this guide, you will be able to know, Why Is My Watermelon Vine Dying?.

Why Is My Watermelon Vine Dying? : Guide to Save from Dying

Let’s start,

Probably the most common problem that gardeners face is watermelon vine dying. The only way to effectively remedy your plant’s death is to identify and treat the underlying reasons.

What causes affect the dying watermelon vine? 

Nutrition deficiencies, soil deficiencies, lack of water, pest or diseases, and natural aging are the most prevalent causes of watermelon plant death. We’ll go over a few frequent causes and some possible remedies.

1. Time of watermelons planted

It recommends that watermelon plants have at least 100 days of warm weather for fruit to mature and be ready for harvest. There is a correlation between temperature and plant growth; thus, planting watermelon vines at the wrong time can cause the vine to perish.

How to solve it?

You should plant them 100 days in advance when harvesting in mid to late summer.

However, this length of the growing season is not typical in all regions. Growing watermelons successfully in these climates often requires starting seedlings indoors two to four weeks before moving them outside.

This way, the watermelon plants can begin their growing season early, regardless of the weather outside. When doing so, we recommend using biodegradable containers to ease the transplanting process.

2. Lack of Sunlight

Sunlight is essential for the growth of these exceptional watermelons. The melon plants require six to eight hours of daily sun exposure for optimal growth. Not understanding this will lead to issues with development, such as a vine that dies.

How to solve it?

The best place to plant watermelons is in a spot with at least eight hours of sunlight per day. Don’t put them where they’ll shade by a building or other plants and trees.

Consider relocating your watermelons to a sunnier spot if they appear to be dying from lack of sunlight. You might also try removing any obstructions to the plants’ access to sunlight.

3. Nitrogen Deficiency 

Plants can acquire some of the nutrients they require from the soil but also benefit from receiving supplemental nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus.

Lacking these macronutrients causes premature leaf drop and ultimately plant death.

Old leaves are becoming yellow, stunted plant growth, and, in extreme situations, necrosis is all indicators of a nitrogen deficiency.

How to solve it?

Check the macronutrient content of the soil by sending in samples. Manure the land. You can plant nitrogen-fixing rhizomes or peas in between rows of watermelons. Green revolution high NPK ratio fertilizers can also use.

4. Inconsistent Watering

Hotter temperatures are ideal for growing watermelons (more on that later). It necessitates copious amounts of water for optimal development and health.

For the plant to thrive, the soil must be kept moist. However, roots could decay in the wet ground in the area.

There are a few warning signs that the watermelon plant will die, including fruit swelling, decreased flavor, rotting roots, and browning of the leaf tips.

How to solve it?

Assessing the entire garden’s health before you water the watermelons is vital. A watermelon plant must water most frequently while the fruit is still small, yet this is still in the early stages of plant growth.

Drip irrigation is an efficient method for watering plants. The grounds should spray with water regularly to remove dirt and fungus.

When the season’s rains come down hard, it’s best to wait a few days before turning on the sprinklers again. If water cannot flow freely across the land, you can create a drain in the ground to help it along.

How often do watermelons need to water? 

From the time of planting watermelons until the first fruits appear, watering is crucial. To develop, bloom, and produce fruit, melon plants require 1–2 inches of water every week. To avoid having soil become soggy, keep it moist.

5. Pests/ Insects Attack

Some pests are as important a concern as some illnesses. Some insects are widespread plant pests, while others are more commonly associated with watermelons.

How do Spider Mites affect dying watermelon vine?

One other prevalent pest of watermelon plants is spider mites. The feeding damage they do to watermelon leaves is noticeable as little yellow dots. Small, thin webs are another telltale sign of their presence.

How to solve it?

Spray neem oil on the watermelons regularly until they are healthy again.

How does Fusarium of Wilt affect dying watermelon vine?

Watermelon leaves on individual plants wilt due to Fusarium wilt. The entire plant may perish. Fusarium wilt of watermelon also causes lesions on the lower parts of stems.

How to solve it? 

The only fungicide approved to stop Fusarium wilt on watermelon is Proline (prothioconazole). It does not recommend in South Carolina because most field tests on naturally infested soil showed that it did not work.

How do Leaf Miners affect dying watermelon vine?

As their name implies, leaf miners enjoy consuming and excavating watermelon leaves for their food. White streaks and splotches may appear on the leaves due to this. Happily, this is not usually detrimental to watermelon plants.

How to solve it?

You can always pick off the afflicted leaves if it bothers you.

How do Aphids affect dying watermelon vine?

As a general rule, gardeners try to avoid situations where aphids might be present. They’re extremely little, colorful, and destructive to watermelons. Small discolored areas and a sticky material are left behind after they consume watermelon leaves, which can attract other pests.

How to solve it?

Aphids can eliminate without the use of harmful pesticides. If the aphid problem persists, you can try spraying the plant with water or using a spray containing horticultural neem oil.

Spray the plants with a solution of white oil and dish soap. To put it another way: this should assist smother the pest. In another 15 days, repeat the operation once or twice.

To finish, splash water over the plants to clean them. Be sure the water soaks through to the leaves’ undersides.

How do Cucumber Beetles affect the dying watermelon vine?

Cucumber beetles are notorious for their open-feeding damage to watermelon leaves and blooms. Once watermelon plants reach maturity and produce fruit, this isn’t a significant problem. However, if the watermelon beetles are feasting on the blossoms of immature plants, this can be a problem.

How to solve it?

If you notice any beetles, you can spray them with neem oil or pick them off by hand.

6. Weed Growth

In addition to competing for soil nutrients, weeds can stunt watermelon growth. Therefore, keeping the area around your watermelon plants free of weeds is crucial.

The watermelons you’ve been working so hard on could not get any love from the sun if the weeds around them are too tall. In addition, they provide an ideal habitat for pests, which can then hide there and spread disease.

How to solve it?

If you want healthy watermelon plants, you need to do some weeding now and then. Mulching the area surrounding your watermelon plants is an excellent way to keep weeds at bay.

If you spread an inch of mulch over the top of the soil, you can significantly reduce the difficulty of weeding around your watermelons. In addition, it will aid in regulating soil moisture, making watermelon plants even more content.

7. Incorrect Temperature

Watermelons thrive in hot and humid environments. Intense sunlight and plenty of water allow them to swell to their maximum size and sweetness.

Watermelons thrive in temperatures between 65°F and 95°F (18°C and 35°C), with warmer conditions being more common as the growing season progresses. Watermelon plants are sensitive to temperature and may die if the weather is too cold (below 65 °F/18 °C) or too hot (beyond 95 °F/35 °C) for an extended period.

How to solve it?

Remember to plant watermelons when the soil temperature is between 70°F and 80°F (20°C and 26°C ). Once again, you may always start watermelon seedlings indoors before transplanting them outside if this is too late in the season for you.

8. Diseases

When cultivating watermelons, it’s essential to keep an eye out for a few specific diseases. Several are widespread garden pests, while others are watermelon-only ailments. Keep an eye out for conditions and be prepared to deal with them if they show up.

How does Verticillium Wilt affect dying watermelon vine?

The illness manifests itself after the fruit has formed on the plants. Older leaves initially show signs of the disease as yellow wedges, which progress to brown sectors. The wilt and collapse of the crown leave spread from vine to vine. Individual vines may wilt before the entire plant succumbs to wilt, a characteristic symptom of the disease.

How to solve it?

Transferring soil on implements across new fields does not recommend, as this could bring verticillium wilt. Locations that have a record of Verticillium wilt should avoid. If you rotate your crops, don’t plant watermelons near cotton, peanuts, or potatoes.

How does Powdery Mildew affect dying watermelon vine?

Watermelon plants are particularly susceptible to the debilitating effects of powdery mildew, which attacks the plant leaves. The leaves will become covered in a white powder and finally wilt and die.

How to solve it?

While neem oil is helpful, so has merely improved the airflow to your watermelons. DIY Milk Spray can make, and they work as a natural fungicide.

How does Anthracnose affect dying watermelon vine?

Because anthracnose is a fungus, it can be present in plant seeds before planting. Watermelon seeds can protect from the fungus by soaking them in water heated to 120 degrees for about 20 minutes before sowing.

Tiny dots on foliage or fruits are the first sign of anthracnose. However, as time passes, these spots get large, darken to gray or black, and sometimes even cause the watermelons to sink.

How to solve it?

Rotating planting places and spraying watermelon plants with horticultural neem oil can help eliminate the fungus.

How does Gummy Stem Blight affect dying watermelon vine?

Last but not least, gummy stem blight causes black, wrinkled blotches on leaves and dark, sunken places on stems and watermelons. It doesn’t take much moisture for a watermelon plant to wilt and die.

How to solve it?

When symptoms occur, use an organic copper fungicide to treat the problem.

If you have a watermelon that has become infected, the best thing to do is to cut out the infected areas as soon as possible. Complete plant removal may require in some cases. You don’t want the sickness to spread to the rest of your garden.

How does Bacterial Fruit Blotch affect dying watermelon vine?

Fruit blotch caused by bacteria is most common in young watermelon plants but can harm established plants of any age. Water-soaked areas appear and eventually become necrotic. The rinds may crack and leak a yellowish goo.

How to solve it?

When symptoms first occur, use a fungicide like this organic copper one.

How does Downy Mildew of Cucurbits affect dying watermelon vine?

Diseases caused by the fungus Pseudoperonospora Cubensis include downy mildew. This ailment primarily affects watermelon leaves and is brought on by rainy conditions.

Even though watermelon leaves are the only target of downy mildew attacks, the disease can still be detrimental since it weakens the plant and reduces harvests. Leaf spots start yellow, then become brown, and finally reveal purple spores on the underside.

How to solve it?

It is better first to reduce the water used for irrigation. Wait till the weather improves, and then apply a Bordeaux mixture or other organic fungicide. Infections like these respond well to Neem oil.

If the problem persists, regularly spray a chemical fungicide such as mancozeb or chlorothalonil on the leaves underside.

9. Poor Soil Condition

Your watermelon plants may progressively wither and die with poor soil quality. When soil is deficient in nutrients, plants cannot absorb those nutrients. Growth may be a stunt. So, your plants will die.

Watermelon plants can also stunt very compact or rocky soil, reducing yield. If planting watermelon seeds in poor soil, the plants may take longer to mature. A similar effect can occur with watermelon vines over time.

How to solve it?

Loamy, slightly sandy, well-drained soil is ideal for growing watermelons. Soil with too much clay and poor drainage can be problematic for them. Grow watermelons in soil with a pH of 6.0 to 7.5 (“slightly acidic to neutral”).

When planting, amend the soil with compost, seaweed, or old manure. Watermelons require nutrient-rich soil to thrive.

10. Overcrowded Plants

Planting many of these vines close to one another is a bad idea. The exact distance between watermelon vines is unknown. Watermelon plants may perish if this happens. So, remember that the distance between each watermelon plant is crucial.

How to solve it?

To harvest a watermelon, you’ll need a sizable plot of land because these plants tend to sprawl. They need to be spaced between three and six feet apart on hills, depending on the spread of your particular type.

Plants should space about a foot apart within each slope. Planting watermelons too closely together might lead to competition for light and space above and below ground.

11. Age of Plant

As we age, the rate at which our cells and tissues renew themselves slows considerably. Slowly but surely, it stops, and the plant withers and dies.

Can I save a dying watermelon vine?

Reviving a dying watermelon plant requires first pinpointing the cause of death. The first and most vital step in stopping the watermelon vine death spiral is identifying its cause. If the vine is well-cared for, new, healthy leaves will emerge to replace the old ones.

After identifying the cause, a solution can implement. Your plant will not recover if damaged beyond repair. Dying plants caused by viruses or fungi are difficult to bring back to life.

What are the caring tips to save a dying watermelon vine?

There are five critical life-saving guidelines to follow. Keep reading to save your watermelon plants.

Why Is My Watermelon Vine Dying? : Guide to Save from Dying

1. Water plants regularly.

From the time of planting until the first fruits appear, watering is crucial. Melon plants require 1 to 2 inches of water every week while actively developing, flowering, and fruiting.

Soil should keep moist but not soaked. In the morning, water the vine’s roots but not the foliage, and don’t water from above. If the fruit is developing, you can cut back on watering. Melon grown in dry conditions tends to have more excellent sugar content.

2. Keep plants receiving enough sunlight.

Watermelons need to be grown in direct sunshine to reach their maximum level. Melons need a lot of sunlight to produce their sugars, although the plants can take some shade, especially in hotter climes. The quantity and size of the fruits will suffer in overly shaded situations.

3. Feed with the best fertilizers.

The watermelon plant needs a lot of nutrients to thrive. Before planting, give your soil a good dose of organic amendments. Slow-release organic fertilizer should use at the beginning of the growing season if your soil is deficient in organic matter. Watermelons benefit from a midseason side-dress of compost to maintain consistent growth.

Early feeding with a fertilizer higher in nitrogen than phosphate and potassium will promote leaf and vine development using chemical fertilizer. However, the second application of a low-nitrogen fertilizer that promotes blooming and fruiting should make once flowering has begun.

4. Use rich soil to plant.

Watermelons can thrive in practically any type of fertile, well-drained soil. The ideal soil pH ranges from slightly acidic (6.0) to neutral (6.6). Since these plants are heavy eaters, recommend that the ground heavily amends with plenty of organic matter before planting.

5. Check humidity and temperature.

Temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and up are ideal for growing watermelons. If the soil stays moist enough, it’ll thrive in wet or dry climates.

6. Apply mulch around plants.

Mulch should apply around the watermelon vine to prevent the soil from drying out and the proliferation of weeds. If weeds appear near your seedlings, pull them out, but be careful not to damage the young plants’ roots. Mulch can also use to keep ripening fruits from spoiling when placed underneath them.

Growing conditions for watermelons are similar to those of other warm-season fruits and vegetables.

If it gets hotter than where you live, try spreading straw mulch under your plants. More heat will be radiated away from the mulch if it is darker in color. Reducing water loss through evaporation and keeping the soil moist is better; mulch should apply liberally around plants.

7. Correct Spacing

Space watermelon plants are at least 3 feet apart to allow for their vines to spread out. Floating row covers should use over newly planted seedlings to keep pests at bay and retain heat in the immediate plant area.

5 Best Types of Watermelons

In a garden, there are five top choices for plants. Grow and enjoy the fresh taste of your own garden watermelons.

1. Crimson Sweet

There’s a good reason why the open-pollinated heritage ‘Crimson Sweet’ is the go-to for so many green thumbs: it’s tasty, prolific, and resistant to disease. The watermelon has a deep red, solid flesh with a smooth texture and tiny, dark seeds.

2. Sugar Baby

‘Sugar Baby’ is a dwarf icebox variety that produces heavily and does well in containers or other confined spaces. The fruits are tiny, perfectly spherical orbs of sweetness. Growers of all skill levels recommend this cultivar because its rind is resistant to cracking. A further benefit is that plants are not easily affected by blight.

3. All sweet

This variety is known for its enormous, rectangular fruits that weigh between 25 and 30 pounds and have skin striped with dark and light green. Fruits mature to a length of 17-19 inches and a diameter of 7 inches, with tasty, bright red, firm flesh or dark brown seeds.

4. Mini Love

Watermelons from the ‘Mini Love’ hybrid grow to be the perfect size for a single meal. This cultivar’s crack-resistant rinds and delicious flavor made it the 2017 All-America Selections champion in the edible category. The fruits can weigh anything from three to six pounds, usually six of them per plant.

5. Sweet Beauty 

These fruits are a six- to seven-pound icebox type. Watermelons, small and rectangular, are marked with alternating dark and light green stripes. Reddish-pink flesh has a mild sweetness and a pleasant crunch.

Watch how to grow watermelon plant – From seeds to harvest | Video

Top 5 FAQs & answers related to Why is my watermelon vine dying

What is the best fertilizer for watermelons? 

Start watermelon plants off well by treating them with a nitrogen-based fertilizer. In contrast, you should switch to phosphate and potassium-based fertilizer after the plant blossoms. It is good to grow to their optimum level; watermelons need plenty of potassium and phosphorus.

Is it okay to pinch-off watermelon flowers?

When watermelons show signs of ripening, some people believe cutting off the vine’s new branches will force the plant to focus on ripening the fruit. New evidence disproves this. It will assist the remaining larger fruits in ripening before the first frost.

Can watermelon plants benefit from eggshells?

Composted food scraps can make from a wide variety of food waste, from celery to egg shells. The rich nutrient content of the food leftovers makes them ideal for cultivating a watermelon.

Why does the baby watermelon vine dying? 

Young fruits turn black, wilt, and die from anthracnose, a disease that attacks the foliage of the watermelon vine before moving on to the fruit; older fruits develop circular lesions 1/4 to 2 1/2 inches in diameter that proceed from dark green to black and ooze.

Is Epsom Salt good for watermelons?

For sweeter watermelons and cantaloupes, sprinkle a mixture of 6 1/2 tablespoons Epsom salts and 3 1/2 tablespoons borax in 5 gallons of water when the plant begins vining and again when little, 1-inch melons develop. Fertilize your pepper plants by burying a half-opened pack of book matches.


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