When you think of the taste of summer, you think of different watermelon varieties. There’s few things that are more satisfactory than biting into a ripe slice of watermelon on a hot day. It may surprise you to learn that watermelon comes in a host of more varieties than you get in the traditional supermarket, and many of them are tastier.
No matter if you’re in the mood to start a seed-spitting contest or if you want to find the juiciest watermelon available, we’ve got you covered. We’re going to go over a range of taste watermelon varieties below, and you can grow several right in your own garden this year.
Four Watermelon Categories
All watermelon varieties have a mouth-watering, distinct, sugary flavor with a flesh that gets encased in a solid rind. Some types of watermelon have a higher sugar content and are much sweeter while some have a different coloring on the flesh and rind.
Most people picture the dark green, oblong watermelon that has a pretty ruby red pulp, but you can find watermelon varieties with yellow, light pink, or orange flesh. The size can vary from a smaller 5 pounds up to 200 pounds or more. You can choose from four main types of watermelon, and we’ll outline them below for you.
1. Icebox Watermelon
Many types of icebox watermelon are specifically bred to feed a small family or one person, and they’re much smaller at 5 to 15 pounds max. Watermelon varieties in this category include Tiger Baby and Sugar Baby. Sugar Baby watermelon is very sweet, and it has a very dark green rind. It came to the market in 1956. Tiger Baby watermelons mature in roughly 75 days and have a golden color.
2. Picnic Watermelons
The Picnic watermelon variety tends to be larger at 16 to 45 pounds when they’re fully mature. As the name suggests, they’re perfect for placing on a picnic table with a small gathering. This watermelon is a traditional round or oblong shape, and they have a darker green rind with a red, sweet flesh. They mature in roughly 85 days.
3. Seedless Watermelons
Seedless watermelons came to the market in the early 1990s. Successive breeding in recent years has allowed breeders to create a seedless watermelon that is as sweet as seeded types. However, low seed germination still plagues this watermelon variety. Growing seedless watermelon is more complex than planting a seed and waiting for it to germinate. You have to keep the environment at a constant 90°F until the seeds sprout.
4. Yellow/Orange Watermelons
Finally, we have yellow or orange watermelon varieties. As the name suggests, the flesh is an orange or yellow hue. They’re usually rounded and can be seeded or seedless.
24 Watermelon Varieties
Now that you know the four main types of watermelon, we’re going to break down 24 great watermelon varieties for you to try. You may have some trouble finding a few at the store, but you’ll be able to source seeds and grow them in your garden.
Allsweet is a watermelon variety that will give you the classic look of a traditional picnic watermelon. It has excellent disease resistance, and it’s suited to longer growing seasons. This watermelon variety will give you oblong fruits that weigh between 25 and 30 pounds each, and they have a dark green skin with light green stripes. It offers firm, bright red, and sweet flesh. The fruits can get up to 7 inches in diameter and 17 to 19 inches long at full maturity with dark brown seeds.
You may hear this watermelon called All Sweet, and it’s an open-pollinated cultivar. In turn, you can save the seeds from this crop and grow them next spring. The plants will reach between 15 and 24 inches tall, and the vines spread up to 9 inches, so they need space to sprawl out. They’re resistant to anthracnose and fusarium wilt, and they’re ready to harvest between 90 and 104 days after you sow them.
2. Big Tasty
This seedless hybrid watermelon variety packs a lot of flavor in a small package. It tops out at six to eight pounds, and they are only 10 to 12 inches in diameter when they’re ready for you to harvest them. The fruit is oval or round-shaped with pale greenish-gray skin that encases a firm, crisp, bright red flesh with a lot of flavor. When compared to 50 other watermelon varieties, this one came out the winner in the Burpee’s taste test.
This cultivar has a reputation for having a very deep flavor, and it holds the flavor much longer after you cut into it. So, it’s a great choice for people who tend to stick it in the refrigerator or set it out in the kitchen instead of eating it all in one sitting. As a seedless watermelon, you’ll have to plant with a seeded pollinator cultivar. The plants will get between 15 and 24 inches tall and spread out between 60 and 72 inches. You can harvest in 85 days.
3. Black Diamond Yellow Belly
This watermelon variety is a very high yielding, heirloom, open pollinated cultivar that gives you slightly oblong fruit. It has darker blackish-blue rinds that are bright yellow where they touch the ground, and the fruit will give you a very deep red flesh with a great texture when you bite into it.
Generally speaking, this watermelon variety can weigh between 25 and 35 pounds, but if you extend the growing season and meet their needs, they can easily get up to 75 pounds each. You may hear them called the Superior Black Diamond or the Yellow Belly Black Diamond, and this cultivar has a thicker rind that makes storage an excellent choice. The plants come with larger leaves that help protect the fruits from scorching. When the bellies on this watermelon turn a bright yellow color, this is an indicator that they’re ripe. They’ll be ready to harvest in roughly 90 days when you plant them in partial shade.
4. Blacktail Mountain
If your zone tends to be much colder at night, even during the midsummer months, this watermelon variety can be a great fit. They were originally developed in northern Idaho, and it’s an open-pollinated, short season cultivar that will do well with cooler nighttime temperatures. It will give you fruit that weighs between 6 and 15 pounds, and it should fit nicely in your refrigerator. The fruits are rounded with a dark green rind and a red flesh.
If the first frost of the season tends to come early in your planting zone, you can pick them before they’re 100% ripe and ripen them in storage. You can keep them for up to two months. They’re great for northern areas with cool nights, and they mature in roughly 70 to 75 days.
5. Bush Sugar Baby
If you’re after a bush watermelon variety that’s great for smaller areas or to grow in containers, this one is a great choice. On average, this plant will produce two 12-pound watermelons per plant. It’s an icebox type of watermelon that is small enough to pop into the refrigerator to store, and it produces a dark green, round fruit that has scarlet coloring on the flesh.
This plant tends to get between 15 to 24 inches tall with a 3 ½-foot long vine, and it has excellent resistance to cooler weather conditions. It also withstands sunburn, cracking, and drought well. It’s ready to harvest in roughly 80 days.
6. Carolina Cross #183
This is a giant watermelon variety, and some growers report getting a finished fruit that weighs well over 200 pounds when they harvest it. The range on the seed packets for the weight starts at 50 pounds and goes up to 200. So, it’s not unusual to get huge yields under the correct conditions.
Also, these heirloom watermelon varieties aren’t just for show. When you grow them to full maturity, the red flesh is very good. They have an oblong shape to them, and it has a light green rind with dark green striping that is very narrow. The plants will get between 15 and 24 inches high with a spread of 96 to 120 inches. They also grow quickly for the size, and they’re ready to harvest in 100 days.
7. Charleston Gray
This distinguished heirloom watermelon variety will give you big cylindrical fruit that has uniform grayish-green skin. You may find it marketed as Charleston Grey, and it’s a picnic cultivar that is open-pollinated. You’ll get a very sweet red flesh that is fiberless and crisp, and the hard rinds on this fruit make storage easy.
This watermelon variety usually tops out at 25 to 35 pounds a piece when they’re ready for you to harvest them, so you have to have a plan on what you’re going to do with them when you plant. The plants will reach between 15 and 24 inches tall, and you want to thin them out to 36 inches apart because they will spread out between 72 and 96 inches. This plant is resistant to anthracnose and fusarium wilt and sunburn. You can harvest them in 85 days.
8. Cream of Saskatchewan
This watermelon variety is very rare, and it’s an heirloom cultivar with white flesh that was originally developed in Ukraine. Due to this fact, it grows very well in northern climates. You’ll get smaller rounded melons that weigh between 4 and 10 pounds, and they can get larger in warmer climates. The thin rinds are a very light green color with darker green striping.
The cream-colored flesh is very sugary-sweet too. The plants will get between 6 and 12 inches tall and produce 10 foot long vines at full maturity. They do well in cooler weather, and you can harvest them in 75 to 85 days.
9. Crimson Sweet
This picnic-type, open-pollinated heirloom watermelon variety is one of the top choices for many gardens for a good reason. Not only is it resistant to diseases, but it’s also productive and delicious. This round, big plant weighs in at 25 to 35 pounds each, and it has dark green stripes that contrast nicely with the light green rind. The flesh is firm and red, and it has a finer texture with very dark, small seeds.
You’ll get a higher sugar content with this watermelon variety, and this makes it so sweet. The fruits come with thicker rinds, and they hold up very well to handling. The plants grow quickly, and they can reach heights of 15 to 24 inches with a six to eight foot spread. They’re resistant to wilt, and you’ll harvest them in roughly 80 days.
10. Florida Giant
The Florida Giant watermelon variety will give you a round fruit that weighs between 30 and 40 pounds, but it can get up to 50 pounds under the right growing conditions. It was first introduced in the 1940s, and it has a very dark green rind with red flesh. If you want to get this watermelon as sweet as possible, make sure that it’s 100% ripe before you harvest it. This is roughly 90 days from planting.
11. Georgia Rattlesnake
This watermelon variety gives you oblong, large fruits with dark green stripes and a very light green skin. For some gardeners, this resembles rattlesnake skin. It’s an heirloom, picnic-type watermelon that can get up to two feet long and weigh roughly 30 pounds at full maturity. The thin rind gives way to bright pink flesh. It’s also open-pollinated, so you want to save the seeds to plant next spring. They spread up to 96 inches and get up to 24 inches tall, and they’re ready to harvest at 90 days.
12. Gold in Gold
This yellow-fleshed, early maturing hybrid watermelon variety was 2017’s All-American Selections winner. It’s an icebox-sized watermelon that comes with bright gold flesh and two-toned gold and yellow rinds. The flavor is also a drawing point for this fruit. The melons come with a very high sugar content with a pleasantly crisp texture, and the fruits are an oval shape and weigh between 11 and 16 pounds at full maturity. So, they’ll fit nicely on a platter on your kitchen island.
This plant will get up to 20 inches high at full maturity and have vines that spread out to 10 feet. It has good generalized disease resistance, and the rinds are strong but thin while still resisting cracking. You can harvest between 80 and 84 days from planting.
13. Golden Midget
This personal-sized watermelon variety is one that is very eye-catching when you plant it in your garden. This open-pollinated fruit has rinds that turn a pretty gold color when they’re ripe, and this makes it easy to know when to harvest. The rounded fruits are very small, and they weigh in at three pounds each. They have dark seeds with a sweet light pink flesh, and this is a very early-season cultivar that’s great to grow in areas that have shorter summers. The fruit is ready to go in 70 days.
14. Klondike Blue Ribbon Striped
This heirloom, open-pollinated watermelon variety has been a favorite in gardens since it was first introduced in the early 1900s. It has a very sweet taste to it. It’s a picnic variety that gives you oblong-shaped melons that get between 20 and 30 pounds at full maturity. Fruits have tough but thin rinds with dark and light green striping. The flesh is a bright crimson color, crisp, and it comes with a higher sugar content to make it very sweet.
This plant is resistant to anthracnose, fusarium wilt, and sunburn. Even though the rinds are on the thin side with this watermelon, they do well with handling. It’s usually ready to harvest between 80 and 90 days.
15. Little Darling
This early-maturing hybrid gives you oblong fruit that is on the smaller side at five to seven pounds each, and it has darker green rinds. This personal-sized fruit has a very high sugar content, and this makes the red flesh very sweet. The vines on this cultivar are only four or five feet long, and it’ll produce melons that you can harvest between 65 and 70 days. Every plant will give you between three and four fruits.
16. Mini Love
This compact but high-yielding hybrid watermelon variety will give you single-serving sized fruit that has a round shape. In 2017, this watermelon won the All-American Selections award in the edible category. It won for both the flavor and the crack-resistant rinds. The fruits weigh between three and six pounds, and you can get up to six melons on each plant. The flesh is a deep red color and it has a higher sugar content. This makes it a very juicy treat.
The vines on this plant are between three and four feet long, and this makes it an excellent watermelon variety to grow in containers or smaller gardens. It has good resistance to diseases, and the fruits have very thin but strong rinds that make them hard to crack or split. It’s an early-maturing plant that is ready to harvest in roughly 70 days.
17. Mini Piccolo
This is a seedless hybrid watermelon variety that comes in a single-serving size. It’s a rounded fruit that has a green rind and darker green stripes. They weigh between two and four pounds at full maturity, and they offer a very dense fruit that is super sweet and red-hued. The plants grow vigorously, and they produce up to six fruits per vine. The plants get up to 14 inches tall with a 10-foot spread, and you’ll need to plant it right around a seeded pollinator watermelon variety for it to grow. They’re ready to harvest within 80 to 83 days.
18. Mountain Sweet Yellow
This yellow-fleshed, open-pollinated watermelon variety was originally developed from the Mountain Sweet watermelon during the 1800s. This was a red-fleshed fruit in the Northeast. It’s a picnic-style watermelon with an oblong shape, and it can get between 20 and 35 pounds each when they’re ready to harvest. The rinds are very dark green with light green striping, and there are black seeds with a deep yellow-hued flesh.
This watermelon variety comes with a very high sugar content with a firm, juicy, and sweet yellow flesh. The vines will spread up to 10 feet on each plant, so it does require a decent amount of space when you plant them. They’re ready to harvest between 95 and 100 days from planting.
19. Orange Crisp
This picnic, orange-fleshed watermelon variety means that you don’t have to pick out pips. It’s a hybrid cultivar that has a crisp, sweet, deep orange-hued flesh without any seeds. The fruits are around 11 inches in diameter, and they can weigh between 17 and 19 pounds a piece when they’re ripe. It has a thicker rind that is very light green with darker green stripes, and you can easily tuck it into a cooler space like the basement or garage for storage.
The plants will give you a lot of fruit, and they resist hollow heart and sunburn well. Don’t forget to plant this meon by a seeded pollinator cultivar so they produce fruit. You can harvest them in roughly 87 days.
You’ll get a refreshing crisp with this watermelon variety, but it offers a slightly tropical taste. This open-pollinated variety’s flesh is stunning to look at. It’s a very bright orange color with a sugary sweet flavor with a hint of exotic fruit flavors. It also possesses unusual seeds as they are beige with dual brown dots at the tips. The fruits are an oblong shape, and they have green and light green striping while topping out at 30 to 30 pounds each.
The rinds on this plant are decently thin, and you can crack it open by slicing a knife in relatively easily. It’s a picnic variety that was originally developed by the Willhite Seed Company in Texas during the 1960s, but it does surprisingly well in northern climates while being cold tolerant. The plants produce very heavy yields and have good resistance to pests and diseases, and the fruits won’t split on the vine. It’s ready to harvest at roughly 90 to 100 days from planting.
21. Sweet Beauty
This hybrid variety offers next-level eating quality that made it the 2004 All-American Selections winner. It’s a smaller icebox type, and the fruits top out between six and seven pounds. You’ll get smaller oblong-shaped watermelons that have light and dark green striping. The flesh has a crisp texture with a sweet flavor and deep red coloring. The vines spread between 8 and 10 feet, and you can harvest the fruit in 77 to 80 days.
22. Sweet Princess
This heirloom watermelon variety is open-pollinated and resistant to disease, and it gives you 20 to 30-pound oblong fruit. The fruits have tough but thin rinds that are lighter green with darker green marbling. The flesh is crisp, pink, and sweet with a very fine texture and smaller tan-colored seeds. This fruit gets roughly 8 inches wide and 15 inches long, and its’ ready to harvest in 85 to 95 days.
23. Triple Crown
This bigger picnic-sized watermelon variety has a name that refers to the fact that it’s a triploid. This means that this watermelon is a seedless hybrid. The fruits will have a juicy, deep red, firm flesh with a fine texture. You’ll have to grow this seedless hybrid by a pollinator variety like Bush Sugar Baby. It makes a nice companion plant for Triple Crown to ensure you get high yields that you can harvest in 80 days.
24. Yellow Petite
This early-maturing watermelon variety offers sweet yellow flesh that is virtually seedless. You may hear it called the Petite Yellow, and the fruits range from 6 to 10 pounds with dark green stripes with light green rinds. The rinds resist cracking nicely, and this makes them easy to transport. The leaves will cover the fruits as they grow to shield them from sunburn. They’ll be ready to harvest in 65 to 85 days.
These 24 watermelon varieties offer the chance to add a little variety in your garden. You can grow a few different ones close by one another without an issue, and they produce sweet fruit that embodies the summer feeling.
Jen is a master gardener, interior designer and home improvement expert. She has completed many home improvement, decor and remodeling projects with her family over the past 10 years on their 4,500 sf Victorian house. She is also a passionate farmer who keeps goats, chickens, turkeys cows and pigs on her farm, and an instructor for her community’s Organic and Sustainable Farming project.