How to Grow Kiwano Horned Melons

Updated November 21, 2016

The kiwano horned melon (Cucumis metuliferus), also called African horned cucumber, is a yellow-orange fruit covered in broad spines. The melons can be consumed fresh or used as decorations. Kiwano horned melon vines require exposure to full sun for best fruit production. The plants require consistent moisture, but don't grow well in areas with poor drainage. The seeds are best started indoors in early spring. The plants can be moved to the garden when temperatures are at least 15 degrees Celsius.

Fill 3-inch growing containers with potting soil.

Sow one seed in each container, at a depth equal to half the seed's length.

Water just enough to barely moisten the soil. Continue to water whenever the potting soil feels dry.

Place the containers in a warm location until seedlings emerge.

Move the containers to a brightly lit location when the seedlings appear, but avoid placing them in direct sunlight.

Prepare the outdoor growing site by tilling the garden soil 8 to 10 inches deep.

Amend the soil with 4 inches of organic compost. Apply 10-10-10 fertiliser at a rate of 4 to 6 cups per 100 square feet, and mix it thoroughly with the turned soil.

Transplant the seedlings into the garden after they have developed two sets of true leaves. Plant them at the depth they were growing in the containers.

Place a sturdy support structure behind each vine, taking care not to disturb the roots.

Provide the plants with 1 to 2 inches of water each week.

Remove weeds from around the kiwano horned melon vines to prevent competition for space, water and nutrients.


It takes approximately 14 weeks for kiwano horned melons to be ready for harvest. Harvest the melons when the skin turns orange.

Things You'll Need

  • 3-inch growing containers
  • Potting soil
  • Tiller
  • Organic compost
  • 10-10-10 fertiliser
  • Support structures
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