Watermelon Varieties for Florida
G. W. Elmstrom
University of Florida
Agricultural Research Center, Leesburg.
I'.ld trials of watermelon varieties have been conducted on Apopka
sand at the ARC, Leesburg since 1953. Direct-seeded plants were
spaced at 4-5 feet in rows ten feet apart. The land on which the
melons were planted could not be considered 'new' since watermelons
had been grown on the land within the past 6 to 8 years.
Several fertilizer programs have been followed during the eight-year
period. bver the years 120 to 140 pounds of N and K20 and 100 to 160
pounds of O205 were applied per acre. Fritted micronutrients were
applied at a rate of 25 to 35 pounds per acre each year. In 1976 a
4-.12-4 fertilizer mix was applied at a rate of 1000 lb/acre in a
3-ft-wide swath centered in the row. This was incorporated with a
disc prior to bedding. The nitrogen in this bed fertilizer was 50%
organic and about 38% nitrate. The source of phosphorus was triple
superphosphate.. In addition, an emergence fertilizer (100 lb
15-0-1itacre), a sidedress (200 -lbt.14-..Q-14/acre), and a layby (350 lb
14-0-14/acre) were applied. The 15-0-14 Was a natural nitrate of
soda-potash material and the 14-0-14 was an ammonium nitrate-sulfate
cf potash mix.
'Charleston Gray', 'Jubilee', and 'Crimson Sweet' continue to be the
three most important commercial varieties grown in Florida. Acreage
of 'Crimson Sweet' and 'Jubilee' has increased in recent years and
often a premium of one-half to one-cent-per--pound is paid for these
Recently, Fusarium wilt has caused serious losses in many fields of
'Charleston Gray' and 'Jubilee'. In 1971 and 1972, tests for wilt
resistance in 'Jubilee' from commercial seed stocks indicated a lower
level of resistance than that in the original 'breeder" seed. Loss
of wilt resistance in 'Jubilee' was most likely the result of seed
being increased in areas with low or no selection pressure for-cFusarium
wilt. Increases of 'Jubilee' seed from breeder stocks were made
available to commercial seedsmen in 1972 and registered seed (one
generation removed from foundation seed) is available to growers. In
most cases better wilt resistance will be found in plants from this
"registered" seed than from standard commercial seed.
Old standard watermelon varieties and many new inbred and Fl varieties
have been evaluated since 1969. With the exceptiono-of-''Yello 1 Baby'
all F1 hybrids tested were highly susceptible t -"Fusarium Wilt and
Leesburg ARC Research Report-WG77-l ..
250 copies W
January 14, 1977
planting in Florda is not-recommended. tbe-hybrtds 'included in
tests were op Y i 'Sweetmeat-.--Trtple Sweet Seedless',
'Tri X-313', 'amily Fu,- al--Charleston', and 'Summer Festival'.
Other varieties which-L k-ht t-resistance include 'Garrisonian',
:'Florida Giant', 'Petite Sweet', 'Klondike Blue Ribbon', and 'Peacock'.
Varieties with a high level of resistance to Fusarium wilt include
'Louisiana Queen', 'Summit', 'Calhoun Gray', and 'Smokylee'. However,
internal quality of 'Louisiana Queen', and 'Summit' is poor. Under
optimum conditions 'Calhoun Gray' produces good quality fruit but
moderate stress conditions result in poor fruit quality. 'Smokylee'
fruit have excellent flesh quality including high sugar levels and
fine texture but white seed, poor seedling vigor, susceptibility to
sunburn, and an internal flesh breakdown with excessive rainfall have
limited commercial plantings. 'Allsweet' has a level of wilt
resistance comparable to that of 'Crimson Sweet' as well as excellent
internal appearance and quality; however, it matures too late to be
acceptable by most Florida growers. 'Sweet Princess' fruit have a
somewhat higher quality than 'Charleston Gray' but yield is generally
lower. Seed of 'Sweet Princess' are quite small and it has been
difficult to obtain an early uniform stand. 'lopride' a recently-
released variety from Iowa has a high level of resistance to Fusarium
wilt but ripening in Florida has been uneven and quality generally
has been poor.
Total.marketable yields, mean fruit weight, and soluble solids contents
of mature fruit of several varieties are presented in Tables 1 to 3.
Table 1. Total marketable yields of several watermelon varieties
at Leesburg, 1969-1976.
Varieties 1969-1976: 1975 1976
lopride 27.9(4) 43.6 25.8
Calhoun Gray 31.9(2) 38.2 25.6
Louisiana Queen 23.4(6) 35.5
Smokylee 21.3(8) 31.2 22.2
Charleston Gray 20.5(8) 36.6 20.8
Crimson Sweet 18.8(8) 33.6 20.0
Allsweet 20.8(5) 30.2 23.0
Jubileeb 18.0(8) 26.6 7.3
Sweet Princess 16.0(8) 26.5 13.3
a Value in parentheses indicates the number of years the variety
b Jubilee grown from standard commercial seed.
Table 2. Mean melon weight--of several watermelon varieties at
Pounds per melon
a Value in-parentheses indicates the number of years the
variety was tested. r.
b Jubilee grown from standard commercial seed.
Table 3. Soluble solids content of mature fruit of several
?_ _watermelon varieties at Leesburg, 1969-1976._
Soluble solids, %
Variety 1969-76a 1975 1976
Smokylee 11.1(7) 11.5 10.8
Crimson Sweet 10.5(7) 10.7 10.5
Sweet Princess, 10.3(7) 10.7 10.2
Calhoun Gray 10.5 9.8
Jubileeb : 9.9(7) 10.4 9.8
Charleston Gray 9.9(7) 9.5: 9.7
Allsweet 9.8(4) 10.1 9.9
Iopride 9.7(4) 9.9 10.2
Louisiana Queen 9.5(6) 9.4 9.4
a Value in parenthesesindicates the number of years ,the
variety was tested.
o Jubilee grown from standard commercial seed.
The publications in this collection do
not reflect current scientific knowledge
or recommendations. These texts
represent the historic publishing
record of the Institute for Food and
Agricultural Sciences and should be
used only to trace the historic work of
the Institute and its staff. Current IFAS
research may be found on the
Electronic Data Information Source
site maintained by the Florida
Cooperative Extension Service.
Copyright 2005, Board of Trustees, University