Cantaloupe Varieties - What's the Difference?

cantaloupe varieties

There are several cantaloupe varieties available to the backyard vegetable gardener. Most of the varieties have similar taste and texture. The biggest difference between different varieties of cantaloupe are the size of the melons. In recent years, bush varieties of cantaloupe have been developed for smaller gardens. Generally speaking, bush varieties of cantaloupe produce smaller fruit than traditional varieties. If you like cantaloupe, we encourage you to plant a couple of different varieties that mature at different times. This spreads out the harvest and gives you a supply of fresh cantaloupe for a longer period of time.

Here's some cantaloupe seeds if you're interested...

sliced cantaloupe

When determining which variety of cantaloupe you want to grow, consider a couple of different factors.  First, how long is  your growing season?  If you live in a cool climate with short summers, you should probably lean more towards faster maturing varieties.  There's a big difference between the melons being ready in 75 days compared to 90 days.  Second, think about how much space you have for growing cantaloupe.  If you don't have much room, grow smaller varieties that don't spread out very much.  If you have a lot of room, the size of the vines won't really matter.  Third, think about what you want in a cantaloupe when you eat it.  Do you want a large melon, or something smaller?  A cantaloupe with bright orange flesh or something with a paler color.  Is texture more important that taste to you, or vice versa?  Consider all your options before choosing which cantaloupe varieties you want to grow.

We are often asked about our favorite variety of cantaloupe.  We prefer Sweet Passion, which is an heirloom variety that can be traced back about 100 years to its origins in Ohio.  It features 4 pound melons on prolific vines that demonstrate some drought and disease resistance.  It takes around 85 days to mature and has the classic cantaloupe appearance with the brown netting and orange flesh.  Very sweet and smooth, but not mushy.

Here is a list of some common varieties of cantaloupe, along with fruit and plant descriptions, etc...

  • Hales Best Jumbo - this heirloom variety has been around since 1920, fruit average 4 pounds and are aromatic and sweet, ready for harvest in about 80 days, vines reach 6 feet long
Bunch Of Cantaloupes

  • Sweet 'N Early Hybrid - this variety matures in about 75 days, small seed cavity, fruits average 6 pounds and are juicy and sweet, expect 6-8 melons from each plant

  • Hearts of Gold - this variety features 3 pound melons, ready in 90 days, flesh is sweet and thick, very round fruit, vines reach 6 feet long, available as certified organic

  • Ambrosia - this variety of cantaloupe features 4 pound melons that are almost peach colored, very sweet, ready in 85 days

  • Athena - this variety is ready in 75 days, large melons average 6 pounds, silky texture and sweet flavor, 4-6 melons per plant

  • Honey Bun Hybrid - this variety is only available from Burpee Seed Company, bush variety with smaller melons averaging 3 pounds, 3-4 melons per vine, vines reach 3-4 feet long, ready in 75 days

    • Fastbreak - this early variety is ready in 70 days, melons average 4-5 pounds and are very sweet, deep orange flesh, each vine averages 4-6 melons, good variety for short growing season

    • Superstar - this cantaloupe variety features large melons with distinct ridges, melons average 7 pounds, very sweet with silky smooth texture, vines can reach 8 feet, ready in 85 days, keeps well in refrigerator
    • Charentais - this French heirloom variety is ready in 85 days, fruit average 2-3 pounds, very sweet and extremely fragrant, bright orange flesh, skin features green stripes
    • Crane - pale orange flesh, ready in 85 days, melons average 4 pounds, rind is green and develops orange spots when this heirloom variety is ready to be picked, traced back more than 100 years to California
    • Tommy Apple - this heirloom variety features 4-6 pound oblong-shaped melons, mature fruit is golden in color, ready in 90 days, sweet and mellow flavor, pale colored flesh
    • Petit Gris De Rennes - this French heirloom varieties features melons that average 2-4 pounds, fruit is sweet and well-perfumed, ready in 85 days and tolerates cooler weather, green speckled rind
    • Golden Jenny - this heirloom cantaloupe variety features lobed melons with present a pretty sunburst shape when sliced in half, ready in 85 days, melons average 2 pounds, vines are short but prolific
    • Small Persian - heirloom variety that can be traced back to the Persian empire, ready in 85-90 days, fruit average 5 pounds, excellent taste and texture, classic cantaloupe rind with green netting
    • Rajasthan Honey - this Indian heirloom variety is ready in 95 days, flesh is silky and sweet, extremely fragrant, round melon with green stripes on the rind

    Growing Cantaloupe

    Click here to learn about planting cantaloupe

    Click here for information about watering and fertilizing cantaloupe

    Click here to learn about harvesting cantaloupe

    Click here for some of our favorite cantaloupe recipes

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