Jelly Melons

African Horned Cucumber

Stages of Development for Jelly Melons.

Shopping Link Jelly Melon

Cucumis metuliferus aka Kiwano, Horned Melon, Melano, African Horned Cucumber, Hedged Gourd.

USDA Zones: 9-11

Full Sun

Soil pH: 6.0 to 6.5

Minimum Soil Temperature for Germination 70 F

Minimum Temp for Transplant [after hardening] 60-65 degrees F

Seed Depth for Direct seeding 1/2 to 3/4 Inch

Growth Habit - Vining

Plant Spacing 1.5 - 2.5 ft.

Row Spacing 4 - 5 ft.

Maturity 120 Days

African Horned Cucumbers


Jelly Melon fruit tastes like a blend of cucumbers and pomegranate, some people say they taste similar to kiwi and bananas- one thing is certain, it don't taste like chicken. It has a distinctive oval shape and orange-yellow spiny skin with a green jelly flesh and a lot of seeds.


This Melon thrives in sub tropical warm climates at or above 70 F in spring, hotter in the summer. Suitable for USDA Zones: 9-11.

It is resistant to most common plant diseases and pests such as powdery mildew, melon aphids and greenhouse white flies.

Your planting site should have a rich well-drained soil and full sunlight. A Soil pH range of 6.0 to 6.5 is optimal. Like it's relatives cucumbers and melons it grows on a vine and trellising, or growing near a fence is a good idea to promote vertical growth. It's growth habit is for all intensive purposes the same as cucumber and can be grown so far as trellising is concerned in the same fashion.

When planting Jelly melon seeds outdoors, sow your seeds in the spring when temperatures are above 65 Fahrenheit [70o needed for germination] and danger of frost has passed. They should be to a depth of 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep. Leave about 2 feet between clusters of 3-4 seeds. Allow about 4 feet between rows.

Jelly Melons will also grow well in hills or mounds, if you prefer this method prepare circular beds about 3 feet in diameter. Make mounds at least 3 feet apart plant 4 to 6 seeds per hill. Thinning out could conceivably be necessary later down the line.

Jelly Melons can also be started indoors 2-4 weeks before the last frost date for an early harvest.


The soil should be consistently moist to about an inch in depth during the seed germination period. Germination period is 2 -3 weeks with maturity in about 120 days.

Once the plant is established water it deeply, the morning or early afternoon is best . The Jelly Melon needs 1 to 2 inches of water weekly, soaking the soil to about a half foot.

Water Stress from lack of water as well as Over-watering can cause the melons to crack and split.

You will want the soil to dry between watering, "consistently moist" does not mean constantly wet , constantly wet will lead to fungal diseases.

Organic mulch, such as straw or grass clippings spread around the plant base would be helpful , especially during the dog days of summer when the temperatures exceed 75 degrees Fahrenheit. This will help to retain moisture and suppress weeds.

Apply general-use fertilizer such as 6-10-10 is fine, avoid high nitrogen fertilizers which are designed for foliage growth at the expense of the fruits. You might want consider using plastic mulch and an inexpensive drip irrigation system not only for horned melons but most other plants in your garden would also benefit.

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