Watermelon Splitting: What Causes a Watermelon to Split?

Melon Varieties Prone to Splitting

Some thin-skinned watermelon varieties are prone to splitting and cracking.

They are sometimes dubbed ‘exploding melons’ for this very reason. Thin rind varieties are infamous for this and tend to split more often on the vine. But even Thick Rind varieties can at times burst or split.

A picture of a splitting watermelon up close.

Thin rind varieties known for splitting:

  • Icebox Watermelon
  • Golden Watermelon
  • New Queen Watermelon
  • Sugar Baby Watermelon

Moisture Surges

If the watermelon police performed an autopsy on your melons they might find that they died due to capricious and irregular watering caused by either you the gardener or by Mother Nature herself.

In the most common scenario, your watermelons are receiving less water than they should, perhaps even borderline drought, and then the heavens open up, or you come back from vacation and smother them in the nectar of life – water.

See: How to Grow Watermelon

The excessive and sudden accumulation of water is readily absorbed by the thirsty melons and they actually engorge themselves to the point where the rind can not keep up and it basically pops from internal pressure.

Heat Stress

A less common, but just as plausible reason for watermelons splitting and popping is excessive heat.

If your melons pop or crack and they have not been exposed to an erratic water supply, chances are it is during a hot spell.

Water expands under high temperatures, the pressure within the watermelon can accumulate when it gets too hot causing the melons to burst.

Organic Mulch and temporary shading can help alleviate this issue during extreme hot weather.

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Related: What Causes Stunted Watermelon Growth?