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The Charleston Gray Watermelon

The Charleston Gray watermelon may look strange, but you’ll be blown away once you try it. That’s because it’s one of the most delicious varieties of watermelon.

A Charleston gray watermelon against a white background.

Let’s get into everything you need to know about the Charleston Gray Watermelon.

About the Charleston Gray Watermelon

Developed in Charleston, South Carolina, the Charleston Gray was created by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) in the late 1940s with the goal of creating a watermelon that was more resistant to potential diseases. During the 1950s it was the most popular watermelon grown commercially and in homes in the United States.

Even though it has since lost its status as the most popular watermelon, don’t let that fool you into thinking that this melon doesn’t pack a punch!


Charleston Gray watermelons don’t look like average, bright green-striped watermelons.

The Charleston Gray watermelon is known for its gray-green rind color. The oblong shape further contributes to the melon’s peculiar appearance.

Closeup of the rind of a Charleston gray watermelon.

It’s also on the larger size of the watermelon spectrum. A Charleston Gray could be anywhere from 20 to a whopping 40 pounds!

The watermelon contains seeds which simplifies the planting process, but if you’re a parent you should remove the seeds before feeding this delicious fruit to your children.

What Does the Charleston Gray Watermelon Taste Like?

The Charleston Gray Watermelon is one of the tastiest watermelon varieties out there.

It has sweet and juicy flesh that’s not fibrous in texture. Each bite has a pleasant mouthfeel and a delicious explosion of juicy flavor.

A Charleston gray watermelon cut in half.

Eating the Charleston Gray Watermelon

A delicious and healthy way to use the Charleston Gray watermelon is by making a salad. Check out our incredible recipe for a refreshing watermelon, radish salad that’s sure to become one of your favorites.

Watermelons are an excellent ingredient for any refreshing summer drink. For an adult beverage try our Mezcal Melonrita.

Want a cool and nutritious snack the kids can enjoy at the pool? These watermelon popsicles are a fun summer treat.

Watermelon and kiwi popsicles.

Watermelons are versatile and can be used in unique recipes. Try this watermelon gazpacho for something that is easy to make and is a fun twist on the usual tomato gazpacho.

There’s nothing like a sweet fruit sorbet to cool you off. Make this watermelon mint sorbet for a dessert after a poolside meal.

This watermelon is so flavorful and juicy that you can just slice it up and enjoy it as is!

Health Benefits

Watermelons are one of the healthiest fruits you can eat. They’re low-calorie and a great source of vitamins A, B6, and C which help strengthen the immune system and brain function. They also have a high water content which makes watermelon one of the most refreshing fruits on hot summer days.

Watermelons also have plenty of amino acids. This means that eating watermelon can reduce muscle soreness after a workout and contribute to muscle growth.

watermelon cubes.

These are not aren’t the only benefits of eating a delicious watermelon. Check out our article on the Health Benefits of Watermelon.

How to Grow Charleston Gray Watermelons

We’ll cover the basics of growing these watermelons. For more in-depth information read our guides on How to Plant Watermelon Seeds and How to Grow Watermelon.

The best time to plant Charleston Gray watermelons is during the early summer when the soil and ambient temperatures are warm enough. Select a planting site in well-draining soil that receives full sun.

Water consistently to keep the soil moist. Once the melons are baseball-sized, you only need to water them when the soil is dry.

Each seed mound should be spaced 4-6 feet away from each other to allow the plants ample room to grow.

A small Charleston gray watermelon on a vine.

When seedlings are nearly 1 inch in size, thin down the seedlings to the healthiest one in the mound. This ensures that the best watermelon in the mound can grow.

Weeds rob watermelons of the nutrients they need to grow. Spread mulch when the plants reach around 4 inches to keep your watermelon patch weed-free.

It’s also important to keep pests and diseases away from your watermelons. Read our in-depth guides on Watermelon Pests and Watermelon Diseases to learn how to spot, treat, and prevent these problems.


When the watermelon’s color turns its signature gray-green and the bottom turns light yellow, it’s time to harvest your Charleston Gray watermelons.

For a more detailed guide on what to do when harvesting, read our article on Watermelon Harvesting.

Where to Buy the Seeds

Closeup of watermelon seedlings.

You can find Charleston Gray Watermelon seeds at one of our favorite online seed retailers, Hoss Tools.


How many melons does a Charleston Gray plant yield?

Each kind of watermelon plant has a different number of melons they yield per plant. The Charleston Gray can be expected to yield anywhere from 3-4 melons per plant.

How long does the Charleston Gray Watermelon take to fully mature?

The Charleston Gray takes anywhere from 80-100 days to complete its maturation process.

Should I leave a piece of the vine on the melon when harvesting?

Yes! Leaving a piece of the vine on the watermelon allows for the watermelon to be preserved for a longer period of time.

The Charleston Gray is a Must-Have in Your Garden!

Bowl of watermelon slices.

If a sweet and juicy watermelon is what you’re looking for, then the Charleston Gray watermelon is the best choice for you! This strange-looking watermelon is sure to be one of the highlights of your home garden.

If you’re planning to grow the Charleston Gray in your garden, then you should visit our Watermelon Plants page to explore our in-depth guides on growing and caring for all different varieties of watermelon.