Known for its delicious, sweet taste, the Florida Giant Watermelon is one of the most popular watermelon varieties of its size.
Exceptionally popular during the 1910s, the watermelon lost its commercial popularity for a period. But recently, the much-loved, decadent fruit is experiencing a comeback. It’s quickly turned into a fan-favorite for snacking and flavoring in all kinds of recipes.
Keep reading to learn about the retro-turned-trendy Florida Giant Watermelon, and why you should try it!
Characteristics of the Florida Giant Watermelon
The Florida Giant Watermelon is a hybrid fruit produced by crossbreeding Georgia Rattlesnake Watermelon and Bradford Watermelon seeds. Its rich, sweet flavor and firm flesh reflect the qualities of both parents.
The Georgia Rattlesnake Watermelon is thin but hardy, with green and white stripes. Its flesh is sweet like the Florida Giant Watermelon but pinker in color, and it grows up to 35 lbs.
The Bradford Watermelon is also sweet, though exceptionally so. The fruit is said to resemble cotton candy or caramel, and even its rind is sugary. Unlike the Florida Giant Watermelon, the Bradford is dark green and oblong-shaped with red flesh and grows up to 30 lbs.
This watermelon variety typically weighs up to 50 lbs. and measures about 15 inches in diameter. However, it’s also known to reach 80-90 lbs. on occasion! This makes it a favorite at local and county fair watermelon competitions.
This watermelon has smooth, dark green rinds and bright red flesh.
This watermelon has a sweet, fresh taste and a firm consistency. The reason why it’s becoming popular again as one of the most sought-after watermelons of its size is the delectable flavor!
Eating Florida Giant Watermelon
Florida Giant Watermelons are often enjoyed on their own as a snack, though there are many other ways to eat (or drink) it.
Larger watermelon varieties like this one tend to have a more pronounced flavor. Because this watermelon is so large, you can use half of it for snacking and the other half as an ingredient for other recipes.
What Are They Typically Eaten With?
Florida Giant Watermelons can be sliced and paired with other fruits in a fruit salad. It can also be juiced to make a watermelon drink, or frozen to make popsicles.
You can also blend watermelon and add it to slushies, smoothies, milkshakes, lemonade, teas, and alcoholic beverages to enhance the flavor.
Watermelon is also delicious all on its own.
How Are They Used In Cooking?
Aside from being used as a flavoring ingredient, this kind of watermelon can be sliced and grilled as a side dish, or added to salads. It can serve as the spotlight ingredient in a watermelon salsa recipe, or in a refreshing summer watermelon sorbet.
Watermelon juice can also be used to make flavored desserts like cookies, cupcakes, and fruit snacks.
Is It Kid-Friendly?
Absolutely! People of all ages are fans of watermelon. The easily chewable texture, sugary-sweet taste, and bright color are what make it so appealing to kids.
Health Benefits of Watermelon
There are numerous health benefits to eating watermelon, and one of them is hydration. Watermelon is mostly made of water, so snacking on it can help you stay hydrated, especially on a hot summer’s day.
Watermelon is also low in calories and contains nutrients including potassium, magnesium, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C. It’s also the fruit with the highest concentration of lycopene, a nutrient known to improve heart health and lower cancer risk. Watermelons with bright red flesh have the highest amounts of lycopene among watermelon.
To learn more about the different ways that watermelon is good for you, read our blog post, 7 Amazing Health Benefits of Watermelon.
Can You Grow Florida Giant Watermelon at Home?
It’s certainly possible to grow Florida Giant Watermelon at home, so long as you consider the fruit’s requirements. Unless you have a greenhouse, you’ll have to wait until temperatures reach between 75 and 85 degrees Fahrenheit for growth to begin, which may only come at certain points in the year.
Growing Florida Giant Watermelon
Contrary to its name, this watermelon grows outside of Florida State, if the growing conditions are right. This watermelon is an annual plant, so you’ll need to plant it every year.
In the U.S., most watermelons are grown in Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California. The seeds will only sprout when temperatures reach 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Planting melon seeds is a little different from how you plant other fruit and vegetable seeds. To get your watermelon seeds off to a good start, read our Watermelon Planting blog post!
To grow this watermelon at home, plants need full sunlight and soil that’s moist yet well-drained. Watermelon grows on a vine, so there needs to be room for vines to stretch out and fruit to develop.
Our guide, How to Grow Watermelon, provides all the information you need to successfully grow your own watermelon at home.
How Long Is the Growing Season for this Watermelon?
Watermelons can be harvested 75 to 90 days after planting.
Watermelon Pests and Diseases
To ensure that your watermelon patch flourishes, you’ll need to be vigilant about the challenges you may encounter. You should also familiarize yourself with the different kinds of pests. Our blog post on Watermelon Pests will help you identify, eliminate, and deter the common ones you may run into.
There are also diseases that watermelon plants can contract, such as downy mildew and anthracnose. For more information on how to spot the signs of diseases, as well as how to treat and prevent them, check out our post on common Watermelon Diseases.
Caring For Your Florida Giant Watermelon Plants
The good news is, if you give this watermelon what it needs to grow, then it’s easy to take care of.
When the watermelon vine tendrils turn brown and can be easily removed from the fruit, it’s ready for harvest. To make sure you pick your watermelon at just the right time, read our blog post on How to Tell Watermelon is Ripe. For best harvesting practices, check out our article on 2 Best Ways to Harvest Watermelon.
Where Can I Buy Florida Giant Watermelon Seeds?
Florida Giant Watermelon seeds can be purchased online or from a local farmer’s market. We especially recommend the great selection available at True Leaf Market!
Welcoming Back the Florida Giant Watermelon
Making a bold return, the Florida Giant Watermelon is a delicious fruit that’s perfect for snacking and making fresh, sweet beverages. It’s generously sized, so there’s plenty to share at summer gatherings. It’s a watermelon variety you’ll want to eat—and maybe even grow—time and again!
There are lots of delicious watermelons out there to try! Visit our Watermelon Plants page for blog posts about different varieties of watermelon, plus all our helpful growing and care guides.