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5 Orange Watermelon Varieties and Unique Flavors – GIY Plants

Orange watermelon sliced in half

Orange watermelons are unique and eye-catching orange varieties of the popular watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) fruit.

Like yellow and red watermelons, orange watermelons are naturally occurring and have been cultivated by humans for thousands of years.

With their succulent, crisp, and dense flesh, these rare varieties of watermelons add a unique touch and taste to your smoothies or dessert snack.

Orange watermelons can be grown in similar conditions as yellow and red watermelons, and they are known for their delicate, mildly sweet flavor with subtle tropical and honeyed notes.

Below, we’ll cover some interesting varieties of orange watermelons you can grow at home.

What is An Orange Watermelon?

Orange watermelons are naturally occurring varieties of watermelon that are characterized by their succulent, crisp, and dense orange flesh. When ripe, orange watermelons should feel heavy for their size.

The orange color comes from the high concentration of the plant pigment and carotenoid beta-carotene, which also gives other fruits such as carrots their orange color.

Although rare, orange watermelons are naturally occurring and have been selectively bred for their color and flavors over the centuries.

Like red and yellow watermelons, orange watermelons were cultivated from white and bitter-fleshed wild watermelons between 4,350 and 3,500 years ago in the upper Nile valley in present-day Sudan. [1]

5 Orange Watermelon Varieties

Orange variety of watermelon cut in half

There are many types of orange watermelon cultivars. Below are some popular varieties:

  1. Tendersweet Orange

Tendersweet orange watermelons are a variety of heirloom watermelons known for their beautiful, sweet, dense, and delicious orange flesh. Their tough rind and oblong shape make them great for storage.

These watermelons produce dramatic and large oblong fruits with an orange interior that resembles a bright orange cantaloupe.

Size: Large oblong fruits that can grow up to 35 lbs. (16 kg) and are 18 inches (46cm) long.

Flavor: Sweet with high sugar content.

Seeds: Rimmed tan seeds.

Growth: 85-95 days to maturity.

  1. Orangeglo

Orangeglo watermelons are extremely popular and are often showstoppers at farmer’s markets due to their beautiful rind patterns and orange flesh.

The orange flesh of the watermelon has been described as exotic and refreshing, with a crisp texture and a tropical flavor that is often compared to cantaloupe, mango, pear, or even papaya.

Orangeglo watermelons were first developed by the Willhite Seed Company of Poolville, Texas, in the 1960s to differentiate them from other watermelons. Their pumpkin-colored flesh and sweet flavor make them excellent watermelons for desserts, juicing, or snacking.

Size: Oblong medium to large watermelons weighing 20-30 lbs. (9-14 kg). Rinds break easily when ripe.

Flavor: Sweet tropical flavor, perfect for frozen desserts, snacking, or juicing.

Seeds: Lots of seeds, tan to white color.

Growth: 90-100 days to harvest. Indeterminate and productive vines.

  1. Orange Crisp

Orange Crisp watermelons have seedless flesh that is amber to orange in color with a crisp texture and sweet flavor, making them great for snacking or desserts.

These hybrid watermelons are also heat and humidity tolerant with rinds that offer resistance to sunburn, perfect for growing in hot climates.

Size: Round medium fruits 14-20 lbs (6-9 kg). Medium-thick rind offers good storage and protection from sunscald.

Flavor: Crispy texture and sweet flavor with a strong, intoxicating aroma.

Seeds: Seedless.

Growth: 92 days to maturity. Productive indeterminate vines.

  1. Orange Krush

This hybrid orange watermelon is a vigorous grower with productive yields. These orange-fleshed watermelons have high-sugar content and a crisp, fresh flavor. They have a long shelf life and are also resistant to fusarium wilt.

Size: Oval medium-sized, 17-20 lb. (7.7-9 kg), fruits.

Flavor: High sugar content and juicy texture.

Seeds: Black seeds.

Growth: 71-80 days. Vigorous indeterminate vines.

  1. New Queen

A 1999 “All America Winner,” these gourmet orange watermelons produce stunning bright orange flesh that is tender, crisp, and juicy. They produce fruits with a very sweet flavor and good firm texture.

Size: Small icebox globe-shaped fruits weighing 5-8 lbs (2.2-3.6 kg).

Flavor: High sugar content.

Seeds: Very few seeds.

Growth: 65-75 days. Vining indeterminate, up to 9 feet long.

Orange Watermelon vs Red Watermelon

The main difference between red and orange watermelons is the fact that orange-fleshed watermelons contain mostly beta-carotene, the same plant pigment or carotenoid which gives fruits such as carrots their orange color. [2]

Red watermelons, however, contain mostly lycopene, the same plant compound which gives fruits such as tomatoes and strawberries their red color.


[1] Alejandro Perez Escobar, O., & C. Snell. (2022, September 2). A bitter mystery: Sequencing the world’s oldest plant genome. Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. Retrieved December 11, 2022, from https://www.kew.org/read-and-watch/oldest-plant-genome-watermelon.

[2] Zhao, W., Lv, P., & Gu, H. (2013). Studies on carotenoids in watermelon flesh. Agricultural Sciences, 04(07), 13–20. https://doi.org/10.4236/as.2013.47a003.

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