a field of growing ghost pumpkins

What On Earth Is A Ghost Pumpkin?

As Halloween draws closer, it’s not unusual to see beautiful orange pumpkins popping up in the shops, just ready for carving spooky faces or using for cooking. But, have you noticed over the recent years that more different types of pumpkins are available in stores throughout October? Primarily a pale, white/grey variety commonly known as a ghost pumpkin. A unique way to express your love for the scary season, the ghost pumpkin is becoming more popular in households across the UK. But what exactly is a ghost pumpkin? And, for the gardeners out there, how do you grow them? Here’s everything you need to know about the ghost pumpkin!

What Is A Ghost Pumpkin?

A ghost pumpkin is almost the exact same as the classic orange types, besides their colours. They are unique varieties of pumpkins that come in shades of grey or white depending on the style. However, technically, this white pumpkin is a variety of the winter squash!

The ghost pumpkin has many different names, including grey pumpkins, albino pumpkins or snowball pumpkins, and these often relate to the variety of white pumpkins. However, despite their different looks, you can use a ghost pumpkin the same way as orange pumpkins, whether for pumpkin carving or for baking into a pie. Plus, white pumpkins are the perfect canvas for painting pumpkins – an everyday activity for Halloween preparation. 

Are Ghost Pumpkins Edible?

Yes, ghost pumpkins are edible. Like regular orange pumpkins, you can eat the flesh (or the inside) of these squash varieties. They taste almost identical to traditional orange pumpkins and have similar nutritional benefits. They have a low-calorie count and contain plenty of beneficial nutrients, such as iron, potassium and calcium. You can find some tasty ghost pumpkin recipes here.

A History of the Ghost Pumpkin

a gardener holding a ghost pumpkin

Not such a long time ago, the ghost pumpkin was seen as something of an oddity. However, although pumpkins have been around for thousands of years since someone discovered their seeds in Mexico, the ghost pumpkin has a more recent history. They were not grown deliberately until the early 2000s when their ornamental value created a boost in popularity. Prior to this, a few accidental ghost pumpkins may pop up at farmers’ markets since most pumpkin growers saw them as an accident in genetics.

White pumpkins were originally bred by pumpkin growers and scientists as albino breeds and were extremely rare. However, nowadays, the commodity has grown more popular for Halloween and autumn, and it is more common to see a ghost pumpkin among the classic orange varieties throughout October. 

Types of Ghost Pumpkin

There are so many varieties of ghost pumpkins, and their flesh colour ranges from white to blue! However, in all types, the inner flesh is orange, just like the regular pumpkins. No matter their colour, all types of ghost pumpkins can be used for carving, painting, and baking – whatever you’d like to use your pumpkin for, a ghost pumpkin will do the trick!

Here are some of the most popular varieties of ghost pumpkin:

  • Baby Boo – Small and cute, the Baby Boo variety of ghost pumpkin is the perfect size for themed art projects for kids and makes easy Halloween decorations. However, the Baby Boo pumpkins are not edible. 
  • Lumina – Named for its bright white colouring that appears to light up the space, the Lumina variety can weigh up to 15 pounds when fully grown. 
  • Full Moon – The Full Moon pumpkin can grow to weigh up to 90 pounds, so if you want a meatier pumpkin, this could be the one for you! They are best grown in the shade to reach this size. 
  • Casper – A perfect name for a ghost pumpkin, the Casper variety has smooth skin and an overly-sweet taste when baked. It can take them up to 155 days to get their beautiful white skin. 
  • Silver Moon – A medium size ghost pumpkin that is easier to handle; if you want to grow your own, this is one of the best. The Silver Moon is resistant to viruses and diseases in the garden, including powdery mildew.
  • Cotton Candy – Another smallish variety of ghost pumpkin, the Cotton Candy has the traditional round shape of pumpkin that looks beautiful around Halloween. It is a robust pumpkin with a strong stem. 
  • White Ghost – The perfectly named White Ghost is not the best pumpkin choice for carving, and it’s certainly an oddball in the ghost pumpkin family. It has an irregular shape, thick white flesh and an unusual taste. 
  • Valenciano – The Valenciano is another sweet-tasting pumpkin, and its slightly flat shape easily characterises it. This medium-sized pumpkin is perfect for baking and carving. 
  • Polar Bear – Named for its size, the Polar Bear pumpkin can reach up to 65 pounds. If growing at home, you should store it in the sun after harvesting for that beautiful white colour. 
  • Snowball – The Snowball is as smallish and sweet as it sounds, with a green stem that contrasts beautifully. This variety is filled with seeds and only weighs around two pounds. 

Growing Ghost Pumpkins

varieties of pumpkins

Now you know everything there is to know about the ghost pumpkin, the avid gardeners among you may be interested in growing your own. You can pick almost any variety from our list above to grow in your own garden, but we’d recommend the Full Moon, Luminia, or Polar Bear varieties depending on the size you’d like and how you plan to use them. 

Once you’ve chosen your variety, here are some tips on growing your ghost pumpkins.

When To Plant

Ghost pumpkins will grow best in warmer climates and don’t usually do too well in colder temperatures. As such, it would be best to plant the seed of a ghost pumpkin when the temperatures remain consistently above 21 degrees. Usually, around the end of April or early May will provide the perfect conditions. If you live in warmer climates, you can plant your ghost pumpkins directly outdoors. However, if you live in a colder area, it would be best to start your seeds indoors. 

Where To Plant

To grow well, ghost pumpkins require a location with well-draining soil that still has some water retention. No type of pumpkin will do well in too much dryness. Some pumpkins, such as Full Moon, will need shade to keep their dazzling white colour, so make sure you check how much sun and shade is required depending on the variety you have. Finally, for the classic round shape, make sure to keep the soil smooth and level; otherwise, you will have lumpy pumpkins.

Caring For Ghost Pumpkins

a ghost pumpkin

No matter their colour, all pumpkins have their own unique quirks. So, it’s important to take note of the special needs of a ghost pumpkin, including:

Sun

As touched on before, different types of ghost pumpkin have different needs when it comes to the sun. Some, like the Polar Bear, require the sun to develop and maintain their white colour. However, some prefer the shade. As such, you should be aware of the amount of sun your garden will be able to provide when choosing the right variety of ghost pumpkin. As a starting point, most pumpkins require around 8 hours of sun per day. North-west facing gardens are perfect for pumpkins to thrive in. 

Water

Pumpkins need a healthy balance of water – they will die with too much dryness but won’t do well if they’re swimming in water either. So, you should aim to give them around one inch of water once a week. Make sure the drainage of your soil is excellent without drying the pumpkins out. To maintain this balance, you may use mulch. 

Fertiliser

To make sure you get the white colour you desire, you can use fertiliser on ghost pumpkins. However, you must make sure that you use organic fertiliser, so no chemicals interfere with the pigment. You can add fertiliser on a regular basis to keep your pumpkins healthy. 

Growing Space

Never underestimate the size of pumpkins! Naturally, the bigger the pumpkin, the more growing space it will need. However, even if the pumpkins themselves don’t grow too big, their vines can spread rather wide. So, make sure to allow plenty of growing room for your pumpkins. 

Grow A Ghost Pumpkin For Yourself!

So, now you know what a ghost pumpkin is! These beauties make for fantastic decorations around Halloween, and also make tasty additions to any of your favourite pumpkin recipes. Whether you follow our growing tips and cultivate your own harvest or buy fresh ones from a supermarket or farm, the ghost pumpkin is sure to impress!

Do you have any tips for growing a ghost pumpkin? Leave your ideas and thoughts below! 

FAQs

Are ghost pumpkins edible?

Yes, ghost pumpkins are edible, just like their orange counterparts. They have a mild flavor and a slightly sweeter taste compared to traditional pumpkins. They can be used in various recipes, such as soups, pies, and baked goods.

How do ghost pumpkins differ from orange pumpkins?

The main difference is the colour of the skin. Ghost pumpkins have a white or pale cream colour, while orange pumpkins have the typical vibrant orange hue. Other than that, the two varieties share similar characteristics in terms of taste and texture.

Can ghost pumpkins be carved like traditional pumpkins?

Yes, ghost pumpkins can be carved just like traditional pumpkins. Their unique white color can add an interesting twist to carved designs and make them stand out.

Do ghost pumpkins have the same nutritional value as orange pumpkins?

Ghost pumpkins have a similar nutritional profile to orange pumpkins. They are low in calories and fat, and a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals such as vitamin A and potassium.

Are ghost pumpkins good for decorating purposes?

Yes, ghost pumpkins are popular for fall and Halloween decorations. Their white color provides an elegant and spooky touch to displays, both indoors and outdoors. They can be painted, carved, or used as natural decorative elements.

Sources

https://www.premierseedsdirect.com/product/vegetable-pumpkin-white-baby-boo/

https://www.premierseedsdirect.com/product/vegetable-pumpkin-lumina-white-15-seeds/

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