Jelly melon, also known as kiwano horned fruit is an exotic fruit with a spiky orange rind and a jelly-like flesh, hence the name jelly melon! Some people think jelly melon tastes like bananas, while others compare it to lime, kiwi, or cucumber. These exotic fruits are native to hot, dry climates such as central and southern Africa. If you're interested in learning how to grow jelly melon, you need to live in USDA Zones 10 and above or have a greenhouse as these fruits only grow in hot, arid climates. Keep reading to learn how to grow jelly melon AKA kiwano horned fruit!

How to Grow Jelly Melon

jelly melon

Planting Jelly Melon:

  • Jelly melon prefers a full sun site with well drained soil.
  • The soil must be slightly acidic and should be prepared ahead of time by digging in a few inches of compost or manure and an application of balanced garden fertilizer.
  • Plant seeds in a sunny spot directly into the soil after all danger of frost has passed.
  • Plant each seed at a depth of 1/2 to 1 inch in groups of two or three seeds. Space 18 inches in between each group.
  • You may also start seeds inside and transplant them once they have two true leaves and temperatures are above 59F (15C).
  • Water immediately after planting and then keep the soil moist, but never soggy.
  • Seeds should germinate within 2-3 weeks.
  • Provide a trellis for these plants as their vines will need to climb.


kiwano horned fruit

  • Jelly melons are much like cucumbers when it comes to caring for them.
  • Water deeply providing 1-2 inches of water per week and allow the soil to dry in between watering.
  • Cut back on watering as the fruit ripens to improve the flavor.
  • Once temperatures are above 75F (23-24C), lay down 1-2 inches of organic mulch to conserve moisture and keep weeds at bay.

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How to Grow Jelly Melon

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