The first Kiwano flower

It's a boy! The first Kiwano flower in bloom.

A few months ago, a friend gave me a packet of seeds for something I had never heard of before – the Kiwano, or horned melon. Neither of us knew if it would grow here, or what it tasted like, but thought it would be fun to try growing anyway. I am not called the Curious Gardener for nothing…

So I sowed some seeds in August and was rewarded with just one seedling. I placed it in a temporary home at the back patio while I attended to other things. Well, the Kiwano plant simply made itself at home and grew, so I stuck in a short bamboo stick as a climbing support. It reached the top in quick order, then found a pathway upwards, over and on other plants before I realized how rapidly it was growing and quickly set up a trellis and transplanted it in late September. By that time, it was almost long enough to reach the top of a 2-metre high trellis!

The young Kiwano plant with the first tendril - this is before the prolonged growth spurt.

The state of the vine today - boy, has it grown and spread!

I also mentioned in an earlier post that this plant is not named the horned melon for nothing. I said this because the stems and leaves – heck, the flowers, too! (just look closely at the pictures) – are covered in short, stiff bristles that leave a stinging sensation for quite a while, if you’re unfortunate enough to brush against or get pricked by them. I quickly learned to hold the plant by the tendrils when training them onto the trellis – but even those grow bristles when they’re old or long enough! Of course, the melon gets its name because of the horn-like protrusions on its skin, but to me, for now, “horned” refers to the evil way it poked and scratched me…

The Kiwano flower is as small as your fingertip!

The Kiwano plant spent more than a month constantly branching out and spreading before I was finally rewarded today with the sight of the first flower. I’ve been worse than an expectant mother hen, checking it daily for about a month now. Each time a new protrusion appeared along the stems, I would hold my breath in anticipation of flower buds, only to realize later that it was a new stem growing out.

This looks to be a male flower – a pale yellow cucurbit-like flower on a thin long stem – very much akin to bittergourd or cucumber flowers, but smaller. If it follows the pattern of cucurbit plants, it will produce a number of male flowers for a while before it’s ready to let the ladies out to play, too. Let’s see how long that takes to happen, because I’m really intrigued to see this interesting fruit!

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The first Kiwano flower — 8 Comments

    • LOL. So far I haven’t had that problem with the comfrey, thank goodness. Yes, it’s still alive :P

  1. I planted 3 sets of 3 horned melon seeds back in mid may now all 9 vines are growing and looking healthy. About how long does it take to start flowering and producing fruit? If any one knows plz email me at I allso planted 2 more sets of 3 seeds a month later way far away from the first 9 I’m well aware of there infestation quality