Climatic Considerations for Winter Squash and Pumpkins

Climatic Considerations for Winter Squash and Pumpkins, c. pepo, c. maxima, c. moschata, C. argyrosperma, C. mixta
Pumpkins Outdoors in Fall

Squash is a warm-season crop. It should not be planted until the danger of frost is past. In the list below, note the species from which each variety has been selected. Some do better in certain climates and have different growing season lengths.

  • C. argyrosperma and C. mixta grow best in hot arid climates like the Southwest United States
  • C. maxima grow best in cooler northern climates, especially along coastal areas of large lakes or oceans where the growing temperature may be more consistent
  • C. moschata are best grown in southern humid climates
  • C. pepo does best in areas in climates which provide even rainfalls and temperature ranges, such as, coastal regions and the midwestern United States.

Related References

Where are Pumpkins Native to?

A collection of pumpkins
A collection of pumpkins

The common species of squashes and pumpkins used by gardeners are native to the Western Hemisphere and wild varieties can occasionally be found in their native environments.

  • C. maxima – Represented by the Hubbard, Delicious, Marblehead, Boston Marrow, and Turks Turban are varieties thought to have originated in northern Argentina, near the Andes, or in certain Andean valleys. Maxima varieties like cooler climates with regular rainfall.
  • C. moschata – Represented by such varieties as butternut, Winter Crookneck Squashes, and Japanese Pie and Large Cheese Pumpkins are native to Mexico and Central America. This species prefers and tolerates hot growing conditions and longer growing seasons of the southern regions.
  • C.  pepo – Apparently originated in the same general area of Mexico and Central America as C. Maxima and is represented by Golden Acorn, Jack-Be-Little, Connecticut Field, and Delicata. Pepo varieties like cooler climates with regular rainfall.
  • C. argyrosperma –Includes many of the traditional winter squashes known as Cushaws, which have been grown since early times from Guatemala to the southwestern U.S. Members of this species are drought-tolerant and their flesh is generally paler, stringier and less sweet than other types of squash.

Winter Squash – Hercules Butternut

Hercules Butternut Squash (C. Moschata)
Hercules Butternut Squash (C. Moschata)


The Hercules Butternut squash is not entirely consistent in shape, however, the Hercules butternut squash produces some very large squash. The vines are long and very vigorous.  It has a bulbous shape that is remarkably free of crooknecks. The interior is a deep orange color with a firm and fine texture.   


  • Squash

Days To Maturity

  • 100-105 days


  • Cucurbita


  • moschata

Fruit Size

  • 18 to 25 inches with a neck which averages 4 inches in diameter.


  • 2 to 4 pounds

Skin Color

  • Buff / Tan


  • Vining with 8-10 foot vines


  • Edible with Good food qualities


  • Good Keeper


  • Demonstrates resistance to mildew and to vine borer.


  • Yes


Planting guidelines for plant the Hercules butternut squash in well fertilized prepared garden beds.

Seed depth

  • ½ – 1 inch

Seeds per group / hill

  • 6 to eight seeds

Seed spacing

  • 4 inches

Space between hills

  • 4 to 6 feet

Days to germination

  • 7 to 14 days

Thin to (plants per hill)

  •  2 to 3 plants