So, I'm growing a Big Max pumpkin in a 4x8 bed. Everything was going just fine, one viable pumpkin started growing. Things were looking good.

All of the sudden, the vine itself just stopped growing, at all. Its been like that for several weeks now. I water almost daily (live south of Denver, Colorado. Its gotten dry). I've fertilized with Miracle Grow twice during this same timeframe. I do not really see any obvious disease or bugs. Its just not growing at all. Leaves that were small and had just unfolded prior to this period are exactly the same size, but still green. The plant itself looks fine to my (noob) eyes, just not growing. The pumpkin has either stopped getting bigger or is growing very slowly.

I'll include some pictures of the plant:

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This is the tip of the main vine:

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Taken today:

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Thank you for any help!

  • have you seen any squash bugs? have you been watering evenly? I am in utah, we had a very wet spring and now have a lot of squash bugs... and as a result a lot of bacterial wilt now... if you water the plant the squash bugs will climb up the stems also look for bug eggs on the underside of leaves. – Grady Player Aug 8 '19 at 17:20
  • I haven't noticed any, but haven't been looking real hard either. I'll take a look this evening and see what I see. Thank you! – codey Aug 8 '19 at 19:07
  • In the third picture the tip of the shoot seems to be covered with some sort of small bugs, but I've no idea what they are. – alephzero Aug 8 '19 at 22:16
  • Pleas make your title always a question. Thank you! Enjoy. :) – Bulrush Sep 8 '19 at 12:45
  • How deep is your soil (and if the roots can get to it, what's underneath the bed)? If the roots can't grow very deep, that probably explains why it's smaller. Also note that there's not much room for the roots to grow as wide as they might like to. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Oct 14 '19 at 22:08

My thought is that it is already September. You are in Denver CO, and because of the altitude you plants behave as if it were farther north than you really are. Plus, this year the summer cooled down a bit sooner so you don’t have as much heat to drive vigorous vegetative growth anymore. As you can see, you have fruit that is maturing. I think that indicates that your vine is now focused on feeding that rather than new growth.

  • 1
    Daylength is decreasing like mad. Most squash respond to this by slowing growth, or dying back. – Wayfaring Stranger Oct 9 '19 at 16:11

Squash are quite notorious for unstable genetics (for some background see here). The Big Max variety is a deliberate attempt to select for specific traits, and since the cheapest way to get viable seed is through pollination with a suitable donor there is always a chance that something morphologically unexpected will emerge, particularly when there is only one plant in the sample. Similar behaviour can be seen in open pollinated tomatoes, where vegetative growth seems to stop. In the case of the tomato we can hope for a side shoot to take over the dominant leader role and prune with expectation of that behaviour.

One possibility is that by early removal of flowers once a single fruit has set and begun normal growth (standard practice when attempting record weights) that the hormonal balance in the plant has shifted to early maturity.

At this point probably the best hope is for a side shoot to take over growth; you might be able to encourage this with tip layering by ensuring that some existing nodes are covered with soil and kept damp.


Squash of many types are prone to get squash vine borers in the base of the stem that is close to the ground. These borers are larva which eat the inside of the stem and retard the nutrients that can get to the rest of the plant. Check the base of each stem, look for holes and frass just outside the holes.

To kill SVB push a pin through their body, or where you guess their body to be.

Squash, like pumpkins, are also heavy feeders. It's a good idea to give them fertilizer every 2 weeks, like a 12-12-12 fertilizer. 1/4 cup of 12-12-12 is fine for a plant that size, sprinkled evenly around the base of the plant.

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