Ornamental pumpkins

What is fall without ornamental pumpkins!? A gorgeous autumn display of pretty pumpkins goes a long way towards creating that cozy fall feeling. While there are endless different types of pumpkins, a few varieties stand out as stunning ornamental pumpkins to add to your seasonal display this fall. Here are 7 of the top varieties to look for this year.

Cinderella ornamental pumpkin - photo by mary jane duford
Photo credit: mary jane duford

1. Cinderella pumpkins

Cinderella Pumpkins are among the most popular types of heirloom pumpkins for fall displays. Cinderella Pumpkins have a vibrant red-orange rind and a classic flattened shape (that truly does look like Cinderella’s carriage). This variety is from France, where it is called “Rouge Vif d’Etampes”.

Most Cinderella Pumpkins weigh about 10-20 pounds. While they are gorgeous in autumn displays, they are also gourmet culinary pumpkins. The sweet flavor and smooth texture are ideal for both baking and savory dishes like fall soups and stews. The Cinderella Pumpkin is a cultivar of Cucurbita maxima.

Porcelain doll ornamental pumpkins - photo credit mary jane duford
Photo credit: mary jane duford

2. Porcelain Doll pumpkins

Porcelain Doll Pumpkins are quickly becoming a go-to variety for autumn decor. These modern hybrids have a gorgeous pale pink rind color, making them unique among decorative pumpkins. A portion of proceeds from Porcelain Doll Pumpkins goes to support breast cancer research (read more from the Pink Pumpkin Patch Foundation).

Porcelain Doll Pumpkins are usually in the range of 15-25 pounds each. If that’s too large for your display, the breeder behind this variety has also developed a smaller version: Porcelain Princess. Porcelain Princess pumpkins have the same pink rind, but weigh only 7-10 pounds each.

Blue ornamental pumpkins
Photo credit: mary jane duford

3. Jarrahdale pumpkins

Jarrahdale Pumpkins are classic blue pumpkins that are very popular for autumn displays. A favorite heirloom pumpkin from Australia, Jarrahdale Pumpkins have a grey-blue rind and blocky ribs. This heritage variety has been used to develop many other types of blue pumpkins available today.

Jarrahdale Pumpkins tend to weigh in the range of 12-18 pounds but can grow much larger if conditions are favorable. Jarrahdale Pumpkins are fantastic in savory fall dishes and store exceptionally well through winter. The Jarrahdale pumpkin is a cultivar of Cucurbita maxima.

Big max ornamental pumpkin - pic credit mary jane duford
Photo credit: mary jane duford

4. Big Max pumpkins

Big Max Pumpkins are giant ornamental pumpkins with a richly colored orange rind. While many giant pumpkins tend to have a blob-like shape, Big Max Pumpkins are nicely rounded. Big Max Pumpkins can be displayed whole or carved to make the biggest Jack-o-Lantern on the block!

Individual Big Max Pumpkins routinely grow to 50 pounds, sometimes topping 100 pounds in good conditions. Big Max pumpkins are not only ornamental but can also be used to make pumpkin puree or roasted pumpkin for an autumn dish. The Big Max Pumpkin is a cultivar of Cucurbita maxima.

5. Fairytale pumpkins

Fairytale Pumpkins are another popular French heirloom pumpkin commonly displayed as ornamental pumpkins in the fall. Fairytale Pumpkins, also called Musquée de Provence, have a dusky matte rind that begins as a dark green shade and matures to a beige-brown hue. Fairytale Pumpkins have chunky ribs and a classic old-fashioned pumpkin shape.

These pumpkins tend to grow to 15-20 pounds each. Fairytale Pumpkins are not only ornamental but also a sought-after culinary variety. Musquée de Provence is one of the best types of pumpkin for making pumpkin pie filling (along with other gourmet picks like Dickinson Pumpkins and Long Pie Pumpkins). The Fairytale Pumpkins is a cultivar of Cucurbita moschata.

Cheese pumpkin - ornamental and decorative pumpkin varieties
Photo credit: mary jane duford

6. Long Island Cheese pumpkins

Long Island Cheese Pumpkins are American heirloom pumpkins with a cream-colored rind. True to their name, these beauties do look like a wheel of cheese! The soft hue of this pumpkin makes it perfect for minimalist fall displays with muted tones.

Long Island Cheese Pumpkins typically weigh about 6-10 pounds each. This variety is popular for pies and is also a great long-term storage pumpkin. The Long Island Cheese Pumpkin is a cultivar of Cucurbita moschata (like many other excellent pie pumpkins).

Ornamental pumpkins - blue doll - photo by mary jane duford - home for the harvest
Photo credit: mary jane duford

7. Blue Doll pumpkins

Blue Doll Pumpkins are modern hybrid pumpkins with blue rinds and bright orange interiors. These eye-catching fruits have thick ribs and a classic flattened ornamental pumpkin shape.

Blue Doll Pumpkins tend to weigh 15-20 pounds each. This is another variety that does double duty, both as an ornamental pumpkin and as a gourmet cooking pumpkin. The bright orange flesh is attractive in pies and cozy autumn soups.

Mary Jane Duford
Mary Jane Duford

Mary Jane Duford is a quintessential Canadian gardener. An engineer by trade, she tends to an ever-expanding collection of plants. In her world, laughter blooms as freely as her flowers, and every plant is raised with a dash of Canadian grit.

Mary Jane is a certified Master Gardener and also holds a Permaculture Design Certificate. She's also a proud mom of three, teaching her little sprouts the crucial difference between a garden friend and foe.

When she's not playing in the dirt, Mary Jane revels in her love for Taylor Swift, Gilmore Girls, ice hockey, and the surprisingly soothing sounds of bluegrass covers of classic hip-hop songs. She invites you to join her garden party, a place where you can share in the joy of growing and where every day is a new opportunity to find the perfect spot for yet another plant.

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