Grow Cinderella Pumpkins for High Yield Harvests.

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Cinderella pumpkins, or Rouge Vif D’Etampes (their correct name), are indeed the best pumpkins to grow in your garden. I am very adamant about this for numerous reasons.

Sure, all gardeners have their favorites; favorite cukes, favorite tomatoes, favorite peas, but for me, I change things up every year. I try different cultivars and never plant something twice unless it was an absolute superstar in my garden and kitchen.

I mean, my garden produce needs to put on a show and dance for me all season to get a call back for next year.

But these beautiful pumpkins are different.   I planted a few Cinderella pumpkin vines in my first year gardening, and they wowed me! They are the only plants that ever got invited back to my garden every year.

If I could grow a field of them, I would; that is how much I love them.

cinderella pumpkins growing on the vine.  The pumpkin is bright orange red with brilliant green foilage.

A magical Pumpkin to grow in your vegetable gardens

Rouge Vif D’Etampe (Cinderella pumpkins, Fairytale pumpkins) are heirloom French pumpkins with a strikingly bright red-orange color and look like a giant wheel of cheese.   They were very popular in French farmer’s markets during the 1880s.

So why is it called a Cinderella pumpkin?   It is rumored Disney used the Rouge Vif D’Etampes as the design inspiration for cinderella’s carriage. It does, after all, look like a carriage fit for Disney princesses.

Call it by its correct name or common name – it doesn’t matter to me – in the end, I call them all pies.

But if you want to plant them, search for Rouge Vif D’Etampe on your heirloom seed packets, or you will be on some wild endless glass slipper chase through the kingdom.

Cinderella pumpkins – all the reasons they belong in your garden

Growing season – harvest – storage

Cinderella pumpkins need a 100 day growing season, which works exceptionally well for me in my short season.

I’m a northern gardener, and I have trouble finding reliable, hearty cultivars for my area. Varieties I choose have to produce, and they have to grow quickly. With a short season, it’s sometimes hit or miss if I get some crops indoors before the first snow hits.

That first snow for us can be as early as mid-September.   Yes, it is as bad as it sounds.

So if you’re like me and you want to carve pumpkins for Halloween, you need a sure-fire hit.

My Cinderella pumpkins are always the first to set and always the first to ripen. I usually get my pumpkins indoors before September, and with proper care and storage can last for months. I gave away two pumpkins in January that were still in perfect condition.

Disease resistance

The plants are also disease resistant to powdery mildew, which is a big deal in my garden.

I seem to struggle with powdery mildew with my pumpkins and my squashes.

In a bed where I had a few mounds of different pumpkins, all but the Cinderella pumpkins succumbed to powdery mildew. Nothing I did seemed to matter, and I pulled all the plants leaving behind only the Cinderella, which continued to thrive and produce all season.

I stopped planting other pumpkins; it just wasn’t worth the hassle!


Cinderella pumpkin yields

Last year I planted four seeds and wound up with 18 reasonably large Cinderella pumpkins. I had a few small pumpkins, but generally, they were all over 20 pounds. However, if you want to grow giant pumpkins, this is not the variety.

Each one, regardless of size, was perfectly round, beautifully flat, and vibrantly colored a deep red-orange.

It’s like that every year; they set quick, set heavy, and produce right up to the end of the season and ripen perfectly. As a result, these pumpkins are my most reliable crop every year.

I’ve planted other pumpkins and have never had the production and quality that I get from my Cinderella pumpkins.

Large orange cinderella  pumpkins next to old wooden cart wheel.

How to grow a bumper crop of Cinderella pumpkins

Cinderella pumpkins are excellent producers if you provide the right environment and care through the season.

Seed start early

Cinderella pumpkins take about 100 days to harvest. So I give myself a bit of leeway by seed, starting indoors about three weeks before the last frost of my season.

Plant in 4-6 inch pots, with a good seed starting soil, like Pro-mix.

Good lighting is a must, as is good airflow.

Harden off for a week before planting out, usually two weeks after your last frost date when the soil has warmed to at least 65F. Pumpkins require full sun to produce a good harvest so be sure to find a bright and sunny location for them to grow and trail.

You can directly sow pumpkins in the ground so long as your season is long enough to allow the pumpkins to mature.

Prepare your bed in advance

Preheat your garden beds: I cover all my beds with clear plastic sheeting as soon as I can clear the snow off. The clear plastic heats the soil in the garden beds significantly and lets me plant out a bit earlier. The warmer beds also help germination if you are planting directly with seeds.

Heating the beds also allows any weed seeds lying dormant to grow, get cooked, and die before I even plant out.

Lots of compost and fertilizer: The other important piece in preparing your pumpkin bed is to ensure that you fertilize well with healthy, rich compost.    Pumpkins grow fast and require nutrients to produce blooms, set, and grow all season long, so make sure they have what they need to thrive.

plant Companion plants with your Cinderella pumpkins

I have as many flowers in my small 600 square foot potager as I do vegetables.   They attract beneficial insects, like ladybugs, lacewings, and bees and add a great deal of beauty and charm.

When I harvest my pumpkins at the end of the season, my nasturtiums are still growing strong and in bloom, adding a much-needed punch of color to the autumn garden.

But there are several excellent companion plants that you can grow with your pumpkins for increased harvest, pest control, and for improving the growing environment.

See: Companion Plants for Pumpkins



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Space requirements and what I do in my garden

You do not need a lot of space to grow cinderella pumpkins. The vines trail, but I don’t find they go crazy, and they are pretty manageable. The vines wind down our brick paths and out over the yard.

This year I planted eight vines. Last year, in that bed, I planted four vines with a bed of corn. No issues.   I plant as tight as I can to maximize my space.   I’ve yet to have yield issues with such close planting, but I water well all season and fertilize every other week.

Since the Cinderella pumpkins are resistant to powdery mildew, I pack them in. So even though I planted eight vines in a bed, they did not overlap as I let them wander and trail outside the bed on the lawn and brick paths.

So long as you have room to let them wander, planting pumpkins only takes a few square feet to create a pumpkin patch.

Hand pollinating pumpkins

No bees? Not enough pollinators? Sometimes this can be an issue, and you get lots of blooms, lots of starts, but your baby pumpkins fall off the vine. When pumpkins drop, it is usually due to a lack of fertilization.

I have lots of bees in my garden, I created a buffet for them to come and hang around, but I still give my pumpkins every chance they have.

When a flower opens, I grab a stamen from another flower and manually pollinate with it. You need to go gentle and get as much of the pollen in there as you can. It is not always 100% successful, but it is another way to ensure a large crop of pumpkins comes fall.

If you find your first set of baby pumpkins fall off the vine, give hand-pollinating a try.

Water and more water

Water, water, and then more water. Pumpkins need watering. Not a sprinkle from a hose. They need a good deep soaking about every three days. I sometimes do it every two days if it is sweltering.

I set out soaker drip hoses and let them go for an hour at a time unless we have a good rain.

Pumpkin roots go deep as they search for water. So the more you can give them, the healthier the plants will be.

A box full of Cinderella Pumpkins on the Farm.

Don’t forget Bi- weekly fertilizer

As I said earlier, pumpkins are hungry little beasts. They do need the weekly boost from fertilizer or compost.

I used a good all-around organic fertilizer like Pro-mix Organic granular. I sprinkle it around the plant base, careful not to get it on the stem, and water it in with the hose.

A quick treat like this once a week and your garden bed will reward you with a healthy, beautiful crop of pumpkins.

Keep them off the wet ground to avoid blemishes

I put pieces of wood and upside-down plates under the pumpkins for them to rest. Supporting the bottoms of the pumpkins helps keep them dry and off the ground and prevents rotting and diseases from taking hold in the garden.

Grass also surrounds my garden, and the paths are brick, so I do not want to leave my Cinderella pumpkins to rest on either surface as they will create blemishes.   The bricks will leave indents on the rind, and if you leave your pumpkins to grow in the grass, the bottoms will turn very yellow. You also risk the bases rotting on you if they are always sitting in a moist environment.

Why Cinderella pumpkins belong in your kitchen

These bright orange pumpkins have creamy flesh that is perfect for baking. Oven-roasted, they produce a pumpkin puree that is neither watery nor bitter.   

These pumpkins have a sweet flavor, almost as sweet as sugar pumpkins. Cinderella pumpkins make excellent pumpkin pies, delicious savory soups, and

Traditional american fresh round bright orange homemade pumpkin pie in baking dish on wooden table.

How to make pumpkin puree

Cinderella pumpkins are easy to prepare in the kitchen. Their flatness makes it easy to roast two at once in the oven. They are easy to deseed, and once cooked, the flesh pulls easily away from the outer shell. The puree freezes beautifully and stores for up to a year.

From one single large twenty-pound pumpkin, you can expect to process about 20 cups of puree.   That’s a lot of pumpkins!

The taste is mild, slightly sweet, and creamy, and puts canned pumpkin to shame. However, the puree makes delicious pumpkin pies.

Measure your pumpkin puree before you freeze it, so you always pull out what you need. I save mine in 1-cup and 2-cup increments, perfect for pumpkin pound cakes or savory soup.

And if you want a great recipe for that pound cake, I found this one for a cinnamon cream cheese-coated pumpkin pound cake.

Oh, and don’t forget to roast those pumpkin seeds too!

SAFETY NOTE: *** Never water bath can pumpkin puree. You can pressure process the puree, but water bath canning will not penetrate the puree far enough to destroy all bacteria. ***

Learn More: We do have many food-preserving posts you may want to check out that are safe for long-term pantry and freezer storage:

pumpkin Storage

You do not need to bake and freeze all your pumpkins at once. If you have somewhere to store your pumpkins whole, they last for a long time before needing to be processed.

Some folks use a mild bleach solution on their pumpkins; I choose to give my pumpkins a good spray with hydrogen peroxide and let it sit for 5 minutes before I wipe and dry them.   I never had one rot on me, and the skin always stays fresh.

The recommended time for storage is 12 weeks, but I have had cinderella pumpkins in my cold room for five months without any issue.

Cinderella pumpkins, also known as Rouge Vif d'Etampes..

Watch em grow!

Rouge vif d’etampes grow quick. They are fun to watch in the garden due to the rapid growth spurts that they go through.   It’s also fun to watch them turn from bright yellow to brilliant orange and then take their final transition to the deep red-orange they turn at the end of the season.

Then, of course, their inevitable transition into pies…..or jack o’lanterns.

Oh, and if you like garden-to-table type recipes, you might enjoy this delicious gooey, rhubarb jam recipe that requires no sugar!   Or check out my favorite pickle recipe that I salvaged from a 100-year-old homesteading manual.

Or, if you want a smokey kick to your pumpkin spice soup, check out this method for making smoked salt.   The smoked salt is a perfect addition to any savory pumpkin recipe!

Want to Learn More About Vegetable Gardening and Food Self Sufficiency?

Check out these posts for more information about the vegetable garden and food storage: 


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  1. Pumpkins have done well in my short growing season. I just bought some Cinderella seeds for next year because I liked the description. Thanks for the article. Now I’m even more excited about them.
    PS Yes, a deer just ate one of my Sugar Pie pumpkins that had escaped from my fenced enclosure. But I was happy to share. I predict that the deer will spread lots of seeds and I will have even more volunteer pumpkins.

    1. We recently moved and I have a much larger backyard now and I am both eager to start growing a BIG pumpkin patch but I am worried about the deer! In our back acre, we see deer daily – I’m going to bet our pumpkins feed them well. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment, it’s always appreciated! I hope you enjoy your cinderella pumpkins next year. 🙂

  2. This is such a helpful article. Thank you so much. How did you plant the nasturtium seeds with your pumpkins? As a border around the area or between the pumpkin plants as well?

    1. Hi there, I planted the nasturtiums around the edge and let them run wild. I had the ones that trailed, so they tangled in with the pumpkin vines. Hope that helps!

  3. I absolutely loved your article. I purchased a Cinderella pumpkin this year and it started to go back about a week or so after I bought it. I have saved seeds from it and will plant next year. Have you ever had any problems with deer eating your plants? I have had problems this year.

    1. Hi Mary, so very sorry for the very late reply to your comment. For some reason, your comment got caught up in my spam filter (no idea why!). I haven’t had any problems with deer or moose this year, but my garden is nestled between two houses in the middle of our small town. I have friends that have gardens outside of town and yes deer seem to gravitate toward the pumpkin vines for some reason. We’re in the process of moving to an acreage with a tiny bit of forest in the back and I’ve been warned about the deer and moose. Since I have to start my garden over again I plan on double fencing the vegetable garden to keep the little darlings out (apparently they won’t jump a double fence) There are a few plants that deer don’t like but planting them around the garden doesn’t seem to deter them, they tend to avoid those plants and pick and eat around them. There are deer deterrents you can use, spays, and whatnot, but I have never used them or tested them.

  4. We’ve lived Cinderella pumpkins since we were introduced to them several years ago. About 3 years ago I decided to save some seeds from one and have been growing them since. My problem has been vine borers until this year. I finally got the plants to grow healthy, or so I thought until just in the last few weeks one of my plants has started looking sickly and my first pumpkin started to rot on the vine. My second plant is doing well and I almost have one ready, but there aren’t any other fruit that are successfully growing to speak of. I’ve always had horrible squash bugs, but been able to keep up with them fairly well so far this year. I have great pollination. I have had high heat the last couple of weeks though, like around 100 F. Could the heat be a problem?

    1. Hi Andrea, drought can cause all kinds of issues for pumpkins and Curbits in general. If the plant gets strained from lack of water it weakens their immunity and can allow diseases to take hold. As for squash bugs, I plant nasturtiums all around my pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers to repel squash bugs and I can tell you that it actually works.

      My suggestion is to start with a new batch of seeds next year – do not save seeds from this year’s pumpkins. There are diseases that are seed born, and I wouldn’t risk next year’s crop. Mulch around the plants very very well. We had a very dry summer last year and my pumpkins suffered a bit until I put down a 4-inch layer of straw around the plants. Any mulch you use will help the ground retain moisture longer and will help prevent deep drying of the soil.

      The mulch also serves a second purpose, it will keep the pumpkins off the ground, and help to avoid splashing of water from the soil to the plants. This is usually how diseases are spread in the garden, putting a layer between the soil and the plants is a good way to help prevent some of it from spreading. My other piece of advice is to make sure you do not plant pumpkins (or any squash for that matter ) in that same place next year. I hope that helps!

  5. Hi there! I was really inspired by your article here and scourged my entire city for seeds. I started them well in advance inside and they did wonderful. Then I had a bad hug infestation in my brand new planter bed that I had built and readied, so I babysat the seedlings. Then I forgot them in the sun and burnt them bad one afternoon. *facepalm* I was so sad. No store sold the plants anywhere. So I stuck the two crispy little seedlings in the bed, and a month later they have exploded. Completely unexpected. I may have crowded them, but I was really thinking they were goners. Anywho, sorry for the long story. I read that it is very difficult to transplant pumpkin. Is there any way I can train the vine or trim it? Any suggestions would be loved! Thank you thank you!!!

    1. Hi Lydia, I totally know all about cooking my plants, I seem to do it every year to at least a few seedlings. Its good to hear that the seedlings still made it, despite all those speedbumps. They really are hardy little pumpkin plants.

      Don’t trim your vines, trimming them will stunt the growth and the blossoms. I sometimes train mine up very sturdy trellises. You can train them up a trellis but you will need to hammock the pumpkins so they do not break off at the stem. They are strong, but I always err on the side of caution with my pumpkins. I make hammocks out of pantyhose (new ones!) and nestle new growing pumpkins in the hammocks. The pantyhose do not hold water and stretch as the pumpkins grow. Some years I grow them up because I love the way they look and it makes tending to the brick paths around my garden much easier. Other years I just let them go and grow wherever they want.

      I find they do not wander too far, unlike other pumpkins. You also do not have to worry too much about overcrowding, just ensure each plant is growing in a different direction. You don’t want too much crowding of the leave because that’s a way to encourage dampness. Dampness usually causes issues with things like pests and powdery mildew. I find my pumpkins are very resistant to powdery mildew, but it can still happen if the leaves are overlapped too much.

      In your situation, if the plants were severely overcrowding the leaves, with lots of overlapping I would pull one. At this point in the season, the likelihood of the plant thriving is low. It would need to reestablish roots, and will likely not put out any additional blossoms until it does. You could certainly try to do it, you never know what will happen. If the remainder of your season is perfection, that little plant might do ok.


  6. This by far is one of the best planting articles I have ever read. No fillers, all interesting information. My first try at growing pumpkins this year and I have never made a pie from scratch…excited to try. You now have a follower…thank you!

    1. Oh, Irene, I guarantee you will LOVE these pumpkins. If you like baking with pumpkin, I cannot recommend a pumpkin more. There are sweeter pumpkins to be sure, but none seem to set and give me a harvest like these pumpkins do and I am guaranteed to have a freezer full of pumpkin puree every year for all my fall baking. Thanks so much for leaving such a lovely comment, it really made my day. Cheers!

  7. I was wondering what you think about growing the pumpkins vertically or are the fruit too heavy?

    1. Hi Jackie, these pumpkins can get quite large sometimes, so vertical growing – ahh I wouldn’t recommend it unless the structure was very sound, very strong and you used large hammocks to secure the pumpkins as they grew.

  8. Approx how long is a vine of the Rouge Vif D’Etampe pumpkin. I grow a few smaller 1-2 pumpkins up over an arched fence and they do well. The Rouge Vif D’Etampe would have to be ground and I would love to add a few vines this season.
    Great Article!

    1. Hi Patti, the vines only go about 6-10 feet, but that is up here in the cold north. I have a potager style garden and my beds are fairly close. I grow my pumpkins in my furthest back bed and let them wander how they wish, and they never overtake another bed. They do grow up the sides a bit, but I don’t think I ever had a vine go past the next closest bed. I find the vines are more compact and they don’t take over the garden as other pumpkins can. I really hope you grow a few! Everyone has their favorite things to grow and for me, it’s my Cinderella pumpkins and chocolate stripe tomatoes. Can’t be without either! Cheers.

  9. Hi, I loved this article! I was just wondering how you clean and dry your seeds to plant. I purchased several of these pumpkins at my local grocery store and they have lasted so well. I’d love to save the seeds and try growing our own. Do you dry them indoors or outdoors and for how long? Thank you for sharing all your wonderful knowledge!

    1. HI Dennell, great question!

      I rinse my seeds under cool water to remove all the goop. When they are clean I add them to a piece of paper towel, or brown paper bag (space them out so they don’t touch) and let them air dry for about a week. Once they are dry I store them in a labeled envelope for the following year.

      Pumpkin seeds are good for growing up to 6 years. Always mark the year on your seeds envelope too and dry more than you will think you will need. One year my seeds were not viable, no clue why that happened, but none of my seeds from the following year popped, but I had extra leftover from the year before.


  10. I bought a Cinderella pumpkin to try for my pies. It has a different smell than a regular pumpkin. Is that unusual ? It doesnt smell like a po pumpkin. I’m going to purchase another and cut it open and see if it has that same smell. It started to have soft spots, but was not rotten. Can you help ? Thank you

    1. Hi Teri, If the pumpkin smells bad, there is something wrong. My Cinderella pumpkins smell sweet, almost like a combination between a cucumber and a cantaloupe with a slight sweetness to them. The scent is something that is hard to pinpoint, but my rule of thumb is if it smells off to me, I don’t use it for cooking. With that said, my cinderella pumpkins last me a really long time in storage. I have a few in my basement that I will still be using well into late December and I have never had one go off on me, but I have had things like squashes go off on me in storage well before their time, so it is entirely possible your pumpkin did the same.

  11. Great article that I will bookmark for next season!! Do you ever save seeds from these to plant the following spring or do you suggest purchasing new seed each season.

    1. Hi Elizabeth. I do save my seeds. These are heirloom pumpkins, and so long as they do not cross-pollinate they are perfect for replanting the following season. When my flowers first show, I cover a few of them with mesh, and when they open, I use the male flowers to pollinate. It’s not always a guarantee, but I manage to get a few pollinated this way. Hand pollinating this way guarantees that the pumpkins are not cross-pollinated. I usually tie a ribbon around the vine nearest to the pumpkins I manually pollinated so I know which ones I need to keep for seeds.

      At the end of the season, I choose the best ones for seed saving. My pumpkins keep getting better and better!

    1. Hi Kelly, you will not be disappointed, these pumpkins always seem to yield heavy for me. Even in bad seasons (like we just had), my pumpkins outperformed everything else. Thanks so much for leaving such a thoughtful comment it truly is appreciated. Cheers!

  12. Hi,
    Liked the whole story of Cinderella,quite encouraging.intending to get these seeds in KENYA ,AFRICA for a trial here with tropical climate.How can I get some?

    1. Hi Victor. I can save and send you seeds next spring if you don’t mind waiting for them. If you email me your address I can get a batch out once they are clean and dried for you to test. Email me @littleyellowwheelbarrow@gmail.com. If you are looking to plant soon you want to look for rouge vif d’etampes seeds as that is the true name of these pumpkins and usually how most seed suppliers list them for sale.

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