Winter Squash Varieties: How To Choose A Winter Squash Plant

Winter Squash Varieties: How To Choose A Winter Squash Plant

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By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer

When it comes to types of winter squash, gardeners have a hugeselection from which to choose. Winter squash varieties include large, mediumand small squash in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Growing wintersquash is easy and the sprawling vines grow like crazy with a couple of verybasic requirements – fertile, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.

Wondering how to choose a wintersquash for your garden? Read on for more details about differentkinds of winter squash.

Winter Squash Varieties

Acorn – Acornsquash is a small squash with a thick, green and orange rind. Theorange-yellow flesh has a sweet, nutty flavor.

Buttercup – Buttercupsquash is similar in size to acorn squash, but the shape is round and squat.Buttercup’s rind is dark green with pale gray-green stripes. The bright orangeflesh is sweet and creamy.

Butternut – Butternutsquash is pear-shaped with a smooth, butter-yellow rind. The brightorange flesh has a nutty, sweet flavor.

Delicata – Delicatasquash has a flavor much like sweet potatoes, and this small squashis often known as the “sweet potato squash.” The skin is creamy yellow withgreen stripes, and the flesh is yellow-orange.

Blue Hokkaido – BlueHokkaido squash, which is actually a type of pumpkin, has a deliciously sweet,nutty flavor. The skin is grayish-blue and the flesh is bright orange.

Hubbard – Hubbardsquash, with a chunky teardrop shape, is one of the largest types ofwinter squash. The bumpy rind may be gray, green or bluish-gray.

Banana – Bananasquash is a huge squash with an elongated shape. The rind may bepink, orange or blue and the flesh is bright orange. Many people considerbanana squash to be one of the most versatile and flavorful winter squashvarieties.

Turban – Turbansquash is a large squash with a rounded bump on the top, much like a turban.While turban squash is often used for its ornamental value, it is edible with asweet, mild flavor.

Sweet Dumpling – Sweetdumpling squash is one of the smallest kinds of winter squash. The rind isoff-white, with yellow or green speckles. The golden flesh is sweet and nutty.

Spaghetti – Spaghettisquash is a large, pale yellow squash with an oblong shape. Oncecooked, the stringy golden flesh resembles spaghetti, and often serves as aspaghetti substitute.

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Both winter and summer squashes are easy-to-grow, delicious additions to a vegetable garden. These prolific plants grow either as trailing vines or bushy plants. Among other differences, summer squashes thrive in hot climates and mature quickly, so they're well suited to areas with short growing seasons Winter squashes require up to 110 days to mature and are intolerant of both high heat and humidity, making them a challenge to grow in Mediterranean climates or near the coast.

The Best Types of Winter Squash

There are numerous kinds of squash, from thin-skinned delicata to hefty Hubbard squash.

Butternut Squash

Most people are familiar with butternut squash. It’s a large squash that can reach a foot long and features tan skin. Sometimes, it might have light stripes going down the fruit lengthwise. You can interchange butternut squash with sweet potatoes.

Acorn Squash

Acorn squash is a smaller squash than butternut. It’s delicious, but the preparation can be a bit tricky since it’s hard to remove the edible portion of the fruit out of the peel. Since they’re smaller, they only feed 1-2 people, so you need to grow more of these than other types.

Kabocha Squash

Called a Japanese pumpkin, kabocha squash has a thicker skin that’s similar to a rind, and only has a few seeds. It doesn’t offer as much edible flesh as other types, so you’ll need to grow several plants to feed a family all winter.

Spaghetti Squash

If you’ve tried eating a Whole 30 or Paleo diet, then you know what spaghetti squash is. The inside has long strings that are pale or yellow, and you can use it to substitute for pasta. Try adding tomato sauce over the top it’s so good!


Pumpkins are such a beloved winter squash that we have an entire guide dedicated to growing them.


Honeynut squash is a cross between butternut and buttercup squash. It has a bell shape with dark orange skin and flesh. It’s incredibly sweet.


Buttercup isn’t as popular for growing as other winter squash varieties, and that’s a shame. It looks like a small, green pumpkin. Inside, the flesh is orange, sweet, and creamy.


Delicata squash is gaining in popularity and for good reason. It has an oblong shape and is pale yellow with green pinstripes. Part of what makes it so great – beyond looking nice in a fall display – is that you can eat the skin.

It tastes a lot like a butternut squash without all the work.


Hubbard squash can get huge – up to 15 pounds. They have a thick, textured skin that can be hard to get through. Once you do, you’ll be treated to sweet, slightly grainy flesh.


Calabaza squash has a squat shape and comes in a range of colors and patterns. The firm yellow flesh surrounds a cavity filled with tasty seeds.

It tastes somewhat like a butternut or acorn squash.

Watch the video: 10 Vegetables You Should ALWAYS Grow