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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

Brilliant Melon

Other Common Names Include:

Canary Melon, Casaba Melon, Christmas Melon, Melon.

Latin Name: Cucumis melo

Plant Family: Cucurbitaceae

Close Relatives: Cucumber, melon and squash

Uses and Markets: Culinary (traditionally in Asia, Africa and other tropical regions): typically eaten raw, but may be dried or prepared similar to conventional melons.  These melons have a different appearance and flavour than typical North American melons and appeal to different ethno-cultural groups.

Brilliant melon: plant Brilliant melon: fruit
Production Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Some cucurbit crops respond well to season extension techniques including plastic mulch. For more information on season extension, refer to the General Agronomics section.  

Propagation method

Most commonly by transplants from seeds, less commonly by direct seeding.

Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates

Late April or early May.

Field Seeding Date:

After last frost.

Field Transplanting Dates

After last frost, 3-5 weeks after greenhouse seeding.

In-row spacing

50-90 cm

Between row spacing

1.5-2.0 m

Optimal Soil temperature at planting

Delay planting until the soil temperature is 15°C or higher.  The optimum soil temperature range at planting is 25°C-30°C.


Apply up to 110 kg/ha N. Broadcast 65 kg/ha N and all the phosphate and potash required prior to planting. Sidedress the remainder of the nitrogen before the vines start to run. On sandy soils, a second application may be necessary after the vines begin to run. Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

All soil types.  Well-drained soil.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit


Optimal Temperature Range

Prefers a temperate warm climate.

Temperature sensitivity

Frost sensitive.

Irrigation requirements

Irrigation is required under normal Ontario conditions.

Days to harvest

70-90 days

Specialized equipment


Harvest Scheduling

Multiple harvests from the same planting.

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Hand harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades. Quality is determined by the market.

Additional Harvest Notes

 If possible, harvest during cooler parts of the day to reduce moisture loss and cooling costs. Remove field heat as soon as possible after harvest.

Post harvest
Special handling/curing


Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 90-95%

Temperature: 5-7°C 

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: 10-21 days

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates: Cucumber beetles, aphids (e.g. Aphis gossypii).

Diseases: Downy mildew, powdery mildew, alternaria blight, gummy stem blight, virus, fusarium wilt.

Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Two-spotted spider mites, leafhoppers, squash bugs

Diseases: Damping off and root rots, bacterial wilt, angular leaf spot, scab, anthracnose,  phytophthora blight, septoria seaf Spot.

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions.


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: downy mildew, powdery mildew, cucumber beetle.  This crop may be susceptible to many of the same pests as melons, cucumber and squash.  Downy mildew is a serious disease of cucurbit crops.  Cucumbers are the most susceptible to infection, however melons and other cucurbit crops can be affected by certain pathotypes of this disease.  Downy mildew is wind borne and highly infectious. In susceptible cucurbits, it can destroy on unprotected crop in less than 1 week.

This crop is in Crop Group 9: Cucurbit Vegetable Group and Subgroup 9A: Melon Subgroup. For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section.  Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist. For pest control products registered on cucurbits refer to OMAFRA Publication 838. For more information on pests of cucurbits in Ontario, refer to OMAFRA’s Ontario CropIPM tool or vegetable production and protection publications.

Cucumber beetle Melon aphid, Aphis gossypii Downy mildew on cucurbit Powdery  mildew on cucurbit Alternaria on cucurbit Gummy stem blight on cucurbit Virus on cucurbit
Additional Notes

Check for pollinator activity at early bloom.  Introduce honeybees if necessary.

Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Elford, E., Filotas, M., Todd, J., and S. Westerveld. 2009. Non-traditional crops demonstration garden. OMAFRA Simcoe Resource Centre, unpublished.
  1. Munro, D. B., and E. Small.  1997.  Vegetables of Canada.  NRC Research Press, Ottawa.
  2. Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.  2010.  Publication 363 Vegetable Production Recommendations 2010-2011.  Queen’s Printer for Ontario, Toronto.