The watermelon has been cultivated in China for more than 1000 years. During most of this period, indigenous cultivars and traditional cultivation practices were used. In the last decade, many improved cultivars have been developed and the use of plastic mulch and other improved cultural practices have been utilized. China has become the largest producer of watermelons with the production area increasing to 1 million hectares and 15 million tons in 1988.
Watermelons are grown in almost all production areas of China. The production areas are: the Northwest inland dry region, the North China plain region, and the Changjiang (Yantzi river) valley rainy region. Severe injury and crop losses occur from Fusarium wilt, (Fusarium oxysporium v. niveum) anthracnose (Colletotrichum laginarium), and gummy stem blight (Didymella bryonaea). Cooperative breeding and developmental work was initiated between the Dept. of Horticulture, Auburn University and the Hubei Academy of Aggricultural Science and the Hubei Agricultural College, Jing Zhou to evaluate cultivar and germplasm and to develop multiple disease resistant melons that produce high yields of excellent quality fruit.