How to Grow Chayotes – A Beginner’s Guide

chayotes plant growing in garden

Chayotes, which are known botanically as Sechium edule, are a type of vegetable that can easily be grown at home. Continue reading to learn the basics of growing chayotes as well as common mistakes to avoid along the way.

Quick Reference Guide for Growing Chayotes

Best Time to Plant 2 weeks after the last spring frost
Soil Type Well-drained, loamy soil
Soil pH 6.0-7.5
Seed Spacing 1″ apart in rows 3′ apart
Seed Depth 6-8″
Germination Time 10-14 days
Harvest Time 120-150 days from seed to harvest
Fruit Size 4-6″ in diameter
Safe for Bees Yes

Best Time to Plant Chayotes

This will depend largely on your local climate, but as a rule of thumb, begin to plant the chayote seeds 2 weeks after the last spring frost. This is the best time to ensure that the seedlings survive the weather.

To check when chayotes are most likely to thrive in your area, see the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map. If you live outside the US, do a quick search for ‘plant hardiness zone + [city]’.

How to Plant Chayotes the Right Way

There are a number of things to consider that will help you avoid some of the common mistakes of growing chayotes in your home garden. Often overlooked, your soil can have a huge impact on how well your chayotes grow. Generally, your soil should be well-drained, loamy. Soil PH levels should be around 6.0 to 7.5.

Sow the seeds 1″ apart in rows 3′ apart. The seeds should be sowed at a depth of about 6-8″. For each plant, be sure to sow at least a few seeds to ensure that at least one of them will germinate.

Begin thinning your chayote seedlings 10-12′ apart when seedlings are 3-4″ tall.

How Much Sunlight is Needed to Grow Chayotes

The amount of sunlight is another key to a successful harvest. Too much sunlight will dry out your chayotes. Not enough sunlight will stunt your its growth or even kill it. Ideally, your chayotes should be getting full sun.

How Much to Water Chayotes

As you’ve figured by now, a lot can have an impact on how well your chayotes do, and the amount of water is no different. Ideally, the soil should be damp to touch; not soggy or bone dry. If the leaves on your chayotes begin to change colors or start to look droopy, you need to adjust how much water you’re giving it.

Unfortunately, if you give it too much or too little water, you can kill it, so it’s best to just keep an eye on it and water as needed.

How Long Does it Take Chayotes to Germinate and Grow?

Now the fun part begins and you get to watch your chayotes grow. It takes approximately 10-14 days to germinate, and a total of 120-150 days from seed to harvest.

When to Harvest Chayotes

The best time to harvest your chayotes is when the fruit is about 4-6″ in diameter. Chayotes can grow up to about 20-30′ vines with 4-6″ fruit.

What Can Chayotes Be Used For?

Food Use: can be boiled, fried, or used in stews and soups.

Flavor Profile: mild, nutty flavor similar to a cucumber.

Can Chayotes Grow in Pots and Containers?

No, it is generally not advised to grow chayotes in pots or containers.

Are Chayotes Safe for Bees?

Yes, chayotes are safe for bees. According to, bees pollinate human food crops that make up about 90% of the world’s nutrition. Given their importance in our ecosystem and food supply, it is important to note that growing chayotes is bee-friendly.

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