Growing Choko/Chayote, also Chayote squash, christophene, chouchou, mirliton

Sechium edule : Cucurbitaceae / the gourd family

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec

Not recommended for growing in USA - Zone 5a regions

  • Easy to grow. Plant whole mature fruit when one produces a shoot at one end.. Best planted at soil temperatures between 15°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 100 cm apart
  • Harvest in 17-25 weeks. Best when fruit is light green and not more than 6 cm long.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Cucumbers
  • Choko (cayote) on vine

Choko is only suitable for warmer climates but frequent hot nights will slow flowering. Fruit production is highest when night temperatures range from 59 - 68 F (15 - 20 C). Plant in a warm, unused corner of the garden. Leave the shoot sticking out of the ground and it will take off. Choko needs a long growing season, about 4 - 6 months but in that time it will spread and can be useful to cover old sheds or fences!

An average household would need one or two plants.

Leaves rather like cucumber and some prickles on the fruit. Some variation in fruit, with lighter green and few prickles depending on variety. The differences seem to be between countries eg. USA, Australia, Malta.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Choko/Chayote

Chokos can be peeled and chopped to use in stews, soup or as a stir fry vegetable.
Cooked or raw, it has a very mild flavour and is commonly served with seasonings eg. salt, butter and pepper or in a dish with other vegetables and/or flavourings. It can also be boiled, stuffed, mashed or pickled.

Your comments and tips

08 May 23, Diane Jackson (Australia - tropical climate)
Why are my small chokos going brown on bottom and dropping off,
13 May 23, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Spread some epsom salts around the root base and water in. It could be blossom end rot. Happens in tomatoes - maybe chokes also. I good hand full or two in a bucket or two of water and spread evenly.
21 Feb 23, Melanie (Australia - temperate climate)
I’ve heard that if you are growing chokos u need a male and female for them to flower properly I can’t get mine to flower?
22 Feb 23, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Don't know about the male female thing. Has to have plenty of sun.
14 Feb 23, Rianna Rothman (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My choko is growing like crazy, planted in May 2022 but still no flowers or fruit. When will it start flowering?
22 Feb 23, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Back off fertilising it and cut the watering down.
05 Dec 22, Tamra Stafford (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Our choko vine produces very well, but the majority of the chokos appear to be stung or dimpled. What is doing this, and can we stop it.
24 Nov 22, Beeve (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Where can we actually get a choko, to grow
26 Jul 22, Nori (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
When do I start cutting down the plant. Is it during winter season? Tks
27 Jul 22, Julie Pannell (Australia - temperate climate)
Cut back the vines to about 12 inches above ground after the last choko has been picked, closer to the end of winter. They will have very little growth for ages and then grow again when the time is right. The leaves can be dead at the beginning of vines but still keep fruit growing at the ends. They fruit for many months.
Showing 1 - 10 of 259 comments

Best I can suggest is keep a few of the very last ones of this crop. Put them in the pantry. They could take a few months before they start to sprout. The new vine could grow a few feet long by the time you plant. Or say spring time plant them in a 9L bucket or tin etc and grow them there until plant out time.

- Anonymous

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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