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 59°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 39 inches 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

28 Jun 24, Rose (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can Choko plants be purchased in the Wairarapa?
31 Mar 24, Robyn Douglass (New Zealand - temperate climate)
How to prune choko plant to keep it s.all as I only have a small garden area
28 May 24, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Not the crop to grow in a small area.
17 Nov 23, Kerry (Australia - temperate climate)
Where can I buy choko please, live on north west coast Tasmania , in st Helen’s now for week end , I go to Launceston regularly. Thank you regards kerry
25 Nov 23, (Australia - temperate climate)
Ask in a shop if you want to eat or plant. Otherwise they don't grow in temperate or cool/mountain areas. Need tropical - sub tropical climate by this website.
15 Oct 23, dz (USA - Zone 10a climate)
my wife brought home a couple of Chayote that had started sprouting tiny roots out the bottom, so I researched and found that you can carefully split the fruit in half and retrieve the seed, you do not need to plant the entire fruit, but you must be very careful splitting the chayote because the seed is soft, not hard like an avocado or mango, and easily damaged when splitting the fruit. Then I planted them in small starter containers in the kitchen window, and after a few weeks when the shoots had gotten about 2 inches tall, I transplanted them outside into a 5-gallon bucket with a heavy-duty tomato cage as a trellis. A few weeks later one had been eaten by pests and died, but the other is growing and about 6 inches tall. I know this is the wrong timing for growing chayote, but since the seeds had already sprouted roots, I wanted to see what I could do with them. If the one remaining vine survives the winter here in Zone 10A, like my tomatoes and eggplants usually do, maybe it will flower and fruit next year. If a seed package or even a very reputable web site like Gardenate posts a recommended panting time, and your circumstances don't match that recommended timing, try it anyway, you never know what the results might be unless you try. I'll plant potatoes year-round whenever I have any potatoes sprouting slips. I may only get a few baby potatoes when panted "out of season", but it was either try to grow the sprouts or add them to the compost bin. I also grow garlic in Zone 10A even though it is recommended not to. They are smaller than if grown in better climates, but small garlic is better than no garlic, it still tastes great, just use two cloves instead of one.
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.
Showing 1 - 10 of 267 comments

The only climate zone they say here for growing choko is sub-tropical. You could try and see what happens.

- Anonymous

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