Do you love zucchini but don’t know How to Grow it in a Pot? Knowing these secrets will help you!
Growing zucchini in containers is easy. Even if you are short of space, you can grow this vegetable in pots in your balcony or patio. Start growing zucchini seeds when the daytime temperature starts to stay around 60 F (15 C) and above 50 F (10 C).
The best zucchini to grow in pots are ‘Raven,’ ‘Eight Ball,’ ‘Geode,’ and ‘Jackpot Hybrid.’ You can grow these compact varieties in small space and harvest this container vegetable fresh without having a garden! Keep reading to find out how to grow zucchini in pots is easy or difficult.
Soil pH: 6.0-7.5
Botanical Name: Cucurbita pepo hybrid
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Growing Zucchini in Containers
1. Choosing a Container
Container that is 12-18 inches deep and wide similarly is apt for the zucchini plants. Also, it should have at least 4 to 5-gallons of holding capacity. Whether you choose plastic, ceramic, or terracotta, make sure it comes with drainage holes.
Plastic pots are cheaper and lightweight, but they are also non-porous and may encourage water-logging. Ceramic pots are attractive, yet heavy, and non-porous. However, terra cotta pots, being porous and aesthetic, offer the perfect balance.
Place your container zucchini plant in a sunny location. An area that receives six to eight hours of sun exposure will work fine for the plant.
Zucchini requires moist, organic, and well-draining potting mix to thrive and flourish. Make sure to use an aerated soil mix, loose enough to allow water retention, yet compact to drain out the excess water. Like all squash plants, zucchini grows best in mildly acidic soil (pH: 6.0 to 7.5).
Zucchinis are warm-weather crops that do best in bright, filtered sunlight. Daytime temperatures of around 70 F (21 C) and nighttime temperatures of 40 F (4 C) are conducive for their growth. Wait till the soil has attained at least a 60 F (15 C) before starting seeds. Plants grown in cold soil show stunted growth.
Zucchini is a pretty bulky plant, producing up to 10 pounds of fruit during the growing season. As a result, overplanting is out of the question. Additionally, it helps to ensure a 2-4 feet spacing between adjacent plants. This also allows air circulation and prevents the spread of diseases.
Zucchini needs optimum levels of water to grow around the year. Ensure the topsoil stays damp, and the soil remains moist till one-inch, at least. In the summer months, you may need to water the plant thrice a week and reduce this frequency during rainfall. Ideally, watering in dawn allows the foliage to dry off by nighttime, preventing the colonization of pathogenic pests.
Avoid overhead watering system, as it mainly directs the water on the foliage, promoting diseases in turn. Instead, trickle water slowly into the soil so that it gets ample time to penetrate before running off. If you live in a region subjected to heavy rains, manual watering with a hose is an economical option.
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Zucchini Plant Care
1. Pruning Zucchini Plant
Pruning zucchini plants help to curb their invasiveness while removing any dead or damaged stems and leaves.
Materials Needed: Bleach, bucket, water, gloves, and bypass pruning shears
How to Prune:
- Wait till the main stem of the plant grows up to 2-3 feet long because if you prune too early, the plant will not bear any fruits.
- Disinfect pruning shears in a solution containing three parts water and 1 part bleach. With pruning shears, trim off the side shoots and leaves, leaving a few, so that plants can grow and mature later.
- Additionally, snip off leaves and stems at the base of the plant once they turn yellow and crispy.
- Harvest fruits while pruning. Do not pull them off, as you’ll run the risk of damaging the mother plant.
Composting is an accurate way to ensure soil drainage and prolonged water retention. Spread a two-inch deep layer of compost over the soil and work it in, up to 8-inches deep, before planting your crops. Composting slows down water intake in sandy soils while making it easier to access the compacted soil mixes.
Zucchini does well with springtime mulching. Spread two-inch of organic mulch, involving shredded leaves and grass clippings, around seedlings. The mulch will warm up the soil, maintaining steady temperatures during growth, and will also promote moisture retention.
4. Fertilizer for Zucchini Plants
A general fertilizer, with 10-10-10 NPK, works best, as it contains nitrogen as well as potassium and phosphorous, to stimulate flowering and fruit production. When using a water-soluble fertilizer, dilute it further according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Alternatively, work in one-and-half pounds of granular fertilizers per 100-square feet into the soil. Preparing the bed with compost, before planting, can further limit the feeding requirement. Once the seedlings emerge, a small dose of general-purpose fertilizer will be enough.
Points to Consider During Fertilization
- Work in four inches of composted organic matter in the soil, per 100 square feet.
- If your compost is rich in soluble salts, consider waiting 3-4 weeks before planting to avoid salt injury.
- Water them every week, maintaining soil moisture at 1-2 inches.
- Water gently just before fertilizing, it will help in faster and effective penetration into the root system.
- Fertilize them before sowing or transplanting and during the flowering phase.
- Don’t allow the granules to come in contact with the plants; they may get burnt.
Although zucchini can be planted directly in the soil, starting them indoors will give the seeds a good head start, preparing them for the outside environment. Later, you can transplant the seedlings in the garden in spring.
Materials Needed: Black plastic, spade, scissors, and gloves
Points to Consider While Transplanting
- Use black plastic to cover the garden bed before transplanting. This will warm up the soil and boost growth.
- Place your seedlings outside, in a shelter, during the day. When the frost is gone, bring them inside to acclimatize before planting. Increase sun exposure gradually over a couple of days to lessen transplant shock.
- Make a hole in the garden bed, twice the size of the root cluster, of zucchini seedlings. All holes dug for planting should be spaced 2-3 inches apart.
- Gently place the seedlings into the holes, taking care not to damage the roots. Fill in with soil and press down gently to position them in place.
- Water newly transplanted zucchinis deeply. Maintain soil moisture until the seedlings begin to grow. After that, reduce watering to once or twice a week.
6. Pests and Disease
Zucchini plants are particularly sensitive to fungal diseases and insect attacks. Safeguard them from insects by keeping these points in mind.
- Grow disease-resistant container varieties of zucchini.
- Remove infected leaves to prevent spread and do not compost them.
- Use copper dust thrice a month, to limit the spread of fungal diseases.
- Do not water the foliage. Drip irrigation is a more controlled way of watering, as it keeps the leaves in good condition.
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Pollination and Harvesting
Zucchini plants are monoecious, which means the male and female flowers are borne on separate zucchini plants. In other words, pollination must occur between both genders of plants for fruits to form. Typically, bees and insects are the main agents in charge of pollination. If your Zucchini bears no fruit despite having lots of flowers, they’re probably not having enough bees around to carry out the pollination process. Either dab the pollen into the golden stigma of the female flower yourself or grow plants around that attract bees like stonecrop and lavender.
Harvest zucchini fruits as soon as they’re 4-inches long. These fruits grow an inch long every day, so it helps to check them every day during harvest. Zucchinis that are allowed to grow very large get all pulpy and bitter; you can harvest it within two months of planting.
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