INSIDE : Learn the best tips and methods for how to grow zucchini plants in pots. Whether you use stakes, trellises or cages growing zucchini vertically is so beneficial for small space vegetable gardens!
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For those of us with less than ideal vegetable garden spaces, sometimes we have to get a little creative with our plants! I have grown veggies for many years in small spaces and it has never been an issue in regards to my yield. Check out how to Create a Simple Raised Vegetable Garden and the Best Raised Vegetable Garden Tools to learn some of my tricks!
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One of the things that really helped me garden last year with less space was growing my Zucchini vertically. I was skeptical because typically zucchini plants can really take over a space quickly, but I tried it with two different methods and both worked.
What size container do I need to grow zucchini?
The first thing you need to take into consideration when growing zucchini in pots is the size of pot you are going to use. Zucchini comes in two different types, vining and bush (sometimes referred to as patio). If possible, select a bush plant for easier vertical growing. The bush varieties grow from a central point, which makes it easier in a pot.
With the bush variety, a 5 gallon container is what I grew mine in. I also use a 5 gal pot for growing my tomato plants, too. You can even go up to as big as a pot that is about 16 inches both deep and wide. But as always, make sure your container has drainage holes at the bottom.
How to grow Zucchini in a pot with a stake:
Once you have your zucchini planted in the pot, allow it to adjust and grow a bit before doing much to it. After you start to notice the plant has situated into it’s pot and before it gets growing too much, it’s time to add in your support structure. I used a 3′ bamboo stake for this plant and natural twine.
Place your stake as close to your plant as possible without damaging the leaves or plant stem. Then, using twine you can tie up your zucchini’s main stalk to keep it growing upright.
As your plant continues to grow, you can prune off the bottom hollow leaves. This step is not necessary, but I found it helped with decreasing pests due to debris sitting on the soil. It also makes it easier harvest your veggies once they start growing in.
(Wow, my summer dry skin looks like I’m 99 years old. #Desertliving)
Growing plants in plants versus in the ground, definitely means your plants will dry out more quickly. Here in the desert, I checked on my zucchini daily and just about daily they needed a watering. If you stick your finger into the soil and it’s dry about 2 inches down, it’s time to water.
With the stake method, it seemed about every week and a half or so, my plant would grow enough that I needed to add more natural twine to keep it growing properly.
How to grow Zucchini in a caged container:
I also tried the method of growing zucchini plants in a tomato cage like container. I already had this 5 gallon pot with an attached cage, but you can also use the simple wire cages and press them into the soil.
It’s important if you are using the cage method for your zucchini that you get your plant into the cage before it gets too big. Zucchini leaves are mostly hollow and they do not easily bend, so trying to bend one into a cage can get tricky and often ends with the leaf breaking off.
Don’t be afraid to remove leaves as needed to help with ease of harvesting, but also to improve air flow. Improving air flow is another way to reduce the chances that your plants will get fungal disease.
With the caged zucchini method, it’s important to check on the plant often to keep the leaves growing in each of the different levels.
Final comments about growing zucchini in pots:
- During the prime summer growing months, fertilize zucchini every other week.
- Sun is very important when growing zucchini. They need at least six hours of sunshine a day. Since you will be growing yours in pots, you can move them around to get all the sunshine they want!
- Try to avoid watering the leaves of your zucchini in pots. When leaves are wet they are more likely to develop things like powdery mildew.
- Zucchini need to be pollinated for successful fruit. If the flower is not pollinated, the fruit will stop growing, turn yellow and will rot or fall off. Planting companion plants nearby or sometimes even in the same pot, can help attract bees and other pollinators. Good zucchini companion plants are nasturtiums, lilac, mint or even bee balm.
- Harvesting zucchini while they are still quite small is best. They will often taste much better and it helps encourage your plant to continue growing new fruit.
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