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

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 approximately 17 weeks. Best when fruit is light green and not more than 6cm long.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Cucumbers
  • Choko (cayote) on vine
    Choko (cayote) on vine

Choko is only suitable for warmer climates. But frequent hot nights will slow flowering. Fruit production is highest when nightime 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. It needs a long growing season, about 4 - 6 months. But in that time it will spread itself a lot 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 e.g., 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

26 Aug 17, Cathie (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
My choko vine is healthy and gets flowers no fruit forms we have native bees live between Yeppoon and Rockhampton given potash, composted manure is it lacking something and what Ph they like
28 Aug 17, Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
The notes here say plant Oct-Nov. Maybe yours is a bit out of season. We have had a very mild Winter. Don't go too hard with the potash - maybe only put potash on when it has flowered and fruit has set. Google about growing it - it needs warm weather to grow.
28 Aug 17, Darren (Australia - temperate climate)
Despite your vine having flowers, how old is it? On this site, it states that chokoes need a long growing season of 4 to 6 months.
08 Aug 17, Kath ingram (Australia - cool/mountain climate)
Id like to grow chokos we live in cooma nsw n was wondering if i would be able to grow them in a greenhouse
18 Jun 17, Patrick webstet (Australia - temperate climate)
What time of year do I plant chokos on the central coast of Nsw l live At kulnura
20 Jun 17, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
25 May 17, Daisy Ann Cumming (Australia - temperate climate)
What's the time to plant chocos?
25 May 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Chokos are frost-tender perennials. To establish a choko plant choose or buy a couple of good sized, smooth skinned chokos and leave them on a bench until they begin to sprout. Stem and leaves will come first and roots will grow some time later. If you are still having frosts you then plant it in a pot so that the fruit is covered and the new growth is just below the soil level. Plant it outside after the likelihood of frosts is past. Chokos are strong growers and can cover a big area in a good season so plant it where it will have plenty of room to grow. In cooler areas the plant will die back in the winter but re-sprout from the perennial root in the spring.
29 Apr 17, danny (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
what causes the the leaves to go powder like and kills the vine on the choko
30 Apr 17, Jack (Australia - temperate climate)
The white powdery coating on the leaves of your choko is an indicator of powdery mildew. This fungus affects many crops in late summer and autumn. Chokos, pumpkins, zucchinis and cucumber being some of the worst affected. Good air circulation and watering at the root rather than overhead is good insurance against this problem. I know of people who make a spray of 10% milk in water as an effective control. Alternatively you could spray the plant with a fungicide spray.
Showing 1 - 10 of 126 comments

We are now growing chouchou in a temporary greenhouse in Bexley in Kent. It came from the stone of the fruit and is growing like crazy with a bit of fleece netting over it to keep it warm. The fruit makes a fantastic juice esepcially when mixed with a smidge of orange juice. The juice is used in Brazil as a natural remedy to help lower blood pressure. It sure does seem to work.

- Mike n Lucy

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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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