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 is only suitable for warmer climates but frequent hot nights will slow flowering. Fruit production is highest when night temperatures range from 59-68F (15-20C). 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 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

17 May 22, Brian (Australia - temperate climate)
Thank you Chris, the feedback I received has given me advice different to what I have been doing with Chokos. I will have to follow up when I know of availability of fruit so that I can purchase them and try again.
15 May 22, Brian Wood (Australia - temperate climate)
Wanting to get Choko fruit for planting in Broken Hill. Not certain when or where to purchase can you help? Would like to talk to NAFISA whose Dec.11 comments could be interesting as it looks as if they also reside in BROKEN HILL.
21 Apr 22, Diana (Australia - temperate climate)
I grew a choko in Melbourne. The plant lived for 3. years. I planted the sprouted fruit on its side never fed it. Had massed and masses of chokos. It died down late winter and sprouted the following year. It grew 20 feet into trees. Was in a very sheltered shady position. Not a warm spot but no frost. I have friends who have grown massive chokos here in our cool temperate climate. It doesn’t like frosts. I can’t imagine a choko in any kind of pot
19 Apr 22, Marlene (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I have been given a couple of chokos and I'd like to grow a vine, maybe in my vegepod or else, in a large pot. I believe the fruit will shoot, when left for a while. I'm not even sure which end of the fruit the shoot will come from and do, I place the whole fruit into the well-nourished soil or just part of it. Thank you.
21 Apr 22, Anonymous (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Plant Dec for your climate zone. Leave one in your pantry and it will start shooting, then plant out. The end from where it attached to the vine when growing.
06 Apr 22, Tim (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I live in Rotorua and planted a choko seedling 3 years ago in a north-facing spot that gets lots of sun and warmth in summer, and where the vines can grow up over and along the deck railings. (This year it has 'taken over', climbing up the old cable of a TV aerial!) Each year it has grown bigger, and this year it has produced a lot of flowers, but these are all male! The cold weather will be here soon, and the top growth will get killed back by the first frosts. I'm thinking that it's a waste of space and the growing season here too short for any fruits to develop. Is there anyone in the Central North Island who has had any success with chokos outdoors, or should I dig it out and use the prime sunny location for something else?
20 Apr 22, Tira Avery (Australia - temperate climate)
Victoria, Australia. We started to grow choko this year as we just learnt that chokos can be a perennial (dying back in winter) here in Victoria. Thai people eat both its young tips and leaves as well as its fruit.
09 Apr 22, Nadege (Australia - arid climate)
Hi there It's always a tough decision to take down a beautiful, healthy plant. If you have something else lined up for the spot then take it down with gratitude and put it in the compost where the nutrients can be recycled. I find that always helps me to do it with this knowledge in mind. Otherwise, if you like it and have nothing else for that spot, keep it and see how it turns out.
08 Apr 22, Anonymous (Australia - temperate climate)
You are temperate NZ and by the guide here it won't grow in your area. It needs warmer weather.
06 Jan 22, Lance Hill (USA - Zone 9a climate)
We would love to hear from anyone growing chokos (chayote/mirlitons) on your techniques and experiences. Our website is devoted to all things Mirlitons: www.Mirliton.org, including the world's largest collection of chayote recipes. I also have an article on the history of mirlitons that links the Australian and U.S. varieties.
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