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 15°C and 30°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 100 cm 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

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.
14 Feb 23, Rianna Rothman (New Zealand - temperate climate)
My choko is growing like crazy, planted in May 2022 but still no flowers or fruit. When will it start flowering?
22 Feb 23, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Back off fertilising it and cut the watering down.
05 Dec 22, Tamra Stafford (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Our choko vine produces very well, but the majority of the chokos appear to be stung or dimpled. What is doing this, and can we stop it.
24 Nov 22, Beeve (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Where can we actually get a choko, to grow
26 Jul 22, Nori (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
When do I start cutting down the plant. Is it during winter season? Tks
27 Jul 22, Julie Pannell (Australia - temperate climate)
Cut back the vines to about 12 inches above ground after the last choko has been picked, closer to the end of winter. They will have very little growth for ages and then grow again when the time is right. The leaves can be dead at the beginning of vines but still keep fruit growing at the ends. They fruit for many months.
Showing 1 - 10 of 259 comments

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?

- Tim

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