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 New Zealand - cool/mountain 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 17-25 weeks. Best when fruit is light green and not more than 6 cm 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 - 68 F (15 - 20 C). 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 eg. 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

31 Mar 24, Robyn Douglass (New Zealand - temperate climate)
How to prune choko plant to keep it s.all as I only have a small garden area
28 May 24, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Not the crop to grow in a small area.
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.
24 Nov 22, Beeve (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Where can we actually get a choko, to grow
27 Jun 22, Virginia de Joux (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi - wondering if you have any choko plants spare? I am struggling to find a seed source.
05 Aug 22, Anthony (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
i Buy a choko from the store and leave it on top of my fridge or in a fruit bowl on the table .The choko will sprout from one end. Once sprouted it is ready to plant out. Plant the whole vegetable in the ground on its side. Then support and train the vine up a stake or trellis. i then train it to a overhead rack, (Old wire mesh fence gate on poles ) 1 choko will produce a lot of vines , and should yield 80 fruit or more
30 Jun 22, (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Buy a choko and put it in your pantry until it starts sprouting.
03 Jun 22, Jessy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Grew my first ever choko this year starting with a whole choko in the ground. Got more than 200 chokos. I like the taste of choko after it started sprouting. So I ended up with a lot of sprouted choko seeds which I planted in the ground. (Only the seeds, no flesh attached to it). They are growing well and I am harvesting the growing tips from them already. If these plants from seeds alone grow big, will they produce chokos? Does the nutritional value of chokos change as they start sprouting? Thanks.
05 Aug 22, Anthony (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Best to plant the whole choko after it has sprouted. I have heard, that just planting the seeds is not as successful .But you can always try right.
Showing 1 - 10 of 23 comments

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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. GardenGrow 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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