The chayote plant, chayote sechium edule, is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family which includes cucumbers and squash. Also known as vegetable pear, chayotes are native to Latin America, specifically to southern Mexico and Guatemala. Chayotes are great vegetables to grow because the entire plant can be eaten including the leaves and stems which are often used to make soups, stews, and baby food. Today we'll show you how to grow the chayote plant with our easy to follow gardening guide!
How to Grow The Chayote Plant:
Chayotes are warm weather crops and they are best grown as far north as USDA growing zone 7. In warm climates, the chayote plant bears fruit for several moths, but in cooler weather, the tree won't flower until mid fall. Then, it will need at least 30 days of frost free weather to bear fruit. The chayote fruit tastes a little like a jicama – mildly sweet, very crunchy and juicy, and like a cross between an apple, a pear, and a potato.
- Chayotes are best planted by purchasing a fruit from the store. If possible, choose organic ones.
- Choose a nice, unblemished mature fruit and lay it on its side in a 1 gallon pot of soil with the stem up at a 45-degree angle.
- Place the pot in a sunny and warm area and water occasionally.
- Once 3 or 4 leaves have emerged, pinch the tip of the runner to create a branch.
- Prepare a hill with a mix of 20 pounds of manure and soil in a 4×4 area with full sun.
- Transplant after all danger of frost has passed.
- Space each plant 8-10 feet apart and provide a trellis or a fence.
- Water the plant deeply every 10-14 days and dose with a fish emulsion every 2 or 3 weeks.
Harvesting the Chayote Plant:
- Chayotes should be ready to harvest after flowers emerge.
- Harvest once fruit is tender and about 4-6 inches in diameter.
- The fruits should be about 2-3 inches long.
- This will usually be 120-150 days after planting.