An exotic fruit vegetable and a cousin of squash, commonly used in tropical countries, that you can, with a few precautions, grow in temperate climates. Follow the guide !
Common name : Chayotes
Scientific name : Sechium edule
Family : Cucurbitaceae
Category : Veggies
Type of plant : Perennial
A native from Mexico, this plant was already grown by the Aztecs!
In a temperate climate, your plant may freeze in the winter - with occasional frost up to - 7 ° C - but the tuberous root stays alive under a good layer of mulch, and the plant will start again the following spring - it may produce for 7 years!
Although most people are familiar only with the fruit as being edible, the root, stem, seeds and leaves are edible as well. The tubers of the plant are eaten like potatoes and other root vegetables, while the shoots and leaves are often consumed in salads and stir fries, especially in Asia.
Sowing & planting
120 - 500
6.5 - 6.8
Identify my chayote
The chayote vine can be grown on the ground, but as a climbing plant, it will grow onto anything, and can easily rise as high as 6, even 10 meters when support is provided. It has heart-shaped leaves, 10–25 cm wide and tendrils on the stem. The plant bears male flowers in clusters and solitary female flowers.
The plant’s fruit is light green and elongated with deep ridges lengthwise, roughly pear-shaped, sometimes spiny, somewhat flattened and with coarse wrinkles, ranging from 10 to 20 cm in length.
Plant my chayote
Start your chayote in a pot, in a warm situation, such as a greenhouse. You will later plant your seedlings in open soil in mild climates, or in a pot in colder areas.
Just plant a whole fruit in a 20 cm wide pot, covered with 10 cm of rich potting soil. Provide a stake, and let the plant grow in a bright and warm situation with regular watering.
Plant in open soil after the last frosts, in a sunny location sheltered from the wind and with a support, such as a fence for example, in a fresh and rich soil.
In a temperate climate, replant the chayote deep enough - about 30 cm.
You can also grow your chayote in a pot - of at least 15 liters with potting soil - on a sheltered but sunny terrace.
Trellise my chayote
The chayote needs to be trellised - you might need to help her find a good support !
Water my chayote
Water chayotes pretty much like you water squash or zucchini, their cousins!
Water seedlings once or twice a week. In summer, watch for signs of drying out: the leaves are leaning towards the ground. Water abundantly, once a week, less if your plant is well mulched, more in case of drought.
Shelter my chayote
Keep your plant sheltered from frost. You will keep the medium slightly moist during the whole winter.
Protect my chayote
Add a good layer of mulch before the first frosts.
Put outside my chayote
In spring, you will repot your christophine, in a rich and fresh soil for the new season.
Reap my chayote
Harvesting occurs around November, as for squash, starting as early as 6 weeks after the appearance of the female flowers.
If a slight pressure on the fruit does not leave any trace - then the fruit is ripe.
A fruit harvested too early is highly watery and will not keep well in the winter, an over-aged fruit is fibrous and difficult to cook.
Temperatures below 13 ° C cause damage to immature fruits, and temperatures above 28 ° C result in excessive vegetative growth and fall of flowers and flowers.
Store fruits for the winter just like potatoes, in a cool room - around 10 ° C.