How to plant chayote

Sechium edule

Chayote, also known as machucho, caiota or pimpinela, has a certain variety of sizes, shapes and colors. The most common cultivars are pear-shaped, 10 to 20 cm long and light green in color.


Chayote grows best in hot, humid weather, with the ideal temperature for growing between 18 ° C and 27 ° C. The minimum temperature for planting should be 13 ° C, as the chayote does not support low temperatures.


Chayote can be grown in sunny locations, or in partial shade when young, as long as there is good light.


Cultivate in well-drained, fertile soil, rich in organic matter, with a pH between 5.5 and 6.8.


Irrigate in order to keep the soil always moist, without being soaked. The chuchuzeiro is very sensitive to both excess and lack of water.


Planting is done using the whole fruit, which sprouts easily if left for two weeks in a dark place. Planting is done when the bud reaches 10 to 15 cm in height. Just leave the sprout on the ground or partially bury it (fully burying the fruit increases the probability that the sprout will rot).

The recommended spacing between plants is 5 m to 7 m, but there are horticulturists who use a spacing of only 3 m or 4 m.


The chayote is a herbaceous vine that can cover trees and large walls, with branches that can reach 15 m in length. So it is necessary that there are supports for the plant. Arbor or fences are usually used, but the chuchuzeiro can also grow on walls and walls in home gardens, as long as they have something where the tendrils of the chuchuzeiro can be attached.

The presence of pollinating insects, mainly bees, is necessary for the pollination of flowers and the formation of fruits.


Chayote harvesting can begin 90 to 120 days after planting, depending on the cultivated variety and growing conditions. Usually the ideal is to harvest the fruit two weeks after the opening of its flower, but it can be difficult and laborious to monitor all the flowers. So, harvest the fruits when they are well developed and still tender. When it passes the ideal point of harvest, the fruit begins to open at the end.

The chayote is a perennial plant and can produce for seven to ten years, although it is usually grown annually or for 2 or 3 years, to maintain high production. In regions where there is no cold winter and there is no lack of water for the plant, the chayote can produce fruit throughout the year.

The fruits, the seeds, the leaves, the tips of the branches and even the roots are edible.

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