Zucchini Container Care: Tips For Zucchini Grown In Containers
By: Mary H. Dyer, Credentialed Garden Writer
If you love zucchini but you’re short on gardening space, consider zucchini grown in containers. It’s true that zucchini plants can take up a lot of space, but growing zucchini in container gardens on your patio or balcony isn’t as difficult as you might think. Read on to learn about container grown zucchini.
How to Plant Zucchini in Pots
A container with a diameter of at least 24 inches (61 cm.) and a minimum depth of 12 inches (30 cm.) is best for container grown zucchini. Any type of container works well as long as it has at least one good drainage hole in the bottom. For example, a large, plastic storage container with drainage holes drilled into the bottom makes a good planter. If you want to grow more than one plant, consider a half whiskey barrel.
Zucchini grown in containers requires a lightweight, well-drained potting soil such as a commercial mix containing ingredients like peat, compost and/or fine bark, along with either perlite or vermiculite. Avoid regular garden soil, which probably contains pests and weed seeds, and quickly becomes compacted enough to smother the roots.
You can easily plant zucchini seeds directly in the pot about two weeks after the last frost in your area. Consider compact, dwarf plants such as Cue Ball, Gold Rush, Eight Ball, especially if you’re growing zucchini in a smaller container.
Plant two or three seeds in the center, at a planting depth of about an inch (3 cm.). Allow a couple of inches (5 cm.) of space between each seed. Water the soil lightly and keep it slightly moist but not soggy until the seeds germinate in a week or two.
If all of the seeds sprout, thin them after about two weeks. Remove the weakest and leave a single, strong seedling.
Zucchini Container Care
Once the seeds sprout, water the zucchini plants deeply whenever the top 2 inches (5 cm.) of soil feels dry to the touch, then allow the top of the soil to dry before watering again. Zucchini is a sun-loving plant that needs an absolutely minimum of six to eight hours of sunlight per day; eight to 10 hours is even better.
Feed the zucchini plants every four weeks, using a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer. Alternatively, mix a time-release fertilizer into the potting mix at planting time.
Depending on the variety, zucchini plants will likely require stakes to support the long vines. A tomato cage inserted into the container works very well. Install the cage at planting time to prevent accidental damage to the plant. Dwarf varieties may not require staking.
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