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Chayote
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Interesting Facts

Chayote was domesticated by the Aztecs in the cool mountains of Central America. Now, it is cultivated in almost all tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. Sechium is grown primarily for its fruits that contain within them a single seed. The seed is also edible.

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Chayote   (Sechium edule)

Cho Ko
Cho-Cho
Christophene
Mirliton
Vegetable Pear

Chayotes are tuberous perennial vine, cultivated throughout tropical and subtropical areas of the world.  They are known for their pear-shaped fruits that are similar to squashes. The flavor has been said to be a mix between potato and cucumber.

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Plant Types: Fruit, Perennial, Tropical, Vegetable, Vine
Light: Partial Shade to Full Sun
Height: 20 feet to 30 feet
Zones: 9a to 11b
Bloom Color: White
Bloom Seasons: Late fall, Early winter
Special Features: Edible
Shape: Spreading or horizontal
Fertilizer: Miracle-Gro® Water Soluble All Purpose Plant Food
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Plant Care
Planting:

Buy a Chayote fruit in fall and allow it to sprout in a cupboard or other dark, dry location. In climates with mild winters, plant the sprouting seed/fruit in the soil in winter. In climates where the soil freezes, plant in a large pot indoors or where it can be protected from the cold. Plant the seed/fruit with the sprout side down on a slant, where the narrow side of the fruit is barely emerging from the top of the soil.

Harvesting:

Edible fruits and tubers. Takes about 5-6 months of the growing season to fruit. Chayote is ready to harvest when the fruit is tender and around 4-6 inches in diameter. Cut off the fruits from the vine with a knife. Best to harvest before the flesh becomes hard. Fresh chayote can be stored in a refrigerator, but will only keep for atmost 1 week. Frozen chayote (diced into smaller pieces) or canned will remain good for a year. It is advised to peel the older, mature fruits for consumption rather than the young fruits. Chayote fruits can be eaten raw, but are mostly cooked by boiling, sauteing, or baking.

Plant Growth:

Chayotes thrive in full sun, and need a long, warm growing season to do best. In areas where freezing temperatures occur, it is best to grow Sechium as an annual. In other places, chayote will grow again in spring after a light winter chilling. When growing chayote, provide the vine with a substrate to climb on, such as a strong trellis or tree. It is also advised to grow more than one plant which will enhance pollination and result in increased fruit production.

Blooming:

Blooms small flowers, the females are borne late in the growing season. Followed by pale, apple-green fruits, resembling summer squash.

Soil and Irrigation:

Does best in soils that are rich in organic matter. Water liberally during the growing season.

Fertilization:

Grows best in fertile soil.

Pruning:

In frost-free regions (for perennials), cut back the vines to about 6 ft to allow for new spring growth.

Pests:

Aphids can cause problems. Pick them off or hose them off with water.