Growing Zucchini in Containers

Limited or uncultivable garden space prompts many gardeners into planting their favorite vegetables in pots. Even a large zucchini plant can thrive in the proper container. A colorful potting container filled with an overflowing zucchini plant can beautify any deck, patio, or porch. The key to successfully growing zucchini in containers is knowing which container, soil, and conditions are best.


Container Choices

Growing containers for zucchini must be at least 24 inches across and at least 16 inches deep. An inexpensive storage bin or plastic bucket can be transformed into a useful container for growing this prolific plant. Here are some other appropriate planting containers:

  • Polypropylene Smart Pot
  • Plastic Pot
  • Deep Planter Box
  • Wooden or Plastic Half-Barrel

Best Zucchini Varieties for Containers

Most zucchini varieties are considered bush varieties, but some have a vining nature. When planting the vining types, a trellis is needed. Although vining zucchinis can be planted, it is best to choose compact bush varieties such as:

  • Geode
  • Eight Ball
  • Raven
  • Jackpot Hybrid

Container Drainage

Zucchini root systems will become damaged if allowed to grow in saturated conditions for long periods of time. It is crucial that planting containers have adequate drainage. It may be necessary to drill holes in the containers you choose. Smart Pots are constructed with a polypropylene fabric that is porous; therefore, these need no drilled holes.

Filling the Container with Soil

All containers except Smart Pots should have small pebbles lining the bottom. The pebbles will prevent the soil from escaping the container.

A zucchini plant must have nutrient-dense potting soil. Container potting soils must be a mixture of perlite, sphagnum, potting soil, peat moss, and compost. Fish emulsion or earthworm castings should be added to the soil also. These natural fertilizers boost the fertility to a level that will sustain the prolific plant.

Planting Zucchini in Containers

Zucchini plants can easily be started from seed in large containers about two weeks after the average last frost. Here are the steps:

  • Fill the container with soil and water thoroughly.
  • Sow two or three seeds 1 inch deep in the middle of the container.
  • Keep soil moistened but not soggy.
  • After about two weeks of growth, thin to one plant per pot.

Transplants that are started indoors can be transferred to containers. Before planting outdoors, harden off the seedlings by exposing them to the outdoor elements. Allow the seedlings more and more exposure gradually.

Caring for Container Zucchini Plants

Zucchini plants need at least seven hours of direct sunlight daily. One advantage of container gardening is the ability to move them in areas that supply adequate direct sunlight.

The large and thirsty root system of zucchini plants requires soil that is moist, not soggy, six inches deep. The soil must stay fertile also. Fertilize with an organic fertilizer every two weeks.