Loves gardening and growing her own vegetables. Has seen some successes but some failures too.
If you have limited space in your garden or balcony then growing zucchinis in pots is an ideal plan. Not only does it help those with limited space but it also means you don’t have any excuse to not try your hand at growing something fresh for your dinner table.
Zucchini seeds grow just as well in containers as they do in the ground. All that is required is weekly watering alongside vegetable feed once the plant starts producing squashes. Two to three large patio containers or grow bags will deliver enough zucchinis for you for the whole summer season.
When you are choosing zucchini seeds, make sure you check to see if they are bush or vining zucchini seeds. The zucchini from bush seeds will grow from the base of the plant. But with vining zucchini seeds, the zucchini will grow out from along the vines that spread out along the ground.
How to Get Zucchini Seeds Growing
When it comes to growing zucchini seeds, it will vary between countries. If you live in a warm climate, then most likely you can grow them whenever you want but if you live in a climate that has four seasons then most likely you will be dependent on the weather.
With the right equipment and some simple advice, zucchini seeds can start to germinate in small potting containers or yogurt cartons if you having nothing else, in 2 to 3 weeks.
Again this could vary depending on when you plant them. If you don’t have a green house or a small mini germinating container then your seedlings might not start sprouting for another few weeks. A warm area and lots of patience are two of the things you will need when you start growing things from seeds.
Zucchini is high in anti-oxidants, low in calories, great for salads and provide one of your five a day.
How to Plant Your Zucchini Seeds in Pots
If you don’t have seedling containers on hand then you can use whatever you have on hand like yogurt or milk cartons. But drainage is vitally important here. You will need to put three or four drainage holes in the container if they are homemade and you will also need to ensure that they are about two to three inches deep so that the seedlings can grow.
Preparing the Potting Soil
When you are growing seeds in containers, you will need to purchase an appropriate potting soil that has nutrients included for the seeds to germinate. If you are an experience gardener then you will know the correct ratio mix of soil to fertilizer. But for those who are new to planting seeds you are better of purchasing a premixed soil in the garden centre.
If you can find grow-bags that have prepared potting soil ready for the seedlings, then purchase that. It will be less difficult and will also help to give your seeds a head start when it comes to germinating.
Planting the Seeds in Containers
Firstly ensure that your homemade seed containers are nice and clean. Add your potting mix to the containers and then add some water to the soil and give it a mix. Make a hole in the potting soil with your index finger and place two seeds in each hole and then cover the hole with some soil. Use a ruler if you can to go down about 2 to 2.5 inches in the container.
When the seedlings start to sprout, you can add some liquid fertilizer to the soil. Make sure that you use a dropper or a watering can with a tiny spout to add the liquid to the soil and not the leaves. Some liquid fertilizers can burn the plant leaves. Water the seedlings every week and ensure the soil is damp but not soaking wet. The reason two seeds are planted together is to ensure that if one is a dud the other will sprout.
Caring for Your Zucchini Seedlings
As the seedlings grow, the best way to ensure that they are kept moist is to use a mister or a watering can. The soil needs to be kept damp but make sure you don’t over water them. The best way to judge this is to feel the top of the soil. If it is dry, water them if it is wet, don’t. Also if the pot is super dry then the soil will be rock solid and will easily come out of the pot. You do not want that.
Growing Zucchini Seedlings Inside
Zucchini plants in general love the sun so if you have a mini greenhouse or a germinator, then this will give the seedlings a good start in their life. If you have neither, then place the tray of seedlings in a really warm area of your home that has lots of light. Once the seedlings start sprouting and they are strong enough, they can then be transplanted into the patio pots and left outside.
How to Plant Zucchini Seedlings into Pots Outside
When the time comes to plant your seedlings outside you need to gradually get them used to the change in the atmosphere. You don’t want to immediately move them from inside to outside.
You need to get them used to the change that is coming. Each day put the seedlings outside for a few hours. Make sure you keep them protected from any elements.
If you can place them on a raised surface outside that has some shelter this will help to protect them from the weather. At night bring the seedlings inside again. This is a process referred to as hardening off. You need to continue doing this for about 7 to 10 days so that the seedlings get used to this change.
If you have any kind of shelf to raise the seedling from the ground and some type of cover, then use this to ensure the seedlings have further protection on the wet windy nights that they are outside. If you don’t have a cold frame, then a raised shelf using two tins and a piece of wood would work.
To ensure that the water gets straight to the seedlings roots, use a mister or a container with a small spout to pour into the seedling pots.
Transplanting Your Zucchini Seedlings Into Large Pots
Once the seedlings have reacting well to the hardening then they are ready to be transplanted into larger patio pots. This usually happens when the seedling are 2 to 3 cm high.
Fill up the patio pots with the potting soil. Next place 3 to 4 seedlings in each patio pot. Then water your soil and place them in a sunny sheltered area of your balcony.
If the weather is bad and it is still making frost around late spring, then wait a little longer until the weather has improved before transferring the seedling outside full time.
If you are transplanting your zucchini seedlings into pots, then buy large patio pots that are about 10 to 15 gallons in size. The bush zucchinis are not too fussy when it comes to space and this size container will be adequately for the plant.
These types of containers are also handy for anyone who does not have a large garden or for those who have only a small balcony.
If you pick the vining zucchinis they you will need a trellis for the plant to grow on which won’t work for people with small balconies.
Zucchinis Growing in Patio Pots
Caring for Zucchini Seedlings as They Grow in Pots Outside
Zucchini loves the sun and you will need to ensure that they get as much as possible. You will also need to feed the plant some type of liquid fertilizer. I use a seaweed fertilizer but you can use whatever you feel comfortable with. When the plant starts to produce tiny zucchinis and starts flowering you really need to ensure that the plant is getting enough water and enough feed. It is now working extra hard to produce squashes so it needs extra care.
You might need to water it every day if it is hot outside. You do not want it to become dry. It needs to be moist but also ensure that you don’t over water it where it becomes waterlogged. Only water the plants at night when it is nice and cool and not during the day when it is hot. When you are watering it ensure that you water at the stalk not on the top of the leaves. You want the roots to get as much of the water and feed as possible.
Also you might also need to get some bamboo sticks for extra support if the stalks start to droop. If you are growing the vining zucchinis then a trellis or bamboo sticks would be required for additional support.
It takes about 2 weeks before mini zucchinis start growing underneath the zucchini flower.
Timeline for Growing Zucchinis
- The whole process from once the seeds are planted to when they started sprouting after they are transplanted in large pots takes about 3- 4 months.
- Once you start to see the zucchini flower emerging, it can take about another 4 weeks before you see fully formed zucchinis that are ready for eating.
- The weather will always play a big part in a successful harvest of anything you grow. If its coolers outside then it will take a little bit longer for the plant to start growing zucchinis.
- If you are lucky enough to live in a hot climate or have 4 - 6 weeks of particularly hot weather, then the whole process will occur at a much faster pace.
How to Prevent Blossom End Rot in Squash
Blossom end rot is a preventable disease that occurs in squash because of poor pollination. If you hang hanging baskets or put out window boxes with bee friendly flowers around the area where your zucchini is, then the bees will do their job of pollinating the plant. Also once the yellow flowers start appearing from the bud of the zucchini plant then the bees will fly around from the female to the male plant and pollinate them all.
Once blossom end rot start appearing on the zucchini then it is very hard to stop it from spreading throughout the plant. You can remove the buds that are turning black and soft but it’s better to prevent it, than to try and stop it.
If you grow your squash in pots, then you don’t have as much area to care for and you can control the level of calcium you add to your plant. You can purchase a product called gypsum which is a naturally occurring mineral that can be added to soil to help improve the level of calcium in it. Calcium helps with the development of the zucchini roots and shoots. Or if you feed it a good fertilizer high in calcium then this can help the plant too.
Also it’s important to regularly water the soil at the roots of the zucchini plant especially when it starts flowering and producing zucchinis as it is using a lot of energy and nutrients.
Slugs are an enemy of every plant. You will need to protect seedlings if you want your harvest to be successful.
- Try raising your plants a few inches above the ground to keep them from climbing up the outside of the pot. If you have a raised shelf outside, you could place them on this.
- If the seeds are planted straight into the ground, try putting down some broken egg shells around the area to help deter the slugs from crawling across the ground to get to the seedlings.
- How to grow tomatoes from seed: grow tomatoes in a pot
It is easy to grow tomatoes from seeds. From a packet of tomato seeds you can produce a lot of tomatoes that will supply you with a good summer crop.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2013 Sp Greaney
Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on July 17, 2019:
@Angel Guzman. Bunnies will eat everything, they love their food. :) Congrats on new home, that is fantastic news. There's nothing as tasty as your own home grown veg and fruit.
Angel Guzman from Joliet, Illinois on July 16, 2019:
Very well in depth article. I bought my home August of last year and this year have my first garden. I have zucchini, eggplant, strawberry, asparagus, and 4 tomato plants. I think the bunnies keep eating the strawberries though :/ my zucchini plant is huge!
Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on December 13, 2018:
@Lisa Auger, yes, you are correct, they do. A few seedlings will spread a lot and give you a good crop. You'll have enough then for a few weeks.
Lisa Bean from Virginia on December 12, 2018:
This is surprising since any time I've grown zucchini, they always seem to need so much room. I may try this during the summer since we no longer have a large garden.
Sp Greaney (author) from Ireland on July 21, 2013:
@ thumbi7, thank you, I appreciate your comment. :)
@ Jackie Lynnley, I'm totally in agreement with you, they're a fantastic vegetable and so versatile too.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on July 20, 2013:
Great info and I grow my own. They really are easy as long as you keep an eye on them and watered well. So good too. I can eat zucchini raw now in salads which I had no idea to do a couple years ago.
JR Krishna from India on July 20, 2013:
The images are beautiful
Enjoyed reading the hub