How to Grow Your Own Choko (Chayote)

Updated on May 3, 2019
lady rain profile image

Lady Rain works as a daytime stock trader and writes about crafts and hobbies. She likes travelling and making papercraft models.

Chokos growing abundantly on the pergola.
Chokos growing abundantly on the pergola. | Source

Chokos (or chayote) are very prolific and easy to grow in home gardens.

This article will show you how to plant a choko, how to provide the plant support as it grows, and how to harvest and prepare the fruits.

How to Plant a Choko

First, you will need to buy a choko if you want to grow one. Select a healthy looking choko that is smooth and free of blemishes, dents or cuts. As a guide, a fresh choko is hard and green in colour, a rotten one will be soft and brown.

Do not plant the choko immediately. Instead, leave it in a dark place, like at the back of a closet with some ventilation or under the kitchen sink, until it sprouts.

  1. When it has sprouted to about 7 cm, bring it outside after the last frosts and find a sunny location.
  2. Dig a hole where the choko is to be planted.
  3. Add some organic fertilizer or manure to the soil.
  4. Place the choko in the soil with the sprout sticking above the soil. Do not cover the sprouting bit.
  5. Give it a good watering and leave it to grow.
  6. Remember to water it when the soil looks dry.

Give Your Choko Plant Support

The choko plant will need space to grow and a support system to climb onto, like along fences, trellises, pergolas or up a tree. Some of the vines will start to spread everywhere, including going over the fence to your neighbour's garden. You might want to train some of the vines and secure them to the fence or trellis to keep the vines under control.

A pile of freshly harvested chokos.
A pile of freshly harvested chokos. | Source

How to Harvest Choko Fruits

Flowers will start to appear in summer and fruits will form. By autumn, the fruits should be big enough to harvest.

One choko plant is enough for the backyard, because one choko plant can produce several hundred fruits during the growing season. After the fruiting season, cut back the choko vines to four or five short vines to grow for the next season.

Chokos are best picked when they are young, because they are more tender and can be eaten with their skin on. The skin of the chokos tends to toughen as the fruits grow bigger. The skin releases sap when it is peeled, and this sap makes the chokos rather slippery to handle. In addition, when the sap sticks to the fingers, it is annoying and rather difficult to wash off.

Chokos can be eaten boiled, stir fried, baked, steamed and pickled.

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.

Questions & Answers

  • Heaps of vines everywhere, but no fruit. How can I produce chokos?

    If there are heaps of vines, you may have to give a dose of liquid fertiliser to maintain the growth and hopefully produce some chokos when the plant is ready.

  • Are choko vines deciduous?

    Choko vines loose their leaves in winter, so they are considered deciduous.

  • Can a choko be kept over winter without sprouting to be planted after frost has passed?

    Yes, chokos can be kept in a cool, dark place over winter.

  • How long do chokos live?

    In warm areas, choko plants can live for many years if they are well looked after. In areas with cold winter and frosts, most plants survive for only a few years.

  • Which season would be the best time to plant chokos?

    The best time to plant chokos will be after the last frosts in spring and summer.

© 2012 lady rain


Submit a Comment
  • profile image

    Bonnie Cooper in Wodonga 

    2 years ago

    How long does the plant have to grow before it bears fruit?

  • profile image

    patty lavigillante 

    2 years ago

    Hi Jan, we have choko's growing and they are only just starting to show their flowers, usually late March we are picking fruit, so patiently wait for them, when they are in they are prolific

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    2 years ago from Australia

    Jan, if the choko vine is very young, it might not be ready to produce fruits. Keep it healthy and it will grow really fast and produce flowers the following summer.

  • profile image


    2 years ago

    I have a very healthy vine, will the fruit come nothing is showing yet.. It is January Summer in Australia

  • profile image


    3 years ago

    This year I'm going to try growing choko.

    Someone gave me a bag a few weeks ago and I used many but the few left in the plastic bag have begun to sprout very healthy looking shoots so I hoping to grow enough to make lots of stirfries to freeze for next winter.

    I find if I add garlic, chillies, curry powder and onions it gives them a lovely flavour.

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    7 years ago from Australia

    liesl5858, yum.. I like stews with chokos in lots of gravy!

  • liesl5858 profile image

    Linda Bryen 

    7 years ago from United Kingdom

    It's good to see chokos again on your hub lady rain, I love this veg, we call it sayote in the Philippines. It is used in stews and casseroles, very tasty when used with chicken stew and beef stews.

  • lady rain profile imageAUTHOR

    lady rain 

    8 years ago from Australia

    natures47friend, chokos are bland in taste but they make great dishes when cooked with the right ingredients. You can check out my stir fry choko recipe by following the link mentioned on this hub. Thank you for stopping by to leave a comment. Cheers!

  • natures47friend profile image


    8 years ago from Sunny Art Deco Napier, New Zealand.

    Chokos. I remember first trying them when I was in Ozzie and liked them. I seemed to be the only one who did, apparently!

    I did not know that they grew on a vine. Thank you for this informative hub. Voted up!


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