Climbing zucchini are ideal for growing vegetables in a space-saving way – but they also require a lot of nutrients and plenty of water. The effort required for care should therefore not be underestimated. How it can be easier and which climbing aids are suitable, interested parties will learn here as well as everything worth knowing, from the choice of location to harvesting.
Climbing zucchini thrive well in sunny to semi-shady locations. It should be noted that – depending on the variety chosen – it can reach a height of up to two meters. Therefore, there should be enough space upwards. It is recommended to plant at least two climbing zucchini. This will benefit the yield of both plants.
Tip: For stabilization, it is advisable to plant close to a wall or a sturdy and stable climbing aid.
The substrate for climbing zucchini should be permeable, moderately water retentive and rich in nutrients. Well suited as a base are:
- Garden soil
- Compost soil
- Potting soil
- Vegetable soil
To enrich with the required nutrients, well-rotted compost can be added, pre-fertilized soil can be used or a slow-release fertilizer can be mixed in.
The climbing zucchini can be sown between April and June. Pre-germination indoors is possible as early as March. In each case, it depends on the following steps:
- growing soil is used as substrate, with which the seeds are only lightly covered.
- the substrate is kept slightly moist throughout.
- germination occurs most quickly when the planter is placed in a bright location at temperatures between 18 and 25 °C. For example, a windowsill that is free from drafts is well suited.
As soon as the young plants have four leaves, they can be repotted in the substrate described above and moved outdoors. However, only on frost-free, warm days. If cold spells are still to be expected at night, such as during the Ice Saints, the plants should be brought back indoors. Planting outdoors is possible as soon as temperatures no longer drop below 10 to 15 °C, even at night.
As an alternative to sowing your own, climbing zucchini can also be purchased as a seedling. These cost a little more, but also require much less effort. But even with them, protection from late frost is required. Planting in the open ground should therefore be done only at the end of May or beginning of June. In the case of container culture and appropriate daytime temperatures, the plants can be placed outdoors and will again be moved indoors when temperatures drop.
Climbing zucchini, like its broad-growing relatives, grows very quickly and, for this reason and because of its sunny location, needs plenty of water. Much of the liquid is also released through the large leaves. Especially in locations on the south side, many hours of sun or high temperatures, watering must be done daily. In addition to using water that is as soft and low in lime as possible, watering from below is important.
The leaves of climbing zucchini should not be wetted when watering, as this quickly leads to burning and discoloration. So the watering can is either placed just above the soil or a funnel can be used as a watering aid. Waterlogging is also to be avoided urgently with the moisture-loving zucchini.
Climbing zucchini are heavy feeders and therefore require large amounts of nutrients. Therefore, on the one hand, it is important to mix compost or fertilizer into the substrate at the time of planting, and on the other hand, to repeat the fertilization if necessary. The second application of nutrients can wait for two to three months, both when using compost and long-term fertilizer. It is important to water the plants well after this measure. This ensures an even distribution of the nutrients and prevents chemical burns on the roots.
chemical burns to the roots.
Climbing zucchini can reach heights of between 60 and 200 centimeters, depending on the variety chosen. They therefore require appropriate climbing aids. Due to the large and sometimes heavy fruits, the climbing aids should be stable and robust. In addition to the condition, the accessibility of the plants is also important. The fruit-bearing shoots should be easily accessible from at least two sides. Otherwise, not only will harvesting be difficult, but ventilation of the shoots and leaves will also be restricted. This, in turn, can increase the risk of infestation with pests and diseases.
Depending on the location and planting in the open ground or container culture, the following climbing aids may prove suitable:
Wire trellises are inexpensive and relatively easy to bend and cut – i.e., to adapt to local conditions. However, sturdy versions should be chosen so that the heavy zucchini does not lead to unintentional deformation.
Wire or rope – stretched ropes are also wonderful to adapt. However, they are suitable only for locations that are at least partially covered, for example, balcony or terrace. For a stable attachment of the shoots should use three ropes per plant.
Made of wood or plastic, trellises are traditional climbing aids and are also suitable for climbing zucchini. However, plants and fruits are usually accessible through them only from one side. If you want to prevent this, you should also direct the shoots to the back of the trellis at an early stage. To do this, carefully guide the shoots through the openings.
They are simple, easy to insert into the soil and allow free access to the zucchini from all sides. In order for the rods to serve as a stable climbing aid, at least two to three rods made of sturdy plastic, bamboo or metal should be used per climbing zucchini.
Tip: In addition to the type and material of the climbing aids, the fastening of the shoots is also important for climbing zucchini. Suitable for this purpose are raffia, string, wire, but also planting clips. Because even if the plant itself can hold on to the trellises or poles, the additional fixings provide protection and better support in wind and storms.
Climbing zucchini is also suitable for container culture. So it can be grown even on the balcony. With this type of culture, however, must
However, some points must be taken into account:
The planter should have a volume of at least ten liters. Smaller tubs not only provide insufficient stability, but also significantly increase the amount of maintenance. On the other hand, the larger the planter, the easier the care will be.
In a container, the climbing zucchini cannot provide itself with water as well as in the open. As a result, it needs to be watered more often. On very hot days, it may even be necessary to water in the morning and evening. At the same time, waterlogging must be urgently prevented. A shallow drainage layer or not using a planter can ensure this.
Since the climbing zucchini in the tub has less substrate and thus fewer nutrients available, fertilization becomes more important when growing in a planter. Suitable means are small amounts of compost, pond water, plant manure and vegetable fertilizer given once a month until harvest.
The annual climbing zucchini does not require pruning. Only in case of infestation with pests or infection by viruses or fungi, the affected leaves and shoots should be cut off. For this purpose, use a sharp knife or scissors. The blades of the cutting tools are disinfected before and after use to prevent transmission of pests or germs.
Climbing zucchini produces flowers relatively quickly. The flowers can be female and male and are edible in either case. However, those who wish to harvest them and use them in salads or stuff, fry or bake them should be careful of the following points:
They will not produce fruit and have a simple stem with no thickening. This makes male flowers easy to identify and can be harvested without sacrificing yield.
Female flowers should remain on the plant as they will produce fruit. Directly behind the flower, a distinct thickening can be seen on the stem.
In order for female flowers to be fertilized, they need to be in close proximity to male flowers. So the male flowers should not be removed immediately as soon as the buds open. It is better to wait a few days so that the pollen can reach the pistils of the female flowers. If you do not want to do without fertilization by insects, you can do it yourself with a brush.
Harvesting climbing zucchini can begin as soon as the fruits have reached an appropriate size. When this time comes, again depends on the selected species. As a rule, should reach a length of 15-25 centimeters. If they become much longer and thicker, the following problems may occur:
- fruits become dry and partly woody
- the risk of burst fruits increases
- the plant or shoots are weighed down by the weight.
Therefore, it is better to harvest gradually and not leave the fruits on the climbing zucchini for too long. With optimal care and suitable weather, the harvest period can extend into the fall.
Typical diseases and pests
While zucchini is relatively hardy with proper care, there is still a risk for pests and diseases. Typical are:
Slugs especially pounce on young plants and young shoots and can cause considerable damage to the climbing zucchini. They should therefore be removed immediately upon sighting. Slug pellets or slug traps can also be helpful.
Aphids do not seem particularly threatening, but they can damage climbing zucchini, causing curled and misshapen leaves and shoots, which can also affect yield. If the pests themselves are noticeable on the plant, a greasy black coating becomes visible or the aforementioned deformations, appropriate countermeasures should be taken immediately.
- the targeted application of ladybugs as natural predators
- spraying with pesticides from the market
- spraying with nettle broth
Powdery mildew is noticeable by white spots and coatings on the leaves. It weakens the plant and can therefore also have a negative effect on the yield. The following remedies and measures are effective:
remove all severely affected leaves and shoots
use plant protection products against fungi
use a mixture of nine to ten parts of fresh whole milk and one part of water to spray the zucchini repeatedly
If the decision falls on the solution of milk and water, it should act for half an hour and then rinse with clean water. The application should be sprayed every three days until the disappearance of mildew.
- Yellow mosaic virus
- This viral infection is indicated by several symptoms. Among them:
- yellow spots on the leaves
- weaker growth
- stunted leaves and shoots
- malformed fruits
If left untreated, yellow mosaic virus leads to plant death. Prevention is possible by preventing or quickly eliminating aphid infestations, as the pests can transmit the virus. Choosing resistant climbing zucchini varieties can also prevent the disease.
Typical care mistakes
Apart from frequent watering and coordinated fertilization, climbing zucchini shows itself to be relatively low-maintenance and hardy. Mistakes in cultivation, however, can make the plant more susceptible to diseases and pests or cause significant damage more quickly in the event of an infestation. Proper care is therefore also one of the preventive measures against infections and parasites. Above all, the following care mistakes should be urgently avoided:
- too little liquid supply
- Waterlogging due to lack of drainage or non-existent runoff
- too little nutrient supply
- shady location
- no protection from frost
If the plant shows reduced growth, discoloration or even appears wilted, the conditions at the location and the culture should be checked accordingly.