7 Helpful Tips for Growing Zucchini Plants

Do you find growing zucchini in your garden harder than you thought?

Growing zucchini is popular because zucchinis are one of the easiest plants to grow in your garden. Most gardeners can plant a few zucchini seedlings and watch the plants grow rapidly without any issues.

I love zucchinis. Aside from tomatoes, zucchinis are the one vegetable that screams summer to me. I love dicing up zucchini in our stir-fry recipes or making zucchini muffins. So, I want to make sure that our harvest is bountiful. You can (and should) freeze zucchini if it is shredded, so I want to be overrun with zucchini.

That usually is what happens. In fact, our crop tends to be so plentiful that I’m begging my parents, family, and friends to take their share as well.

Here are some tips that we use for growing zucchini plants.

1. Plant at the Right Time

Zucchini plants are NOT friends with frost. If you plant your zucchini plants before the threat of frost passes, you risk your entire crop.

Zucchinis don’t even like cold temperatures, but I can’t blame them!

So, that means you have to resist temptation and don’t plant too early. If the fruits form during cold weather, it is unlikely they will grow well.

2. Pick the RIGHT Spot

Once you got the right timing to plant your zucchinis, you have to decide where to plant zucchinis in your yard. The spot you pick needs to receive full sunlight, so that garden bed that is shady because of a large tree is a BAD choice!

It also needs to be an area that is moist and drains well. The site shouldn’t be soggy though! Make sure you add compost and organic matter into the soil you selected for growing zucchini plants.

3. Use Succession Planting

Many people don’t realize that growing zucchini plants are a good option for succession planting because they aren’t frost hardy. When we think of succession planting, we think of plants that grow from spring to fall, not summer-loving plants.

Zucchini plants break that mold. These plants grow fast, and you typically can harvest the first fruits 40 to 60 days after planting.

To prevent drowning in zucchinis (which really isn’t a bad thing if you LOVE zucchini), start new plants two or three times each season. That allows you to extend your harvest season. Zucchini plants tend to produce a lot of fruit at one time and then slow down to a halt.

Best of all, you don’t have to start zucchini plants inside. Just pop those seeds into the ground.

4. Plant in Hills

Planting in hills doesn’t mean that you are planting your zucchinis on an actual hill, but it sounds that way. Instead, “hills” refer to a cluster of plants. Gardeners can opt to purchase seedlings or plant zucchini seeds directly into the garden.

Plant a hill of 2 to 3 zucchini plants together. Doing so is important because zucchinis have flowers that must be pollinated to create the fruit you want. Those flowers open for ONE day. Yes, only ONE! If pollination fails, you don’t get any zucchini, and that would be a bummer. Planting several plants together improves the chances of pollination.

5. Understand Zucchini Pollination

So, you now know that the flowers open for one day, but did you know there are male and female flowers on a zucchini plant. Both the male and female flowers open at the same time, but only a female flower creates a fruit. Male flowers are for pollination only.

Sounds like humans, right? You can fry up those squash flowers though, so don’t let them go to waste!

On most new plants, the male flowers tend to set first, and then you are frustrated because your plant is bursting with blossoms without any fruit forming. Don’t fret just yet, especially if you see pollinating insects fluttering around. The female flowers are on the way.

Female flowers have tiny fruits behind the base of the blossom, making them easy to distinguish. If you are worried about your harvest, you can remove the male flowers and pollinate the female flowers yourself.

6. Learn How to Handle Squash Vine Borers

These frustrating pests hideout in winter soil. Some refuse to emerge until June or July. Then, these pesky creatures want to find a place to lay their eggs, and the base of your beautiful squash plants seems like the perfect spot. The larvae will burrow into the stem of your plant an feed.

Soon, your plant stops receiving water through the stem, and it dies off. I’ve had this happen, and it was so frustrating.

To prevent squash vine borers, you can plant your zucchini mid-July, which prevents them from destroying your plants. Make sure that you rotate your crop locations and don’t plant zucchini plants in the same area each year. When you plant your zucchini seedlings, place insect netting to stop the adult vine borers from reaching the plants.

Another cool trick is to wrap aluminum foil around the base of your stem, which stops the larvae from attacking your plants.

7. Mulch Around Your Plants

After the seedlings emerge from the ground and establish themselves, put mulch around the base of your plants. Doing so keeps the weeds are bay, and mulch also helps the soil to retain moisture. Mulch also helps to regulate soil temperatures.

Start Growing Zucchini Plants Now!

Now that you know how to grow zucchini plants, take these tips and get to work. Summer is officially here, and we all want to have fresh zucchini for dinner.

Give my Zucchini Shrimp Pasta recipe a try. You create zucchini noodles with the help of a spiralizer. It is a healthy recipe that kids and adults love.

With the right tips, you’ll find that growing zucchini in your garden isn’t so hard after all.

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  1. Zucchini seems to be one of those vegetables that is really easy to grown around here where we live. The joke is everybody is always giving away zucchini. Always good tips for those who have problems.

  2. I cannot get my zucchini or squash to grow without almost dying and giving me heart palpitations. It comes back to life the next day of course, then looks half dead the next. This was a helpful article, so thank you! I am really trying to be a good gardener this summer, but the Arkansas weather is just about to do me in!

    1. Our Ohio weather has been horrid. It rained for over a week, basically straight. My poor tomato plants are NOT happy.

  3. Really good tips. I did not have much luck with my zucchini plants last year and had a huge problem with borers, but i planted mine way earlier than mid July. I had given up hope, but I think i might just give it a go again this year! There is still time 🙂

    1. Yes! You’ll likely have great success since you waited. Don’t plant them in the same area either.

  4. I love your tips for borers! I thought there was just no hope for squash plants afflicted with borers? Do you struggle with squash bugs? Any tips? Those things are the bane of my existence!

  5. Thanks for the awesome tips! There is something about home grown vegetables that make them taste SO MUCH BETTER! Zucchini is one of my best growing plants.

  6. Thanks for the reply. I did read the article on hand pollination. Three pollination prices is not the problem though. The flowers are being pollinated, and the fruit at the base of the flower starts to grow beautifully, but when they reach about an inch in length, I find them dropped off and lying on the ground. I have a plant in a container at the moment, and I’ve made sure that the roots are hydrated by using a saucer – still dropping off. I’m wondering if I should be fertilizing or feeding the plant with something? Perhaps there’s something lacking in the soil? The same thing has happened in the past with both baby marrows and butternut, which grow in similar ways.

  7. My daughter and I just started a garden this year. We have a couple zucchini plants & yellow squash . They both are very bushy and are covering our pepper plants. Can the zucchini be pruned of some of the leafs to give light to the pepper plants?

    1. Absolutely! Typically, you’d remove the biggest leaves, cutting near the base. Don’t cut off too much though. Do a bit at a time.

  8. Can I plant zucchinis in the same place a second year or do I need to include them in my crop rotation plan? Are they considered fruits like tomatoes, peppers and potatoes?

    1. You should definitely rotate zucchini. Squash borers or vine borers live in the soil, so it’s best to rotate their location each year. And yes, they’re considered a fruit!

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