growing courgettes in pots

Growing Courgettes in Pots [Tips for A Productive Harvest]

Courgettes are an easy vegetable to grow in the garden and they’re particularly useful vegetables to grow too – there are a lot of easy courgette recipes out there!  Courgettes, however, can be a very prolific vegetable and most gardeners will only need 1 or 2 plants to grow enough for their needs, as if you harvest courgettes regularly, then your plant will produce lots and lots of vegetables.  We prefer growing courgettes in pots as it helps to contain them and gives you more space in the garden itself to grow lots more. Welcome to our guide on how to grow courgettes in pots, we cover how to sow courgettes, planting our courgettes, when to pick courgettes and the best courgette varieties for the UK.


Why Grow Courgettes in Pots

Courgettes are particularly easy to grow from seed and while they’re best started off indoors, you can plant them in pots in the garden or directly into the soil.  It’s also possible to sow them outdoors directly where you want them to grow.

We like growing courgettes in containers as it makes it easier to control the area that the plant can cover.  Courgette plants tend to trail along the ground and take over a lot of space (not as quickly as mint does, but it still can be a big area!)  All the courgette plants that we have grown have been prolific producers, and we’ve never had to worry about not having enough courgettes at all.  So much so that we’ve experimented with many courgette recipes over the years.

How to Sow Courgette Seeds

Sow your courgette seeds either inside (from March) or directly into compost or soil in April, May and June.   You can always find the detals on when to plant out courgettes on the packet of courgette seeds that you buy.  Don’t forget that these guidelines for when to plant courgettes will always depend on the weather that season, so if you’re looking for when to plant courgettes outdoors, please do take into account annual differences.  If it is particular cold or wet, then leave it a little longer, or start off indoors.  We find it quicker to get them going by sowing courgettes indoors in a small pot with vegetable compost.

  • Sow courgette seeds individually, about 1.5 centimetres deep in 7-centimetre pots.
  • Water gently and leave on a warm sunny windowsill.
  • You can also sow courgettes directly into larger pots and leave them in a greenhouse, but you’ll likely need to protect them against frost.
  • If you want to sow courgettes directly outside then you can do so late May to early June, you’ll need to cover them with insulation or a cloche until the seeds germinate, and be aware that it may only be your strongest seedlings that survive.
  • Your compost needs to be kept moist, but not waterlogged while the courgette seed germinates.

Here’s the Best Courgette Seeds for the UK

We recommend buying your vegetable seeds and plants from Thompson Morgan, but you can also buy courgette seeds from Amazon.

Where to Plant Courgettes

We recommend that you plant your courgette plants in a pot!  We have also had great success growing courgettes in grow bags.  Plant a single courgette plant per pot, or you can get at most two in a grow bag.   We recommend these grow bags for courgettes.  Be aware the courgettes are thirsty plants and you will need to ensure that they get plenty of water.

While we try and use rainwater as much as possible on the garden and in pots, when that’s not possible, we use a space saving expandable hose – check out our guide to expanding hoses here

how to grow courgettes

Transplanting Courgette Plants

You may need to transplant your courgette plant to a bigger pot for a while before you’re able to plant it outside.  That’s where growing courgettes in containers wins over grow bags – you can transplant it to its forever home, yet keep it inside if the weather is a little cold.  If it’s going to be cold and wet and windy, keep your plants inside until the weather improves.  When you do transplant your courgette to its final home, you’ll want to make sure that it’s a 25-centimetre diameter pot per plant – or as we’ve said a grow bag per two plants.

How to Grow Courgette in a Greenhouse

You can grow courgettes “under glass” if you have a large enough greenhouse and they will thrive in this environment.  If you’re growing courgettes in a greenhouse you will need to ensure that you keep them well watered. 

Courgette plant spacing dictates that you’ll need a reasonably large greenhouse. We don’t have the space for a large greenhouse in our yard, so have always used mini-greenhouses. (Find our guide to mini greenhouses here!)  

Courgette Plant Care

Growing courgettes from seed is relatively simple and there’s very little involved in the care of courgettes while they are growing.  So here’s the basics of how to look after courgette plants.

Watering Requirements for Courgettes

You’ll notice when you cook with Courgettes that there is a lot of water in their fruits and Courgettes definitely like and need a lot of water.  Try to NOT get water on the leaves – water into the compost or soil.  If you’re looking for compost, then here’s our recommendations on compost.

Feed Requirements for Courgettes

Once you start to see your first fruits you’ll want to start feeding your courgette every 10 days to 2 weeks. Here’s a good plant food for courgettes.

The Best Location for Growing Courgettes

Try and select a sunny spot that is sheltered from the wind – courgettes aren’t that hardy for your pots of courgette plants.  Using pots to grow courgettes will help you appreciate just how much space they actually take up.  If you grow courgettes directly into the garden you’ll see their leaves taking up so much space.  At least with a pot, you can move them around!  If you’ve decided to grow directly into the ground, then you’ll want at least ONE METRE between plants.

growing courgettes in pots

Pests and Disease to look out for when growing Courgettes

When your courgette plants are young you might need to look out for slugs as they like young courgette leaves – growing courgettes in pots helps this as there’s more you can do to protect your courgette plants than if they were in the ground.

Protect your courgettes from slugs by

  • Sprinkling a circle of salt around the pot if the weather is dry
  • Sprinkle an organic slug pellet around the courgette plant
  • Use a beer trap to protect your courgette plant.

However, the most common issue that you’ll have when growing courgettes (and we’ve never had this, but I see it in a lot of places) is mildew.  Courgettes will be affected by mildew if there is poor airflow and their roots are dry.  Maintain your watering schedule and ensure that your courgette plant is in a location where there is a decent airflow.

The Best Varieties of Courgette to Grow

I don’t think there are any BAD varieties of courgettes, but here are the ones that we recommend you to grow in pots.

  • Ambassador Courgette Seeds– easy to grow, can be grown as courgettes or marrows get Ambassador courgette seeds now from Thompson Morgan or Courgette Ambassador from Amazona
  • El Greco AGM Courgette Seeds: This variety of courgette grows in an open fashion making it easy to pick – and the harvests tend to be prolific. – buy El Greco Courgette Seeds here
  • Black Beauty Courgette Seeds-  Vigorous and productive producing dark green coloured long fruits over a long season. Glossy skins and a fine texture. Ideal for beginners and children. > buy Black Beauty Courgette seeds now from Thompson Morgan! or here from Amazon
  • Supremo Courgette Seeds AGM: – this is a great option for varieties of courgettes to grow in pots as it is a good one of the compact courgette varieties. Unfortunately we can’t currently find a source for Courgette Supremo Seeds.
  • Tiger Cross AGM: A bigger variety that produces big striped fruits, they store well. – Buy these courgette seeds now
  • Courgette Venus AGM – another courgette plant this is relatively compact. Tends to have quite a long season and crops well. Sadly we can’t find a supplier for Venus Courgette Seeds either.

The Best Pots for Growing Courgettes

To effectively grow courgettes in containers you’ll want a pot that is 25-centimetre in diameter.  It can be clay or plastic pot.  It must have drainage holes.  If you want to grow courgettes in a grow bag, then you can grow two courgette plants per grow bag.

How to Care for Courgette Plants

Ensure that your courgette plants have plenty of water – courgettes are thirsty plants.  But water the soil and try and get the water to the roots to avoid the stems rotting.  Feed your courgette once every 10-14 days once the fruit starts to appear.

When to Harvest Courgettes

You’ll want to harvest courgettes as soon as they get to the right size.  You’ll harvest courgettes June through October.  Smaller ones tend to have more flavour.  Courgettes get enormous quickly.  They can literally grow inches overnight.  By harvesting your courgettes you’ll encourage the plant to grow more.  Leaving courgettes on the plant to become marrows means that the energy will go into growing the marrow and not into growing additional courgettes.

How to Harvest Courgettes

When it comes to how to pick courgettes, its pretty easy.

  • Select courgettes that are 10-12 centimetres long.
  • Cut the courgette at the base with a sharp knife – try not to damage the plant.
  • Keep harvesting regularly and you’ll keep the plant producing.
courgettes grow quickly

Courgette stalks can be a little spiky.  Take care with your hands and arms when harvesting – or use a good pair of protective gardening gloves.

You can also eat courgette flowers, they’re great on a salad and you can also cook with them.  Courgettes have two types of flowers, the flower that has the young vegetable attached to it (this is the female flower) and the much more attractive flower on a long stalk which is the male.  Courgette flowers will keep for 2-3 days if you seal them in a plastic bag and keep in the fridge.

Got a glut of courgettes?  Why not dehydrate them?  Courgettes are a great vegetable to dehydrate. Courgette chips and crisps are a fabulous way to preserve your courgettes for longer – read our Food Dehydrators guide here!

Tips for Maximising your Courgette Harvest

The best way to increase your courgette harvest is to harvest on a regular basis.  Harvest when the courgettes are 10-12 centimetres.  This might not seem particularly big, but believe me, there will be another one along in a few days.  Regular harvesting of courgette plants means that you’ll encourage the growth of additional fruits.

FAQs on How to Grow Courgettes

Got questions about the best way to grow courgettes? Or want to know about courgette care and we haven’t answered your questions?  Check out our frequently asked questions about growing courgettes below, or ask us yours in the comments.

How long do courgettes take to grow?

If you’re growing courgettes from seed (you can also usually pick up a courgette plant at plant stalls), then you should be harvesting courgettes should be ready to pick within about 8 weeks of sowing the courgette seeds.

Can you grow courgettes in pots

Yes.  You can grow courgettes in pots, you can grow courgettes in containers, you can grow courgettes in grow bags too!

How many courgettes per plant?

Once your courgette plant has reached maturity, then you’ll be able to pick four to five small courgettes a week from each plant.  Harvest regularly and this will promote growth of further fruits.  If you leave some courgette fruits on the plant they will grow to become marrows.

Do courgettes grow back every year?

No.  Courgettes are what’s known as an “annual”.  Their lifecycle lasts a single season.  You will need to plant a new plant next season.  For details on biennial (a two year lifespan) or perennial (three years or more) vegetables read our guide to them here

What is a good companion plant for courgettes?

If you’re looking for what to plant with courgettes, then we’d recommend beans, squashes, dill, rosemary, garlic or mint.

Can you buy young courgette plants?

Yes, if you don’t want to grow courgette from seed, you can buy young courgette plants. The best place to buy courgette plants is from a garden centre in May or June.

Can you grow courgettes in a greenhouse?

Yes. Courgettes will grow well in a greenhouse, you wil need to ensure that you water the plants well.

How much space do courgette plants need?

Courgettes take up a lot of space.  We recommend planting them around 90 centimetres apart if you’re planting directly into the ground.  You can grow two courgette plants in a grow bag, or one or two in a pot depending on the size of the pot.  Some courgette varieties are best for growing in containers.

When do you plant courgettes?

You can sow courgette seeds in May and June, they may need to be under cover for the first few weeks.  Plants will also be available in garden centres during this time.

What does a courgette plant look like?

Here’s what a courgette plant looks like

plant courgettes in june

How far apart should I plant courgettes?

Courgettes should be planted about 90 centimetres apart if you’re planting into the ground.

What is the best courgette variety?

We recommend the Ambassador courgette variety as the best courgette for containers.   It is easy to grow as either courgettes or marrows and you can get these Ambassador courgette seeds here from Thompson Morgan or here from Amazon

Do courgettes grow into marrows?

Yes.  A marrow is a courgette that has been left on the plant to grow for a while longer. 

Our favourite courgette recipes

Here’s some of our favourite recipes that we specfically grow courgettes for

Final Words on Growing Courgettes in Pots

Our first season with courgettes was an unmitigated success.  Being new to edible gardening we had no idea what our failure rate would be and planted lots.  And lots.  To say we ate little else that year apart from courgettes would be forgetting the huge tomato harvest we had as well.  Since then our courgette growing impulses have calmed down somewhat and we grow courgettes in pots to control the space that they use and also our over-planting tendencies!

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