Growing and harvesting zucchini in Australia

Zucchini is one of the most productive vines of summer, producing a mass of edible flowers followed by fruit, which many mistakenly call a vegetable. The sprawling vine can be trained up a trellis or frame or allowed to spill out from their garden beds or pots.

What you need to know about zucchini

Name: zucchini, courgette, squash, marrow, summer squash, gourd (Cucubita pepo)

Height: sprawling vine to 3m

Foliage: annual with large green leaves.

Climate: zucchini is a summer crop in areas with hot dry summers, and a cool-climate crop in tropical and sub-tropical areas.

Soil: prefers deep, well-drained soil enriched with aged manure and compost.

Position: full sun with room to spread.

Flowering and fruiting: zucchini produces both male and female flowers. The male flowers appear on long thin stems, while the female flowers have shorter stems and produce the actual fruit from the base of this stem.

Feeding: a monthly application of blood and bone or dynamic lifter, and regular treatment with a seaweed-based solution during the fruiting season.  

Watering: regular watering is required to keep plants productive and healthy. Water daily during hot dry weather; less often if soil is mulched and the weather mild. Avoid wetting the foliage, as this can lead to fungal problems.

Two near ripe zucchinis

Appearance and characteristics of zucchini

Zucchini is an abundant sprawling vine with large green gritty leaves that have a texture similar to sandpaper, and hollow, crisp, hairy stems with small prickles that protect the developing fruit from accidental harvest by large pests (such as livestock). The fruit develops at the base of the female flowers, with both male and female flowers appearing throughout the fruiting season. Fruit develops quickly, with small zucchinis rapidly becoming large marrows if left too long on the vine.

How to plant and grow zucchini

Zucchini is easy to grow and relatively trouble-free.

Growing zucchini from seed

  1. Sow seeds when soil temperatures reach a minimum of 15°C.Sow seed to a depth of 2cm.

  2. Alternatively, sow in seed trays and transplant when all likelihood of frost has passed.

Planting zucchini seedlings

  1. Plant seedlings in a soil enriched with decomposed manure and compost.

  2. Apply a handful of blood and bone or dynamic lifter at planting.

  3. Position 2–3 plants together, in clumps at least 1m apart. This will help with pollination.

  4. Plant at the same height as the seedling was in the punnet.

  5. Mulch to conserve soil moisture and to protect the developing fruit. Protect seedlings from snails and slugs with snail and slug pellets or traps.

How to harvest zucchini

  1. Harvest zucchini using secateurs to avoid damaging the vine. The more you pick, the more fruit the vine will produce.

  2. For best flavour, pick the zucchini when young.

  3. If harvesting flowers, remember that this may be at the expense of the developing fruit.

Caring for zucchini

Water regularly in dry weather and during the development of flowers and fruit. Avoid overhead watering, which can increase the likelihood of fungal problems.

Apply a handful of blood and bone or dynamic lifter monthly during fruit development, and apply seaweed solution fortnightly to help prevent fungal infection and maintain plant vigour.

Diseases and pests

Snails and slugs will attack young seedlings. Protect your zucchini using snail and slug pellets or traps.

Fungal infections such as powdery mildew or downy mildew can become a problem during the growth cycle. If found, remove infected leaves and spray with one part milk to four parts water. To minimise the risk of infection, space plants at least 1m apart and avoid overhead watering.

How to propagate zucchini

Zucchini is propagated by seed collected from mature zucchinis.

  1. Allow a couple of fruits to become marrows (large with very thick, hard skin).

  2. Harvest and store for two weeks to allow the seeds to plump out before harvesting the seed.

  3. Break open and gather the seeds from the centre of the fruit, washing them to remove any flesh still clinging to the seeds.

  4. Spread the seeds out evenly over paper towel and allow to dry. When the seed is dry, it will snap when bent.

  5. Store in a clearly marked envelope in a dry location for sowing next spring.

If you like this then try

Tomato: plant at the same time as zucchini for a bumper harvest.

Capsicum: a summer favourite suited to stuffing and roasting.

Corn: grow your own corn and you can make zucchini and sweet corn fritters. 

Start planting today

Check out our huge range of plants now and get your garden growing!

Cherry Plant

Planting & Growing How to plant and grow a cherry tree Sweet or sour, cherries are a popular summer treat around the world. Lovely and narrow, the cherry tree is suited to areas with cold winters, creating a stunning display of blossom in spring followed by the much-loved fruit.

plant pots 03:15

Planting & Growing How to grow and care for indoor plants For people unable to garden outdoors, growing indoor plants allows them to indulge in a hobby that gives great pleasure.

bird of paradise plant

Planting & Growing How to grow and prune a bird of paradise Hardy, easy to grow and architecturally dramatic with some of the most stunning and bizarre flowers you will ever see—that’s the awesome bird of paradise.

Apple Tree

Planting & Growing How to grow and prune an apple tree Nothing beats the crunch and taste of a fresh apple. So why not grow your own? An apple tree can be so much more than just a fruit tree.

basil

Planting & Growing How to plant grow and harvest basil An attractive garden plant that’s easy to grow and is an essential ingredient in a multitude of dishes. That’s basil!

Bougainvillea

Planting & Growing How to plant grow and prune bougainvillea If you’re looking for a plant with vibrant colours to bring a tropical look to your garden, then you can’t go past bougainvillea.

How to design a herb garden 01:23

Planting & Growing How to design a herb garden Turn your back or front yard into a beautiful, productive space by creating an edible garden that looks good and will tastes even better. For this project, we’re grouping our herbs into three pots – one for tea, one for smoothies and one for cocktai...

Choose a sunny spot and watch 01:40

Planting & Growing How to grow strawberries You’ll love the taste of home-grown strawberries. It’s a great activity the whole family will have fun doing.

low water garden

Planning & Projects How to create a low-water garden ‘Dry’ or ‘low-water’ gardening is a real art and, when done right, will provide you with an inviting landscape that uses very little water.

Finished artificial green garden wall behind garden bench 02:05

Planning & Projects How to create a green wall using artificial hedge Green walls are all the rage at the moment, but buying and maintaining one can be costly. Why not have a go at creating your own using pieces of artificial hedge – it looks great and will last the distance. Here’s how.

reducing water

How To Save Water How to reduce water usage Whether indoor or outdoor, there are lots of ways to be smart about water usage. And there are some simple actions that can make a big difference to your water bill.

doorbell 02:04

Doors How to install a ring doorbell The Ring video doorbell is a wireless doorbell which allows you to see who is at your front door. Find out how to install the Ring video doorbell yourself.

a tree lit up with solar lights around it 01:46

Garden Lighting How to install solar lights in your garden Solar lights are a great way to illuminate your pathways and highlight your garden beds at night. Install them yourself with these easy steps.

how to organise your pantry 02:52

Shelving & Storage How to organise your pantry Create an organisational system in your pantry with these handy storage hints. Trust us – its life changing!

front door 01:31

How To Paint How to paint your front door Make an entrance every darn day of the week by painting your front door a bold, enticing colour!

how to hang pictures

Walls The best way to hang pictures on a wall Learn the tricks to hanging your wall decor so it looks good – and doesn’t damage the plasterboard. Create an effortless-looking display by taking the time to consider spacing, proportion, frame styles and colour palettes.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
Top of the content