Zucchini is one of the most popular types of vegetables among German home growers. It is easy to care for and promises a high-yield harvest – provided the planting and site conditions are optimal. When planting, attention must be paid to details so that courgettes thrive as best as possible and no problems arise with neighboring plants. The instructions show when is the best time to plant the zucchini and how to plant the summer squash.

Suitable zucchini varieties

Before making any purchase, you should think about which zucchini varieties it should be. They are all easy to care for and high-yield. Differences are more likely to be found in taste and fruit appearance. Whether spherical, oblong, yellow, green or with stripes, personal requirements are required here. Basically:

  • Yellow courgettes: more flavorful than others (example: “Soleil” variety)
  • White courgettes: less attractive in taste – mainly used for decoration (example: “Custard White” variety)
  • Green courgettes: include the largest, climbing and strong-growing courgettes – harmonious taste (popular variety: “Partenon”)

site conditions

When planting, the first mistake can be made when the site conditions are not optimal. A lack of germination of seeds, stunted plants, growth disorders, increased susceptibility to disease and a lack
of harvest yield or loss of taste can be the result of suboptimal site conditions. To prevent this from happening, the location should meet the following criteria:

  • Warm
  • Bright and sunny
  • sheltered from the wind
  • Loose, humus rich soil
  • Raised bed possible
Tip: An advantageous planting location is near a compost heap. This is where zucchinis can benefit from the increased nutrients leached out by the compost and seeping into the soil.

plant neighbors

Zucchinis are fast-growing and highly consuming plants. This means that they heavily drain the soil in which they stand. As a result, it can happen that the supply from the soil for neighboring plants is severely restricted because the summer squash removes (almost) everything from the soil. It is therefore important that the neighboring plants are medium or, better, weak consumers. Potatoes, for example, are not included. Suitable plant neighbors are above all:

Crop rotation/crop rotation

As heavy feeders, courgettes take a lot out of the soil. To ensure that the soil can recover sufficiently well after ripening, zucchini should not be planted in the same place again the following year. A preparation of the soil is associated with a lot of work and effort, so that a change of location is the more sensible option.

Ideally, the bed will not be occupied again with zucchinis or other types of squash for a period of four years. In order to be able to benefit from a harvest every year, it is therefore advisable to create three to four additional beds in which courgettes can change from year to year.

Mixed or monoculture

Because these summer squash species are heavy feeders, it is not a good idea to plant too many specimens together as a monoculture in a bed. Many plants in the bed also mean an enormous consumption of nutrients. Regular fertilization can partially “replenish” the nutrient content in the soil, but the soil is still depleted. There is a risk that they will hinder each other’s growth. A maximum of five courgettes should be planted in a humus-rich bed. For a family of four, two plants are usually enough with normal consumption. It must be at least this amount for cross-fertilization to be possible.

However, there is nothing to be said against a mixed culture – on the contrary. Mixed cultures lead to plant strengthening and reduce the risk of disease. Therefore, other plants should be present as direct plant neighbors.

Best planting time for zucchini

The best time to plant courgettes is mid-May, when the ice saints are over and frost is no longer to be expected. If, contrary to expectations, night frosts occur, it is advisable to cover the plant. This can be a bucket or fleece, for example. However, it should not rest on the plant.


If you want to put your own zucchini plant in the bed, you can use seeds before the recommended planting time. In April, the seeds are sown in pots. At an ambient temperature of around 20 degrees Celsius, the seeds usually germinate after a week. After around three weeks, when at least two leaves appear, the young plants are ready to be planted outdoors. Here, too, the planting time should not be before the ice saints.

planting distance

Maintaining a certain planting distance is particularly important for zucchini. They form large leaves. If they are close together or close to neighboring plants, it is more difficult for air to get through, which increases the risk of rot immensely. They also need their space in order to be able to grow unhindered. This particularly affects bushy growing varieties. Climbing varieties need a little less planting distance if they are guided upwards with the help of a climbing aid.
Zucchinis have the following space requirements:

  • 1.5 to two square meters per plant
  • Planting distance: between 80 and 100 centimetres
Note: If courgettes take up too much space in the bed, you don’t have to do without them. They can also be planted in pots/tubs.

Instructions: Plant zucchini


If climbing zucchinis are planted, the first step is to place a climbing aid in the bed. It has to be stable and fixed so that it doesn’t immediately tip over in the wind because the large blades offer resistance. Climbing aids are available in specialist garden shops and you can also easily build them yourself. It is important that the tendrils find support, especially when fruit is forming in the higher area.

planting preparation

  • Loosen the soil well
  • Work the compost generously into the bed soil
  • Dig a planting hole – twice as high and deep as plant balls/roots
  • Create drainage in the planting hole (a layer of quartz sand or gravel about two to three centimeters high)
  • Mix the excavated soil again with compost or lawn mulch
  • Put some soil on the drainage (so high that plant gets ideal depth)


  • Remove zucchini from pot/container
  • Shake loose soil from roots
  • Place the plant in the center of the planting hole
  • Root-shoot transition should be about two centimeters below the surface of the earth
  • Fill in the sides of the planting hole with the excavated soil
  • Press well
  • Pour liberally
  • Bark mulch on the surface reduces the risk of rot
Tip: It should be poured in smaller quantities and only refilled when the previous irrigation water has drained. If the water no longer drains off, stop watering immediately to avoid waterlogging.

snail protection

Snails love zucchini. For this reason, the use of a snail protection makes sense. It is advisable to attach or remove this immediately after planting, so that you keep snails at a distance, which you attract immediately after planting.

Snail fences offer an easy method. Alternatively, slug pellets are available to sprinkle around the courgettes. Snails can be prevented from eating with household remedies, especially scents.

Planting in pots/tubs

If you don’t have a garden or don’t have enough space in the bed, you can also plant zucchini in pots/tubs. The planting time, site conditions and the procedure for planting zucchini is exactly the same as for bed planting. The only things to watch out for here are:

  • Use water-permeable substrate
  • Only use a pot/bucket with a drainage hole (so that excess water can drain away)
  • Pot/bucket diameter: at least 15 liters capacity

Compact growing, climbing courgettes are ideal for the balcony because they take up more space, such as the “Black Forest F1” variety. The varieties “Patiostar F1” and “Maraîchère” are also ideal as balcony plants due to their compact growth habit.

Note: Even when planting in a pot/tub, two plants are absolutely necessary, but they must be placed in two pots/tubs next to each other so that fertilization can take place.

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