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hello, I don't usually grow veg but was given 1 x courgette and 2 x chilli plants a few weeks back which have now been repotted. from the info tag, the chillis and are being kept in the greenhouse and the courgette is supposed to be planted outdoors.

as I don't have enough space to plant the courgette in the garden, it's in a large pot. it seems to be doing ok, it is flowering but not growing very much in height. should I pick off the flowers & pinch out the growing tip as it seems a bit odd that it's flowering but not growing upwards ?? 

also one of the chillies was covered in whitefly so I used an organic spray to kill them off  but it looks pathetic. should I chuck it ???  the other one is doing ok.

all advice welcome.

thanks, shazza  


my question 


Hi Shazza 

Courgettes don't grow upwards, they grow outwards, so yours is behaving normally.  Leave the flowers on - the first ones will be males, on long thin stalks - then it will have female flowers, on short fat stalks that are really the future courgettes.  Hopefully when it has both sorts together the boys  will pollinate the girls and those short fat stalks will turn into courgettes 

You can grow courgettes in pots, I've done it, but you do have to give them a very large pot - mine was about 18" across and nearly the same deep, and you have to give them a lot of water.  It would be better in the ground if you can squeeze it somewhere in a garden border - they can look fantastic with those big architectural leaves and huge sunny yellow flowers .

As for the chilli, If the organic spray has cured the whitefly then with a bit of tlc the plant should be fine - but it may be a bit behind the other.  

Steve 309

Yes indeed - courgettes will certainly do better in  the ground so make some space if you possibly can.  One plant will, if it grows well, produce two or three courgettes a week, which is probably all you need!  If you forget to pick them, they'll turn into marrows and stop making new ones!

Wish I'd known that bit about male flowers coming first, Dove.  I was worried last year that my melons were never going to produce female flowers!  (I have noticed the potential double entendre in the previous sentences but am choosing to ignore it...)


John Harding

Not all Courgettes are the bush type: I am growing a climbing one this year called 'Black Forest' F1 based on the fantastic results of last year. These cost about £1 per seed from Dobies at Paignton but I have been very disappointed with the germination rate at less than 50% so they have effectively cost me £2 + per seed despite Dobies replacing the 1st packet FOC. 1st packet = 4 seeds 100% failure rate, 2nd packet 4 seeds 75% failure rate. Bit the bullet and bought 2 more packets (8 seeds) and achieved 75% success (6 of the 8 germinated) so I had sufficient for myself and my daughter.

We grow them in 16 inch dia. pots filling the bottom 2/3rd with Westlands composted farmyard manure topped up with Westlands Veg growing compost into which the plants were potted (1 plant per pot). Normally that would be a very expensive way of doing it but I got a very good deal from my local GC. Another Courgette variety I have had good success with is 'Supremo F1' which is a bush type.

Steve 309

Sounds like you were unlucky with a bad batch of seeds John.  Beat that with my parsnips though - only 13 germinated out of seven four-foot rows!  New seed if course.

John Harding

Yes Steve, I've been unlucky with seed this year. I sowed some Swiss chard (bright lights) and beetroot (Alto) both from Dobies and they have come up showing discoloured and wilted leaves. Searched the internet for cause & remedy and advised most likely cause is infected seed so I've pulled them all up, used another raised bed and re-sowed with Mr Fothergill's seed. Have planted the leek seedlings where the swiss chard & beetroot were.

John Harding

PS Steve,

I sowed 'Countess' parsnips in Haxnicks deep root trainers in the GH to get them started this year. about 50% germinated but then they all disappeared! discovered a snail hiding under the root trainers during the day..Grrrr!

Re-sowed the seed and protected against the little critters and all germinated OK and are now growing very well in their final positions. Method of sowing was 5 seeds per station then thin out the weakest after germination.

Steve 309

Hmmm....never tried sowing parsnips anywhere but their final positions - it's said (on here somewhere I think, and elsewhere) to damage the tap root.  How deep are your root trainers?  Maybe I'll try it in long paper pots next year.

John Harding
Haxnicks deep root trainers are about 4" deep and there are 32 spaces per tray. I let mine grow till the roots just start to show at the bottom then open them and carefully transfer the entire root ball into a pre-dibbed hole. I've made my dibber out of an old fork handle so it's about 40mm thick. I use the same dibber for planting leeks with a metal sleeve around it to get a consistent depth.

thanks for all the advice, i'll see if I can find room in the border for the Courgetts


I planed my courgettes two in the ground, two in  large pots from Poundland. The ones in pots are huge and already producing courgettes. The ones in the ground are smaller and not yet fruiting. They do need a regular glug of water though.

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