Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Mirliton in Southern Colorado?

(A photo of mirliton, or chayote squash, which I found on the internet while researching)

I live in CO and have a wonderful organic veggie garden... some friends from Nepal have asked me to grown some mirliton for them... being unfamiliar with its cultivation, I did some on-line research and came across an article from 8/11/05 (Scott Appell was your Director of Education then and author of the article)... do you know if this plant can grow in SW CO? Do you know where I can get “starts”? Thank you in advance for your assistance... There’s so much snow here today it’s difficult to think about gardening... or maybe not...
Chayote squash or mirliton is botanically known as Sechium edule. The plant itself is a tuberous-rooted climber native to Central America. Supposedly you can tell the male and female flowers apart because the male flowers are pale yellow while the female flowers are more greenish. They do lead to an edible fruit, but I am sorry to say I do not think they would grow in southern Colorado. I must admit that I am not sure how long the plants take to flower and set fruit, but I know the plant would not be able to winter-over like other perennials you might have. If I am correct then southern Colorado is in Zone 4, 5, or 6 according to the USDA hardiness zone map and the plant you are hoping to grow is used to Zones 9-12. This means the plant naturally grows as far south as border country, and even into Mexico. Again, you might be able to treat it like an annual and have it last just one growing season outside, but in the winter you would have to bring plants inside or experiment with propagation by seed or cuttings.

As to where to find seeds or started plants, I’m going to have to ask HSNY Librarian, Katherine Powis, if she has any ideas. I can't think of any sources off the top of my head that offer this climbing plant.

No comments:

Post a Comment