At Home With Nature

How to Get the Seed Out of a Chayote for Propagation

I’m growing chayotes in my garden for the first time this year after developing salicylate sensitivity and I’ve found that there’s just not a lot of guidance out there on growing this crop in the home garden.

Call them what you want, chayote, choko, or mirliton, so far some of the tips I have read on this process have either turned out to be wrong, or simply aren’t working out for me.

So I’m applying my gardening and botany knowledge and figuring this out for myself.

A mirliton growing into a new plant.

First things first! If you want to grow chayotes, most likely you’re starting with a mature fruit. So you might be wondering, how do you extricate the seed from the fruit without damaging it?

I’m going to tell you what I’ve figured out.

A chayote that is starting to sprout a vine.

First, check your choko for signs of seed growth.

See, how there’s new growth sprouting out of the bottom of the chayote pictured above? That’s where the growth from the seed is emerging into a new vine.

Some gardeners may have luck planting the entire fruit. That hasn’t been my experience, so my method entails removing the seed before potting it. Plus, if you cut out the seed from the fruit, then you get to make a meal out of the rest of the remaining mirliton flesh.

To get the seed out, wait until you see some growth from the bottom of the fruit.

Then slice lengthwise like you would with a mango, first cutting off one side, then the other.

The central part of the fruit where the seed is located.

Next, make a shallow lengthwise cut along the fruit. You want the cut to be shallow so you don’t cut into the seed. Do this on the other side too.

Then I use my fingers to pry the cut flesh away from the seed.

Separating the fruit away from the seed.

Sometimes this may result in the seed breaking. That’s why it’s good to have several chokos to work with, so you can choose the seeds that didn’t get broken in the process.

The seed will separate easily from the flesh.

A choko seed after being separated from the flesh of the fruit.

The seed is tear-dropped shape, and as it develops, you’ll notice the seed separate into two little “wings.”

Sometimes the seed is getting quite developed and has already started vining.

A choko seed that has started vining.

If I’m not quite ready to pot these up, I will put them in a cup of water, filled shallowly, until I’m ready to pull out my seed starting soil and pots.

I’ll admit, my first few tries at this process resulted in some damaged seeds, but now that I have gotten the hang of it, I could probably do it in my sleep. That is, if I was a sleep walker who cooked at night – which I don’t!

Want more tips on growing chayotes – check back soon!

In the meantime, checkout some of the other gorgeous plants I’ve grown in my garden:

Plains Coreopsis

Lauren’s Grape Poppy

California Poppies

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