How To Grow Butternut Squash In A Container

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Last Updated on August 28, 2022

Butternut squash is one of the most popular varieties of squash. Typically, it is grown in gardens as it is rather large in size. However, with the right steps, you can grow butternut squash in a container.

With the use of bush cultivators, butternut squash can be planted in raised garden beds or large containers. Though it does take some work, it can be a great option if you are limited in the space you have to grow plants.

About Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is a variety of winter squash that is grown on vines. It has an oblong shape with hard skin that, unlike summer squash, is not edible. Its skin is tan-yellow to light orange in color, with bright orange flesh.

When it is ripe, butternut squash turns increasingly deep orange, in addition to becoming sweeter and richer. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium. Though botanically it is a fruit, culinarily it is a vegetable. 

About Butternut Squash

Butternut squash has many uses in the culinary world. It is popular to use for soups, casseroles, bread, pies, and muffins. In addition, it is also great for roasting, stuffing, sauteing, and grilling. 

Due to its hardy skin, butternut squash will last for about two to three months after harvesting. It is best to store winter squash of all varieties in a cool, dry environment. It has a sweet taste that is slightly nutty as well. 

Check Out If Can You Grow Squash In A Pot?

How To Grow Butternut Squash In Small Space

Generally, butternut squash is not grown in containers, as it tends to require a lot of space. However, with the right steps, you can successfully grow it in small spaces, such as pots and raised garden beds. This is particularly ideal for those who have small yards or live in an apartment. 

Growing In Large Containers

Butternut squash can be grown in large containers, but they should be at least 24 inches in diameter and at least 12 inches deep. In some cases, they may even outgrow a container of this size. 

When choosing a container, you will want one that has good drainage. Oftentimes, you will want to drill large holes in the bottom of the pot to ensure it will have a proper drainage system. It is often a good idea to cover the bottom of the pot with a few inches of small gravel and then cover it with mesh.

You should use soil that is well-drained and rich. Ideally, it should be sandy loamy soil which is slightly acidic, anywhere from 5.8 to 6.5 Ph. To help make your soil richer, you can add compost, organic mulch, and coffee grounds. 

Check the soil around two to three times a week and water when the soil is dry a couple of inches down. On average, it will need around two to three inches of water a week. Be sure that your butternut squash is getting at least six to seven hours of sunlight a day. 

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Best Varieties Of Butternut Squash To Grow in Pots

When trying to decide what all to grow in your small garden, look for smaller bush varieties. Bush varieties are not only more compact, but they also produce more fruit in a shorter amount of time when compared to vining varieties. These are the butternut squash varieties you want to look out for when planting in a pot.

Burpee’s Butterbush

Burpee’s Butterbush squash grows vines that are around three to four feet long and produces fruit that is about 1.5 pounds in weight. They have pale, creamy-colored skin and flesh that is sweet, rich, and coppery red in color. 

Each Butterbush plant will produce around three to six fruits. They are known to be a particularly tasty variety of butternut squash. It is great for making pie, as well as roasting, grilling, and sauteing.

Burpee Butterbush Winter Squash Seeds 40 seeds


The Ponca variety of butternut squash produces a personal-sized fruit. They are only around six to eight inches in length with beige-colored skin and light orange flesh. They have a small seed cavity, which is ideal for using as much flesh as possible. 

Ponca has a pronounced sweet nutty flavor. It is particularly great for roasting and making soups too. 

Learn more about What Size Net Pots To Use

Butternut Squash Growing Stages

Most butternut squashes take around one to seven days to germinate. After that, it takes around 90-110 days for bush varieties of butternut squash to reach maturity.

You can plant your seeds direct into the large pot or plant them in a small pot and then transplant them. They will be ready to transplant when they are around two to three inches tall. When you go to transplant them, be sure to dig a hole that is at least two to three inches deep in your large container. 

Wait to plant your butternut squash until the soil is at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You can plant them in spring or early summer, being sure to do your best to wait till after the final frost. 

Butternut Squash Growing Stages


How much room does butternut squash need to grow?

It needs a lot of room. If you look at the root structure, you'll see that it's a huge mass of tangled roots and stems with only one or two leaves. They are very deep rooted, so they have to be well-watered to survive. The soil should be loose and sandy, so the roots can spread out. You want lots of air space between the plants for the roots to spread out.
You can plant them in large containers, but they won't grow as big. If you have a large garden or container, you can plant them in pairs and they will grow very quickly. They will also spread out more than in a pot, so they can fill in a larger area.

Can squash plants be grown in containers?

In general, I'd say it's certainly possible. I've grown several Squashes successfully in a large plastic trash can for years, and they do fine. I have also had success with small containers as well. When you're ready to plant, use potting soil. Add some compost if you have it. And then plant the Squash seeds into the pot.
Water them well, and keep them moist but not wet. Once they start sprouting, give them a little bit of light. As long as you water well and keep the soil moist, it's possible.

Do butternut squash need a trellis?

It depends on how big the squash are. If they are quite small and not very heavy, you can plant them in the ground. In this case, they won't need any support. But if they are large, they may need to be supported so that they don't grow too big and fall over. You can grow this vegetable in a container, and the trellis you can use to support your plants is any old length of string or twine.
If you want to make your own trellis, just pick up a few 2x4s and attach them together with wire. You can also do the same thing with some stakes and twine. The key is to make sure they are wide enough to allow the vines to get their full length, but not so wide that they won't be able to bend around the stakes. You'll have to decide how high you want it to grow. I've seen people who have plants up to 6' tall. It's a great way to use your yard. Just don't let it outgrow your trellis.

Are butternut squash easy to grow?

They are easy to grow from seeds. Butternut squash are a member of the gourd family. They have large seeds, and can be stored for quite a while after being harvested. Butternut squash are native to North America. They are a heavy feeder, meaning they require more fertilizer than other crops. They also need more space to grow.

Knowing How To Grow Butternut Squash In A Container

Whether you live in an apartment or simply just have a small yard, you can grow butternut squash in containers. It produces a delicious fruit that goes well in many different dishes. 

 Be certain that your container is at least 24 inches in diameter and at least 12 inches deep. In some cases, you may need to get a big container for your squash plant. You also want to make sure the pot has good drainage, the soil is rich and well-drained as well, along with the squash getting at least six hours of sunlight.

When growing a butternut squash in a pot, you want to stick with bush varieties. Bush varieties are not only more compact, but they are also able to produce more fruit in a shorter amount of time. Some of the best bush varieties to plant in a container include Burpee’s Butterbush and Ponca.

Do you have any questions regarding how to grow butternut squash in a container? If so, please ask any questions regarding how to grow butternut squash in containers and the best varieties to do so in the comment section below.

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