Why Grow Zucchini In a 5-Gallon Bucket?

Last updated: 5/19/22

Container gardening is quite popular in households with limited space, but even those who don’t have space concerns are sometimes switching from the ground to buckets.

One particularly popular plant for container growing is zucchini.

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Our green thumb was developed was born gardening with 5-gallon buckets. 

There was an abundance of free ones that we salvaged from local restaurants & businesses to recycle.  

We feel 5-gallon buckets are inexpensive and easy to find a container that anyone should use to garden.

Today, we are going to talk about growing zucchini in a 5-gallon bucket.

Below, you will find out why to make the switch to container gardening, what are its negatives, and how to grow zucchini in 5-gallon buckets!

Reasons to Grow Zucchini in a 5-gallon Bucket?

Let’s start with the rationale behind wanting to grow zucchini in a 5-gallon bucket or any other plant or container for that matter.  It takes some effort to plant and grow zucchini in a bucket, so you need to be sure that doing it will benefit you in the long run.

Growing zucchini in 5-gallon buckets may be just for you if you are seeking one or more of the benefits below AND if they outweigh the downsides.

Space Efficiency

Perhaps the biggest benefit and the first reason for anyone to try and grow zucchini in a 5-gallon bucket is its space efficiency.

You don’t need to have a vast garden territory for container gardening. Furthermore, you may place that container anywhere where there is enough space.

Just make sure that the spot also has proper conditions for zucchini growing.


5-gallon buckets are very easy to move around, which also is a benefit favored by many people.

This could come in handy when, for example, you discover that the current spot doesn’t allow the required amount of sunlight to reach the pot. 

Why Grow Zucchini In a 5 Gallon Bucket

Not only that, but the mobility of a bucket allows you to easily choose a proper spot from the aesthetic point of view.

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Creative potential

Speaking of aesthetics, many gardeners also like that container gardening allows a bit more flexibility than regular gardening.

First, you have the pot which you can decorate by your taste.

This won’t make the plant grow better, but it will give freedom to your creativity.

Secondly, you are free when it comes to choosing containers.

While we are speaking of buckets, you are free to switch to any other container style that seems more good-looking for you.

Finally, you have freedom in terms of the layout of your containers. As mentioned above, this could allow you to create quite a spectacle of a container garden in your backyard.

Things to keep in mind with container gardening

The benefits of growing zucchini in 5-gallon buckets sure are appealing, but there are a few downsides that you should be mindful of as well.

Frequent watering

Buckets and, generally, any other containers do not retain water well, which means that you will have to water the zucchini more frequently. This is an even bigger problem in hot, windy, or dry conditions.

Zucchini planted in the ground may be able to feed on the water located in the depths of the soil. With a container, the plant will have as much water as you’ve provided it with.

Plants planted in the ground will also be sensitive to weather conditions, but you won’t need to water them as frequently. 

And in warmer weather, you may need to water your container zucchini at least twice a day to keep it hydrated!

Why Grow Zucchini In a 5 Gallon Bucket

Fertilizer needs

In a container, zucchini will have only so much soil to draw nutrients from. Due to this, keeping the nutrients in the container at a proper level becomes a big concern with container gardening. 

Even with the best growing medium, the zucchini will sooner or later run out of nutrients. Additional fertilization will be required, much more so than with regular gardening.

Soil needs

An empty bucket doesn’t have any soil, so you will need to buy it. Furthermore, you can’t use garden soil in a container since it can compact and strangle the roots of the plant.

The difficulty here is that there are many soil manufacturers out there offering a variety of soil types. And while we’ll give some general recommendations for zucchini growing below, you will need to spend some time researching the proper type of soil for zucchini.

Space Limitations

Your zucchini won’t be able to expand in the bucket indefinitely.

As the zucchini grows, it will require bigger and bigger containers.

Due to this, you will probably be able to use a 5-gallon bucket just at the initial stages of zucchini growing.

How to grow zucchini in 5-gallon buckets

Now, let’s have a look at the step-by-step process of growing zucchini in 5-gallon buckets. The instructions also apply to some extent to bigger containers.

  1. Plan the zucchini planting for April when the temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Acquire 5-gallon buckets. Some people think that 5 gallons are the absolute minimum of container size for zucchini. If you are borrowing buckets from someone, make sure that they haven’t been used to store toxic chemicals or materials.
  3. Pick a compact zucchini like Geode, Eight Ball, Raven, or Jackpot hybrid. These will be more space-efficient and easier to grow.
  4. Make drain holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. You may use a drill or a nail & hammer for this. For a 5-gallon bucket, one hole every 3 inches should be enough.
  5. Acquire potting soil containing a mix of ingredients like peat, compost, fine bark, and either perlite or vermiculite. Avoid regular garden soil.
  6. Fill the bucket with the mixture. Water it to settle the soil.
  7. Determine whether your zucchini variety needs stacking. If it does, then you will need some support, for example, a tomato cage.
  8. Place the bucket in a spot where it will receive sunlight all day.
  9. Plant 5-6 zucchini seeds in the middle. Cover the seeds with one and a half-inch of soil.
  10. Water the soil after planting. After that, you’ll need to add as much water as necessary to keep the soil hydrated. Don’t allow the soil to dry completely or to get soggy.
  11. Fertilize the soil throughout the summer. Add the fertilizer in the ratio recommended by its manufacturer. Water the soil before fertilizing.
  12. As soon as the seeds germinate, cut smaller seedlings, leaving the two largest seedlings. Use sterile scissors to remove the weak seedlings.
  13. When the seedlings reach 8-10 inches, cut the weakest one. Now, you will have one large seedling.
  14. Harvest the fruits when they get around 6 inches long. It may take 45-60 days for zucchinis to grow this much, depending on the variety.
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Final Thoughts on Growing Zucchini in 5-gallon Buckets

Growing zucchini in a 5-gallon bucket is easy to do and a worthwhile container gardening hobby.  It is a great way to grow squash in a container and also keep containers out of our landfills.

You can grow almost any vegetable in a 5-gallon container if you plan for it correctly and don’t mind watering it more frequently.  5-gallon buckets are more ideal for smaller plants, but still produce a good harvest even for larger plants give the right care.

You can learn some more tips for growing squash like a boss here.

More Info

  • What are the best vegetables to grow in 5-gallon buckets? Some other vegetables that you can grow in 5-gallon buckets include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and many herbs
  • Is it safe to grow vegetables in 5-gallon buckets? Yes, it is safe as long as you use food-safe buckets.  These containers will have safer plastics that will tend not to leech into the soil in normal conditions.
Green Thumb Gardener
Why Grow Zucchini In a 5 Gallon Bucket
Jeremy Starke

We at Green Thumb Gardener provide tips and guides for both for beginners and advanced gardeners out there. 

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