How to Grow Butternut Squash in Containers - Backyard Boss
We are reader supported. External links may earn us a commission.

How to Grow Butternut Squash in Containers

Butternut squash is a popular winter squash that has a sweet, nutty flavor. It’s perfect for roasting, baking, and pureeing into soups. Best of all, you can easily grow butternut squash in containers! You can enjoy fresh butternut squash from your home garden with a little effort.

Materials Needed

Hand holding peat moss organic matter improve soil for agric
Image credits: sasirin pamai’s Images via Canva

To grow butternut squash in containers, you will need:

  • A container with drainage holes in the bottom
  • A well-draining potting mix
  • Organic fertilizer
  • Water

How To Grow Butternut Squash in Containers

Growing butternut squash in containers is a great way to enjoy this delicious and nutritious vegetable, even if you don’t have a lot of space. Just follow these simple steps.

1. Choose Your Variety

Box of ripe butternut squashes
Image credits: Ulrike Leone via Pixabay

The first thing you need to do is decide which cultivar to grow. Butternut squash comes in two varieties — vining and bush. Squashes that grow on vines typically require more space than those that grow on bushes, making bush cultivars an excellent choice for container gardening. Some popular bush cultivars are butterbush, Waltham, and ultra. Alternatively, you could try a semi, or hybrid, bush cultivar, such as Zenith.

2. Select Your Container

planting container for butternut squash
Image Credit: Dave175 via Pixabay

Butternut squash can be grown in various container sizes and types. A suitable container for your butternut squash plant is at least 18 inches wide and 18 inches deep to find a suitable container for your butternut squash plant. Butternut squash plants have an extensive root system, and a 5-gallon container is a good size for most butternut squash. Ensure the container has drainage holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain.

3. Prepare the Potting Mix

Indoor potted plant care in spring. A caucasian woman mixing plant soil with perlite in the container. Top view.
Image credits: Cem Selvi via Shutterstock

Next, you will need need to prepare the potting mix.

  • To prepare the potting mix, you need to fill the bottom of the container with mulch. This will help improve drainage and prevent the roots from getting too wet.
  • Next, add a layer of fertilizer above the mulch layer. You can use a vegetable garden fertilizer or any organic fertilizer.
  • Then, add a layer of compost mixed with garden soil. This will help to provide nutrients for the plant.


4. Sow the Seeds or Transplant

Organic vegetable garden greenhouse with butternut squash seedlings in potting trays and soil with white plastic label stake and defocused farm exterior background. No people with copy space.
Image credits: Mary Salen via Shutterstock

Once the potting mix is prepared, you can either sow the seeds or transplant a seedling. If you are transplanting, choose a healthy plant from a nursery or garden center. To sow seeds, fill your container with potting mix and then plant two to three seeds according to the package directions. Once you have planted the seeds or transplanted the plant, water well.

Note: You should aim for one plant per 5-gallon container, so you may need to thin your seedlings later.

5. Locate the Container

butternut seedlings planted in greenhouse
Image credits: Aunyaluck via Shutterstock]

Locate the container in an area that receives partial shade. Butternut seedlings may experience transplant shock; too much exposure to direct sunlight can damage the leaves. Therefore, you should not expose a newly-moved young plant to direct sunlight for more than a few hours per day. Relocate the plant to a sunny location after it has become established.

Tips for Growing Butternut Squash in Containers

Butternut squash foot in a vegetable bag in late spring
Image credits: A. Houdayer via Shutterstock

Now that you know how to grow butternut squash varieties in your container garden, it’s time to learn some extra tips.

Provide Adequate Drainage

One of the most important things to remember when growing butternut squash in containers is to provide adequate drainage. Butternut squash plants need a lot of water but can’t tolerate sitting in wet soil. Make sure your containers have drainage holes in the bottom and use a well-draining potting mix.

Water Regularly

Butternut squash plants need to be watered regularly, especially during the hot summer months. Water your plants deeply, but don’t let the soil become soggy or waterlogged. Allow the top inch of soil to dry out between waterings. This is especially important in the fall, as too much water can cause the squash to rot.

Fertilize Regularly

Butternut squash plants are heavy feeders and will need to be fertilized regularly to produce a good crop. Use a high-quality compost or organic fertilizer and apply it according to the package directions. You’ll need to fertilize your squash about three times over the growing season.

Pest and Disease Control

Butternut squash plants are relatively pest and disease resistant. However, there are a few pests and diseases that can cause problems for your plants. Watch out for cucumber beetles and powdery mildew. These problems can damage the leaves and fruit of your plants. If you notice any pests on your plants, you can remove them using an organic pesticide.

Harvesting Your Butternut Squash

Butternut squash is ready to harvest when the skin is hard, and the color is deep orange. Cut the squash from the vine with a sharp knife, being careful not to damage the plant. Store butternut squash in a cool, dry place for up to six months.


With these tips, you can easily grow butternut squash in containers and enjoy it fresh from your home garden with a little effort.

Wrap Up

Butternut squash is a delicious and nutritious vegetable and is an excellent addition to any home garden. Growing butternut squash is not difficult but requires a bit of care and attention. By following these tips, you can easily grow butternut squash in containers.

Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to share!