Why Are My Zucchini Short and Fat?

Zucchini is the long green squash that you find in the summertime. They are often confused with cucumbers, but they are not bumpy. Instead, they are shiny and smooth to the touch. These plants are known for their robust produce, but sometimes, you will pull back the leaves to find they are shorter than expected. This article will answer the question, ‘why are my zucchini short and fat?’

Short Zucchini

Why Are My Zucchini Short and Fat?

If you notice your zucchini are short and fat, there could be a few explanations, and some are more likely than others. Fortunately, you can remedy most of them, and you will be well on your way to large, healthy zucchini. Below you will find a list of why your zucchini could be stunted.

Poor Nutrients 

One of the most common reasons for zucchini not growing as large as they should be is a lack of nutrition. Just like people, plants need nutrients to grow. Zucchinis, in particular, prefer rich soil with plenty of organic matter.

A good way to determine if poor nutrients are the problem for your zucchini is by having the soil tested. Once you know what it is lacking, you can add a fertilizer rich in these components to give it a boost.

Lack of Water

Zucchini is up to 90% water, so it’s no surprise that these plants need a generous amount of water to thrive. Without an adequate water supply, the plant will spend more energy preserving its life than producing.

Whenever the soil feels dry, you should give it 1 to 2 inches of water, and even more in the hottest weeks of the summer. Although it is not impossible to overwater these plants, it is not as common as letting them dry out.

Lack of Sunlight

Zucchini is a plant that prefers plenty of direct sunlight. If you’ve planted your zucchini next to a structure or beneath other foliage that it has to compete with, it may end up stunted.

Try to keep your zucchinis in an area with plenty of sunshine.


There are some pests, such as squash vine borers, that will attack zucchini and stunt their growth. You can keep them at bay by protecting the vines with foil.

There are also some mildews that will grow on zucchini. This is mostly a cosmetic issue, although it can cause problems if it gets out of control. The best way to prevent this is by properly drying the leaves. Giving your zucchini enough space and sunlight should do the trick.

How Else To Keep Zucchini Happy

Why Are My Zucchini Short and Fat?

There are several other ways to help your zucchini thrive. Below are some of the best ways to care for your plant:

  • Zucchinis are hardy and can live in zones five through nine depending on the variety.
  • Zucchinis are typically best picked when they are between 6 and 8 inches long. They should be a rich green color. Depending on what time you are in, this could be in summer through early fall.
  • Zucchini prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil. In some cases, it will grow in soils with pH up to eat.
  • You can also try growing zucchini on a trellis 

Why Are My Zucchini Short and Fat?: Conclusion 

Dealing with stunted zucchini can be stressful. Fortunately, it is usually pretty easy to determine the cause. With a little research and investigation, you shouldn’t have any trouble addressing the issue and getting your plants back on track.