Spaghetti Squash Growing Stages: Detailed Guide

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Also known as vegetable spaghetti, spaghetti squash is a type of winter squash. It is cylindrical in shape and grows to about eight or nine inches in length. Harvested at full maturity for a longer shelf life, spaghetti squash has yellow, rather stringy flesh that many say resembles pasta or noodles. 

Unlike summer squashes, spaghetti squash is a winter squash that is grown until it’s fully ripe. This means that it goes through more growing stages than squashes like zucchini or baby marrow. We’ve identified eight growing stages from planting until harvest and provided details on each of them. 

What is Spaghetti Squash?

Spaghetti squash is a type of winter squash known for its unique stringy texture that resembles spaghetti noodles when cooked. The squash gets its name from the fact that its flesh separates into long, thin strands after it is cooked.

Spaghetti squash isn’t grown in winter though. Instead, it is grown at the same time as other squashes, but like all winter squash, for winter storage. 

Sometimes called vegetable spaghetti, noodle squash, or vegetable marrow, it is a tasty and nutritious veg that can be cooked in many different ways. You can team it with a bolognese or carbonara sauce, stuff it with mushrooms or meat, or use it in place of noodles for pad Thai recipes. 

Or you can make the yummy Italian spaghetti squash bake featured in another Northern-Nestern post. 

Spaghetti squash belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes other squashes, including pumpkin and acorn, butternut, and Hubbard squash. It has a yellow or orange hard outer rind, which can be smooth or ribbed, and a mild, slightly sweet flavor. 

The flesh inside is pale yellow and has a slightly crisp texture when cooked properly. It isn’t smooth like other types of squash. 

Overall, spaghetti squash is a versatile and nutritious vegetable that can be enjoyed as a substitute for pasta or incorporated into various dishes to add texture, flavor, and nutritional value. It is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, and several other vitamins and minerals, and a popular choice for low-carb and gluten-free diets.

Spaghetti Squash Quick Guide

Spaghetti squash isn’t difficult to grow in a home garden, though it does spread and so needs quite a bit of space. Here’s a quick guide that will help you anticipate what to expect when growing spaghetti squash. 

Factors affecting plant growthWhat to know when you grow your own spaghetti squash at home
DifficultyModerately easy
SoilRich, loose soil, with lots of organic matter that drains well
SunlightAt least six to eight hours of full sun every day to ensure the flowers and fruit develop
PlantingSow seeds directly into garden beds a couple of weeks after the danger of frost has passed
WateringKeep your vines well watered but keep the foliage dry and don’t flood the soil
FertilizerUse an organic granular or liquid fertilizer that is high phosphorus and low in nitrogen
Pests & diseasesLook out for squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and powdery mildew, and take action quickly to get rid of them
HarvestingHarvest individual squash when they are six to eight inches long and the skin is hard 

8 Stages of Spaghetti Squash

There are as many as eight stages that you’ll go through when growing spaghetti squash, although typically many writers condense these into five or six stages. They start when you plant spaghetti squash seeds and continue until you have harvested the fruits of your labor … for the pot. 

These eight steps will take you through the life cycle of spaghetti squash and the squash growing stages from seed to harvest. 

No. 1 Planting Stage

You can plant spaghetti squash in biodegradable pots or seed trays, though it’s not necessary unless you live in a northern region with a short growing season. Otherwise, sow the seeds directly into the ground after the danger of frost has passed and the soil temperature has warmed to around 60°F (15°C). 

But before you plant, prepare the soil well, adding lots of organic matter, like compost or well-rotted manure, to improve soil fertility and drainage. Then plant the seed about an inch deep and keep the soil consistently moist until the seeds germinate. 

No. 2 Germination Stage

This is an exciting stage because it’s when your squash plants emerge from the soil confirming that your spaghetti squashes are growing. But don’t get too excited because you need to let the squash plants produce their first sets of leaves and establish root systems. 

No. 3 Transplanting Stage

Even if you don’t start your squash seeds in seed trays or pots, you may have to transplant them to ensure that the seedlings aren’t too crowded. Make doubly sure that the soil is fertile, loose, and well-drained.

Don’t ever forget that any type of squash, spaghetti squash, in particular, needs a lot of space. You should transplant the seedlings about three or four feet apart. 

If you don’t have space to accommodate all your seedlings, allow them to develop a bit more and then remove those that aren’t doing so well. Consider this the survival of the fittest! 

No. 4 Vegetative Stage

During the vegetative stage, your spaghetti squash plants will grow quickly. This stage can last between two and four months while the plant focuses on leaf and stem growth.

Each spaghetti squash plant will develop more leaves, and its stems will become stronger and more extensive. Plants will continue to grow in size and produce more foliage.

No. 5 Flowering Stage

As plants mature, they enter the flowering stage. The spaghetti squash plant produces yellow, unisex flowers, with male flowers appearing first, and female flowers following shortly after. 

The male flowers are rather bushy. The female flowers are long and thin and have a small, round swelling at their base, which will become the fruit if pollination occurs.

No. 6 Reproductive Stage

This is the all-important stage when your spaghetti squash will develop fruit. It happens once the female flowers are pollinated.

The small swelling at the base of the female flower will grow and expand into a green, oblong-shaped squash. During this stage, the fruit will continue to increase in size and change color.

No. 7 Ripening Stage

As the fruit matures, it transitions from green to a creamy, yellowish color. The skin becomes hard and tough, indicating that the spaghetti squash is ripe and ready for harvest. 

It usually takes between 80 and 100 days from the time you plant spaghetti squash seeds for the fruit to reach maturity. But don’t just harvest the squash because you assume it is ripe. 

There are three steps that will help you ensure your squash is ready to harvest:

  1. The skin should be a deep, rich yellow color
  2. The stem should be dry and brown – not green or moist
  3. The skin should be sufficiently hard to resist being punctured by your thumbnail

No. 8 Harvesting Stage 

Once your spaghetti squash has reached the desired size, color, and hardness, it is time to harvest. Use a sharp knife or pruner to cut the squash from the vine, leaving a short stem attached. Handle the squash gently to avoid any damage.

Once you have harvested your squash, store it in a cool, dry place. It will last for weeks or even months, depending on conditions.

Spaghetti Squash Care and Maintenance

Important care and maintenance tips relate to watering, fertilization, weed control, pest control, and disease control. 

Spaghetti squash plants need consistent moisture, especially during dry periods. Water the plants deeply, and provide about 1-1.5 inches of water per week. It’s best to water at the base of the plants, avoiding wetting the foliage, as this can lead to diseases. Mulching around the plants can help retain soil moisture.

Spaghetti squash plants benefit from regular fertilization to promote healthy growth and fruit production. But be careful because fertilizing too much can lead to excessive foliage growth and limited fruit production.

Keep the area around your spaghetti squash plants free of weeds. Weeds can compete with plants for nutrients, water, and sunlight, potentially hindering their growth. 

Also, take steps to control pests like aphids, squash bugs, and vine borers. Monitor the plants regularly for signs of pest infestation, such as yellowing leaves, chewed foliage, or wilting. 

Use organic pest control methods like handpicking pests off the plants. If you need to, introduce beneficial insects, or use insecticidal soaps or organic insecticides.

Fungal diseases like powdery mildew and downy mildew, can affect spaghetti squash plants. To prevent these diseases, provide adequate spacing between plants to allow good air circulation. 

Avoid overhead watering and water the plants at the base. If you notice signs of disease, promptly remove and dispose of affected plant parts to prevent further spread.

How do you know when spaghetti squash is done growing?

Your spaghetti squash must be allowed to ripen fully on the vine. It isn’t going to open on the plant. 

A good rule of thumb is to track time and aim to harvest your squash spaghetti about 100 days after you planted the squash seeds. But they won’t all ripen at exactly the same time.

They will usually be about six to eight inches long when they are ready to be picked. The skin should also be hard.

Press your thumbnail firmly into the skin. The skin should feel hard and difficult to pierce. Even if the vine leaves have died, you must wait for the fruit to ripen before harvesting spaghetti squash.

While you won’t usually want to harvest all your squash at the same time, make sure you pick it before the first frost of fall. The danger of frost is that it can damage the squash and reduce its shelf life. 

How many spaghetti squashes do you get per plant?

There are no guarantees, but the likelihood is that you’ll get four or five fruits from each plant. If you’re lucky, you might even get as many as 10. There are some YouTube videos that prove that this is possible! 


If you’re planning to grow spaghetti squash, you need to know that it’s not a quick process. It’s going to take three or four months from the time you plant your squash seeds until your spaghetti squash plants reward you with food. 

We have outlined eight stages that spaghetti squash goes through to help you recognize the process. It will take time, but if you want to grow spaghetti squash from seed and enjoy eating these delicious vegetables, you will be rewarded tenfold! 

Good luck with your own crop.

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