23 Different Types of Summer Squash Varieties

Are you looking for some summer squash to plant in your garden this season but aren't sure which type to pick? There are many varieties you can choose from, so finding the right variety for your hardiness zone is important. In this article, gardening expert Jenna Rich looks at her favorite types of summer squash you can grow!

Each fall, I look forward to the arrival of all the different seed company catalogs. With each passing year, the diversity of summer squash variety seeds in gardening catalogs seems to expand.

As one of our most popular items at the farmers’ market, summer squash and zucchini are a sure sign summer has arrived. Whether you have limited space and need to grow in containers or you have an acre to play around with, there is surely something new you can add to your lineup of summer crops.

Is it too soon to start planning next year’s garden? I think not! Let’s dive into some of our favorite summer squash and zucchini variety options to try next season.

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Yellow Crookneck Varieties                 

Easily recognizable due to its slender neck and bulbous bottom, resembling a goose, the yellow crookneck squash is thought to be one of the oldest squash types around today. They date all the way back to Colonial America! 

The texture of these squash can be bumpy or smooth. They tend to be a bit thicker-skinned and waxier than standard yellow summer squash.  

‘Yellow Crookneck’

Five bumpy yellow gourds ripens in a sunny summer garden, growing on thick green stems surrounded by bright green foliage. The sun's rays make their way through the leaves to the fruits.
‘Yellow Crookneck’ takes longer to start fruiting and the harvest period is long.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-10
  • Days to Maturity: 58

This is a classic-looking bumpy crookneck summer squash and a gardening favorite. The ‘Yellow Crookneck’ variety takes a bit longer than some to begin fruiting, but once it begins, the harvest period lasts quite long.

These should be harvested when they are about 4-6 inches long. Any longer and you risk the skin getting tough.

‘Zephyr’

Close-up of two young gourds growing in the sun. The fruit have a thin oblong shape, pale yellow in color with about ⅓ pale green on the blossom end. The fruits are surrounded by bright green large, indented, decorative leaves. Bright yellow-orange flowers bloom at the ends of the fruits. The background is blurry.
‘Zephyr’ produces long, pale yellow fruit with a pale green blossom end.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-10
  • Days to Maturity: 54

This squash is definitely unique in its appearance. Fruits are long and slender, featuring about ⅔ pale yellow with light white striping and about ⅓ a pale green on the blossom end. The coloring may vary if the plant is under extreme stress such as prolonged drought conditions.

Take extra care when harvesting this variety as it is very thin-skinned. This means it can bruise and puncture easily.

Pro Tip: When harvested early, they fit nicely in a pint as baby squash and look great on a farmers’ market table. They are perfect for a quick side dish grilled or roasted.

‘Tempest’

Close-up of single long gourd growing in a sunny garden. An oblong fruit of medium yellow color with a convex body literally stands on the ground holding on to a thick green vine of a bush. The fruit is surrounded by brightly green foliage, strongly indented. Bright yellow-orange zucchini flowers bloom in the background. The background is blurry.
‘Tempest’ squash produces yellow fruits with bulbous bodies that are well suited to all different ways of cooking.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 2-11
  • Days to Maturity: 54

Chefs favor ‘Tempest’ squash for its bright color and versatility. It holds up well to all different ways of cooking and the flavor is exceptional. Try it grilled with just a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.

The fruit is a medium yellow with a bulbous body. It is a breeze to harvest as the plant has an open growing habit with soft-ish spines. This variety may take a bit longer to start producing but it’s worth the wait.

‘Goldfinch’

A close-up of the fruit of a gourd ripening. Three large and long gourds are pale yellow in color, oblong in shape with a convex body and an unusual striped texture along the entire fruit. Fruits hang on thick stems surrounded by large, dark green, rugged leaves. On some fruits, a bright yellow-orange flower blooms.
This variety of squash has upright growth and produces pale yellow squash with an unusual texture.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1.5-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-10
  • Days to Maturity: 50

These pretty pale yellow squash have a bit of texture that makes them attractive enough to leave sitting on the counter as decoration! They have a very open growth habit, making it easy to harvest.

This Johnny’s Selected Seeds-bred yellow squash is great for those growing in containers due to space constraints as it has an upright growth pattern.

Zucchini or Courgette Varieties

Believed to have originated in the Americas (today’s Mexico and South America), zucchini traveled to Europe for cultivation after the colonization of the Americas began. They are thought to have returned to America by way of Italian immigrants in the 1920s.  

Zucchini, technically a summer squash, has become a commonly grown summer crop among home gardeners and farmers alike. They are very versatile in flavor, shape, color, and size. Don’t worry if you let one get a bit (or a lot) overgrown, as they can be used as zucchini noodles, or “zoodles,” or in zucchini bread.

‘Dunja’

Close-up of the ripening of large oblong zucchini in the vegetable garden. Dark green zucchini with white thin strokes around the perimeter. The zucchini lies on the ground, attached to the base of a bush that has many dark green, serrated leaves. On some stems, bright yellow-orange squash flowers bloom.
This variety of zucchini grows well in drought conditions and produces uniform-sized fruits when harvested properly.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1.5-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-10
  • Days to Maturity: 47

‘Dunja’ is an all-around trusted and high-yielding zucchini variety. You can count on germination rates being high and plants to overall, perform very well even in drought conditions. 

When harvested regularly, the fruit should remain pretty consistently sized. You can harvest smaller for a tender and juicy summer treat.

Pro Tip: Plants are very prickly so wearing long-sleeves and pants will help keep your skin safe. You can also plant them a little further apart than recommended for easier harvesting.

‘Green Machine’

Close-up of one large green cucurbit growing on a bush in the garden. The zucchini has an oblong dark green color with small white specks. A bright yellow flower blooms at the end of the squash.
‘Green Machine’ produces large dark green fruits with small white spots.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1-1.5 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-10
  • Days to Maturity: 45

Another really great zucchini option is ‘Green Machine’. These fruits grow very uniformly and are a gorgeous dark green with a tiny bit of white flecking. Its open-growing habit is beneficial for harvesting, helping to keep fruits unscathed by spines.

This organic option is resistant to many of the heavy hitter squash viruses. It can also start to mature just a few days earlier than some others.

‘Contender’

Close-up of a growing fruit in a garden. An oblong fruit of dark green color with a blooming yellow-orange flower at the end. The fruits are surrounded by dark green leaves with a silvery pattern. The background is blurry.
This squash variety has dark green fruits with golden flecks that should be harvested 8-9 inches.
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1.5-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 43

Now, this is a zucchini your neighbors won’t mind being left on their doorstep! ‘Contender’ is a deep green with golden flecks, making it a summer stunner for sure.

The plants produce fruit early, produce heavily all summer and into fall, and are spineless! Fruits should be harvested 8-9 inches. If you are looking for a new zucchini to try next season, let this be the one.

‘Partenon’

Close-up of growing cucurbits in a vegetable garden. Three different sizes of zucchini, dark green with light speckles, oblong shape with orange flowers at the ends. The fruits are surrounded by thick green stems and large dark green leaves with a silver tint pattern.
This bitter-free zucchini does well in hot summer weather.
  • Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1.5-2.5 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 50-55

This virtually bitter-free zucchini is a wonderful option for greenhouse-growing and those living in warmer regions as it performs exceptionally well in adverse conditions. ‘Partenon’ will continue to set fruit even throughout hot summer weather! The fruits are medium-dark green with light speckling and slender at about 8-9 inches long.

This summer squash variety is resistant to cucumber beetles, holds up well after harvest, and is self-pollinating (parthenocarpic, hence its name). Those characteristics alone should make you want to give this zucchini a try!

‘Costata Romanesco’

Close-up of lying 4-6 oblong-shaped pale green zucchini with long dark green convex stripes and pale green flowers at the ends. The fruits lie on a white table.
‘Costata Romanesco’ produces unique grey-green gourds with long dark green stripes.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 52

This is a gorgeous Italian heirloom summer squash that is an almost gray-green color with long dark green stripes.

Although ‘Costata Romanesco’ is not as high-yielding as hybrids, it has an amazing flavor. Some say this squash has almost a nutty flavor. The ribbing makes for a gorgeous look when sliced into coins for cooking.

If you’re one who loves to harvest, cook and eat squash blossoms, ‘Costata Romanesco’ is a heavy producer of male flowers and will provide you with an abundance of this delicacy all season long.

‘Long White of Palmero’

Close-up of a light green cucurbit growing in a sunny garden. The zucchini is oblong, pale sage green, with some white flecks. Zucchini lies on the ground, surrounded by dark green, rugged leaves under the sun.
This pale green zucchini has a nutty, slightly sweet taste.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 45-55

This buttery Sicilian heirloom is sure to be a stunner in the garden. It’s a beautiful pale sage green, almost ivory, with some white speckling, and features some texture near the stem. Growers all over proclaim that it is very prolific and is late to get powdery mildew.

This attractive zucchini is nutty, lightly sweet, and remains tender and juicy even when it grows larger than its ideal harvest size of 12-15 inches.

‘Bossa Nova’

Close-up of cucurbit growing in a sunny garden. Zucchini is oblong, light green in color with dark green stripes and orange flowers at the ends. Zucchini fruits are surrounded by thick green stems and large, dark green leaves with a silver hue pattern.
This strain is well suited for container growing, producing gorgeous light green zucchini with dark green streaks.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 45

This summer squash variety is an AAS (All America Selections) winner for earliness and lateness, meaning it will start producing much earlier than most others in your garden and continue setting fruit long after others peter out! It will grow well in a container if you do not have a ton of space in your garden. 

Bossa Nova fruits are a gorgeous light green with dark green striping, making it easy to spot on the vine and look great in a basket to sell at a farmers’ market. It’s also great at fighting off common squash diseases. Similar to the Italian heirloom Cocozelles, this zucchini will please your taste buds with its rich, bold flavor.

Yellow Varieties

Standard yellow varieties are smooth-skinned and yellow, either bright or pale in color, with a straighter shape than its crookneck cousin. Some varieties are two-toned with yellow and green.

This summer squash variety is best when harvested about 4-6 inches to remain tender and juicy. Yellow squash is a great source of manganese and vitamins A, B6, and C.

‘Goldmine’

Close-up of a cucurbit bush with ripe bright yellow fruits. About six ripe gourds of varying size and maturity grow on thick green stems. Some fruits have dried brown flowers. Dark green indented leaves surround ripe fruits.
‘Goldmine’ produces yellow squash with textured white stripes.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1.5-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 37-45, very early!

This is a beautiful yellow zucchini that has textured white stripes with light green stems. The flavor is best when harvested at 5.5 inches or smaller. This hybrid plant is spineless which means much less painful harvesting and less risk of damaging your fruit!

Fun fact: Golden zucchini, ‘Goldmine’ included, were developed in the United States, whereas zucchini are thought to have originated in Italy.

‘Yellowfin’

Close-up of two growing cucurbits in a sunny garden. The fruits are oblong, bright golden in color with a smooth texture, surrounded by large dark green leaves. The fruits grow on a raised wooden bed in the garden.
‘Yellowfin’ produces bright golden-colored fruits that are resistant to viruses.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1.5-2 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 50

This yellow summer squash variety is a stunning, bright golden yellow color with consistently straight fruit. Its semi-open plant growth habit makes it a bit easier to harvest than some other summer squash.

‘Yellowfin’ was bred to have some resistance to cucumber mosaic virus and powdery mildew. This makes it an easy choice, especially for novice gardeners!

‘Golden Glory’

Close-up of a ripe yellow cucurbit growing among thick green vines in a sunny garden. The fruit is oblong, bright yellow in color, with a smooth texture and a pale green, slightly dried flower at the end. The leaves are dark green and indented.
This disease-resistant summer squash variety produces bright yellow, spineless fruits.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 50

This is another type of yellow summer squash known for its disease resistance. So if you live in a region with short growing seasons, this may be the one for you.

‘Golden Glory’ has a bright yellow fruit with some resistance to powdery mildew, watermelon mosaic virus, and zucchini yellow mosaic virus. Bonus – it’s spineless so harvesting is easy on the arms and legs.

Cousa Varieties

This is a Middle Eastern summer squash type that is technically a zucchini. In fact, the name Cousa (or Kousa) is the Arabic word for zucchini. They are a bit shorter than other squash and a bit fatter around. The skin is very thin and the fruit is tender and sweet. These are often found in Lebanese cuisine and are stuffed when cooked.

‘Ronde de Nice’

Close-up of two round cucurbits against a dark blurred background. Globe-shaped zucchini, medium green with dark green stripes and white dots.
‘Ronde de Nice’ produces medium green squash with dark green stripes.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 1 foot
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 2-10
  • Days to Maturity: 45

This French heirloom, globe zucchini is very tender and fancy in appearance, making it a great culinary option. They are a medium green color with zebra-like dark green striping. ‘Ronde de Nice’ zucchini are hardy and prolific plants, producing all season long.

‘Magda’

There are many ripe harvested pale green zucchini lying on a white cloth. Zucchini are 3-4 inches long, slightly plump, medium green in color with small white speckles. Zucchini is lit by bright direct sun.
If you’re looking for something a little more flavorful, try growing this nutty cousa variety.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 50

This Middle Eastern hybrid is easy to grow and matures early in the season, only needing about 50 days to mature. It’s a pretty medium green color and best when harvested 3-4 inches long. It will grow to be about 6 feet wide, so take care when planning your garden space for this one.

Park Seed suggests eating ‘Magda’ raw with a sprinkle of salt as a summer snack. It is said to have some of the best flavor of any summer squash!

Round Varieties

These are, simply put, round squash and zucchinis. They are best when harvested when about 2-3 inches in diameter and most plants feature short spines. Let them mature a bit longer and try them stuffed!

‘Eight Ball’

Three fresh organic round zucchini on a rustic whitewood table by the window. Zucchini are round, dark green in color with small white dots. One of the zucchini has a yellow spot. The background is blurry.
It is recommended to pick ‘Eight Ball’ fruits when they are 2-3 inches in diameter.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 2-12
  • Days to Maturity: 50

This is a full-round hybrid summer squash variety that features a deep green color. The fruit is best when harvested when 2-3 inches in diameter, similar to patty pan varieties, but can grow to be about 4-6 inches wide. The fruit has spines so be cautious when harvesting.

This AAS (All America Selections) winner is great when grilled and added to a burger! It has a nutty, buttery flavor with firm but edible skin.

‘Cue Ball’

View of a box of harvested cucurbits. The zucchini is round, pale green in color with light white dots. The box is beige, and plastic with small oblong holes.
‘Cue Ball’ produces round fruits of pale green color with small white speckles.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 2-12
  • Days to Maturity: 48

This round summer squash is pale green with light white flecking. The flesh is creamy white with seeds that are barely noticeable. These plants are very productive and offer high yields all season long. They are known for their resistance to disease.

Its growing habit allows the fruit to sit upright, making it perfect for a stuffed squash recipe! It is said to taste similar to other traditional zucchini, with a buttery, sweet, and slightly nutty flavor that strengthens when cooked.

‘One Ball’

Close-up of three bright yellow cucurbit fruits on a white wooden table. The fruits are round in shape with bright green short tails (vines). There is a thin stem with small oblong leaves next to them.
‘One Ball’ thrives in prolonged drought conditions and produces bright yellow, round fruits.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 2-12
  • Days to Maturity: 48

This bright yellow stunner “rounds” out the trio when paired with ‘Eight Ball’ and ‘Cue Ball’, listed above. When these plants experience prolonged drought conditions, you may notice some stems and blossom end greening.

These three colors together are certain to grab the attention of market shoppers and wow guests at your next dinner party.

‘One Ball’ gets its name from how it looks similar to the one ball in billiards. It is near-spherical, glossy, and vibrant yellow. Though, these fruits would do much better on a dinner table than on a pool table.

‘Squash Poquito’

Close-up of a ripening cucurbit on thick green vines. Cucurbit is oval shaped, dark green in color with light green stripes, reminiscent of a watermelon. A delicate yellow flower blooms at the end of the fruit. The sun's rays break through the leaves.
This is a unique variety of summer squash that produces dark green oval fruit with light green stripes.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 40 to baby; 56 to mature

You’ll think this is a mini watermelon when in fact, it’s a zucchini! This cute little dark green oval-shaped squash features light green stripes. You should harvest fruits when they are just 3 inches long for baby squash or keep them on the vine to mature longer and use them like a regular zucchini.

Known for its ability to grow in poor-quality soil, this little zucchini is fun to feature on kabobs, a steamed side dish, or raw in a salad. Bonus – the plants are spineless!

Patty Pan Varieties

Patty pan varieties are also known as “scalloped” squash or lovingly in our household, “space invaders” since they resemble characters in the arcade game we played in the early 1990s as kids. They are round and shallow with scalloped edges instead of the traditional oblong or round shape of other varieties.

These squash are best when harvested when small, about 2-3 inches in diameter. They are extremely tender and since the seed cavity remains small when picked early, this makes them easy to grill, roast, or sautee without much prep work! 

‘G-Star’

A view of a cardboard box full of green cucurbits. The fruits have dark green color, and unusual flattened shape resembling cauldrons with a closed delicate lid. The texture of the fruit is smooth and glossy.
‘G-Star’ produces delicious, small, dark green star-shaped squash.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 50

The ‘G’ here stands for green as these are a nice, dark forest green color. They can be a little tricky to spot on the plant as the color is similar to the plant stalks so take your time when harvesting.

Pro Tip: Harvest these small to help them keep their shiny appearance!

‘Y-Star’

Lots of bright yellow star-shaped cucurbits. Fruits have a bright yellow color, and an unusual flattened shape resembling saucers with a closed openwork lid. The texture of the fruit is smooth and glossy.
‘Y-Star’ produces bright yellow fruits that are widely used for cooking different types of dishes.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 50

The ‘Y’ here is for yellow. These start out a bright yellow and feature a light green circle around the blossom end, but can start to develop green striations if the plants are stressed or it is a particularly hot season.

If you are growing for the market, you can sometimes plant a little less of this summer squash variety as it is very high-yielding. Cut in half and lightly sauteed in olive oil, topped with flaky salt and some freshly shredded parmesan makes an amazing summer appetizer.

‘Jaune et Verte’

Close-up of a cucurbit growing on green vines. A large squash is pale green in color with dark green stripes. The cucurbit has an unusual flattened shape. In the background, the leaves are bright green with small holes.
‘Jaune et Verte’ produces unique zucchini of amazing taste and beautiful pale green color with dark green stripes.
  • ​​Plant Type: Annual
  • Plant Size: 2-3 feet
  • Sun Exposure: Full sun
  • Plant Zone: 3-9
  • Days to Maturity: 50

This patty pan variety is more full-bodied, more of a tulip shape, and is easy to spot on the vine due to its unique color. It is creamy white with deep green stripes that grow vertically as it matures. These squash are such a pretty color that some use overgrown squash as fall decorations!

‘Jaune et Verte’ have amazing flavor and can be used to stuff when grown a bit larger. They are best harvested young if you plan to eat them. As they mature, they can get very hard and are not good for eating. However, they can be used as an ornamental gourd when they reach this stage.

Growing Zones

Close-up of growing ripe orange cucurbits in a sunny garden. Fruits have a bright orange color and a flattened shape with rounded, scalloped edges. Bright green leaves and thick vines surround ripe cucurbits.
Zucchini grows in USDA zones 2-10, but be aware that other summer squash will not withstand frost.

While most summer squash varieties can be grown in USDA zones 2-10, take extra caution in the spring. Summer squash is very temperature sensitive They are a popular heat-resistant summer vegetable that grows well in hot climates.

With this being said, summer squash will not survive a frost. It can perform poorly in prolonged cool temperatures. If you live in a cooler climate, it is best to take precautions.

In cooler climates, especially where springs are particularly wet and cool, plants should be started indoors and transplanted only when soil temperatures warm to an appropriate 70º. In warmer regions, seeds can be directly sown into warm spring soil.

Pro Tip: Transplant all cucurbits with extra care as they do not like their root systems disturbed. Once you space out your plantings, use a trowel to open up a hole deep enough, gently remove your squash plants from their cell trays and drop them in the hole.

Bury them with surrounding soil, taking care not to push down too much on the roots. Water them in right away to help prevent transplant shock.

Final Thoughts

Summer squash and zucchini are summer staples in gardens everywhere. They are fairly easy to care for, can produce a substantial amount of food for a family all summer long, and can even be pickled or baked into goodies to freeze for enjoyment later.

If you have the space and are looking for something delicious to add to your garden next season, give one of these summer squash varieties a try!

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