Growing Loofah, or Luffa, a Race to the Top

| July 6, 2016 | 3 Replies

Growing loufah, or luffa, has a been a race to the top. The huge trellis between our garage and studio has been empty since I was forced to remove our 30 year-old wisteria vine last November.

Growing Loofah, a Race to the Top - wisteria

Our wisteria vine in full bloom, March, 2013.

The massive trunk of the wisteria had moved the garage wall three inches and it was time to go. It was a huge operation to repair the wall, cracked cement, dig out the long planter and replace the soil. I prepped the planter for something wonderful. I’d hoped to plant passion flower vines there, but seeds I was sent by a Late Bloomer follower did not germinate.

Growing Loofah, a Race to the Top - seedlings

Loofah seedlings, March

Most people think loufah sponges come from the ocean. “Luffa is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines in the cucumber family. …the luffa, also spelled loofah, usually means the fruit of the two species L. aegyptiaca and L. acutangula. The fruit of these species is cultivated and eaten as a vegetable. The fruit must be harvested at a young stage of development to be edible. The vegetable is popular in China and Vietnam.[2] When the fruit is fully ripened, it is very fibrous. The fully developed fruit is the source of the loofah scrubbing sponge which is used in bathrooms and kitchens. Luffa are not frost-hardy, and require 150 to 200 warm days to mature. If the loofah is allowed to fully ripen and then dry out on the vine, the flesh disappears leaving only the fibrous skeleton and seeds, which can be easily shaken out.” – wikipedia

Growing Loofah, or Luffa, A Race to the Top - Loofah vine

First loofah vine to reach the top of trellis

Growing Loofah, a Race to the Top - loofah bloom

Loofah bloom, with aphid, May

I had learned about growing loufah last year from a new friend, Sheri, and wrote this post, “Growing Loofah. She gave me seeds which I sprouted in January.  I planted them out in late April. I knew they wouldn’t really take off till the vines were over seven feet long, and could access more sun.

Growing Loofah - A Race to the Top - loofah vines

Loofah vines race to the top on twine trellis, April

And they have. Vines are about 10″ to 15″ long today, and I have at least twenty loofah.

Growing Loofah, a Race to the Top - loofah hanging from trellis

Loofah hanging from the trellis, July

These are now too big to eat, and in fact, I had always planned to see if I could grow loofah for sponges. I’ll report back with the results. If they take at least 150 warm days to mature, I won’t have results till the end of September! Thanks for reading, and please share with a friend.

Growing Loofah, a Race to the Top - loofah

Loofah, with my hand for scale, July

HOW YOU CAN HELP: I receive a small commission for promoting products I’ve used and believe in. Your support of these products helps me to continue to produce “Late Bloomer” episodes.

1) Order Botanical Interests seeds! 

Sharing Seeds: Helps You, Helps Me! - Buy button

2) Make a donation! Keep Late Bloomer blooming! Thanks for your support!

3) Order a Growing Heirloom Tomatoes DVD from any page on this website.

Help me inspire people to grow their own food and take control over their food security. Your donation of any amount makes “Late Bloomer” possible and available for anyone. CLICK HERE TO DONATE NOW!

Thank you!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Category: Flowers, Grow Veggies, Urban Gardening, Vegetables, Warm Season

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. You have done a splendid job with them Kaye, You can, as they get closer to maturity remove and eat the flowers and small sponges if you want so the bigger ones get bigger . I am not growing any this year as I have several hundred from the past and the seeds will last a few years. You might like to try bitter melon on your trellis next year.They are unique and would be pretty with a bean like hyactynth bean. I will try and send a photo of mine which self sowed in the garden. I am hiding from the 100 degree humid heat here in Delaware today….

    • That’s funny because I sowed loufah and bitter melon at the same time, and had 10 of each. After my east coast trip, during which I visited Charles in AL and tried bitter melon (and this was prepared by his Okinawan wife in a nice sauce, I couldn’t stand the taste of it. When I came home, I planted the loufah and tossed the bitter melon. 🙂 I don’t know about hyacynth bean. Sorry I just saw this comment, as the notification went in my junk folder.

      • Bitter melon is an aquired taste and must be prepared in a certain way to be paletable in my opinion . I was shown by a girl from India who’s mom made it all her life .I raised it to help with my husbands diabetes as it was very useful to drop blood sugar levels. I dried it and he made a tea with mint and nettle that was drinkable. It has other health benifits as well. Bakers Creek is supposed to be introducing one that is larger and sweeter -less bitter, that you might want to check out . It IS bug and disease free . I just think the luffa could use a couple of plant companions… asperagus beans come to mind and the bitter melon if you can find one that you like and a way to use it. 🙂

Leave a Reply