I can still remember how astonished I was when my parents first grew luffas of their very own. My mom had a luffa sponge that she used in the shower, but I had no idea that they came from a plant we could grow in our very own garden. Here are 5 tips on growing luffa seeds for luffa sponges of your very own.
5. Start Indoors for Areas Where Growing Season is Short
If you sow your luffa seeds directly outdoors, they may have their season cut short by the frost in the fall. Luffa seeds take anywhere from 10 to 28 weeks to reach maturity, depending on the variety being grown. It might be to your benefit to start your seeds indoors and transplant them when the last frost is past in the spring.
4. It’s Alright for Multiple Plants to Be Placed Next to One Another
When planting outside, 3 to 4 seeds can be placed on a mound of dirt. 3 to 4 luffa plants can also be placed on the same mound when transplanting seeds that were started indoors. These are a vining plant, so they will be climbing up onto a trellis or fence where they will each have plenty of room.
3. The Soil Needs to Be Warm and Wet for Seeds to Germinate Quickly
The average soil temp should be around 70 degrees and the dirt should be rather damp during the initial planting. After the seeds have been planted, the soil should be moist, but not have standing water. Most seeds will germinate after about 10 days.
2. Minimize Shock during Transplanting by Using Peat Pots
Biodegradable peat pots will allow the dirt around your newly sprouted luffa plant to not be disturbed during transplanting. You can help the roots have an easier time spreading out by cutting slits in the bottom and sides of the peat pot. There should be enough slits for the roots to find their way through the sides and bottom, but these gashes shouldn’t be wide enough that the dirt will shift as you are placing the plants in the ground.
1. Use a Trellis or Fence That Will Withstand the Weight of Your Luffa Gourds
The gourds on luffa plants are very large and heavy. If the fence isn’t able to allow plenty of places for the plant’s tendrils to grasp onto, then the vine will fall to the ground. Also, if the fence is week, the weight of the gourds will pull the entire fence down. Double-check the fence or trellis that the luffa vine is growing on every so often, just to make sure it is holding up to the weight of the vine and gourds.
Luffas begin to turn brown when they are ready to be harvested. Cut the gourd off of the vine and gently peel the skin off. A light green spongy material will be right beneath the skin. Shake any seeds out of the inside of the gourd and save them for next year. Rinse the spongy material off and allow to dry before storing. Did you find these tips on growing luffas to be helpful?
Top Photo Credit: Ahua