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Growing Luffa, also Loofah, plant sponge

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
T               S   T T

(Best months for growing Luffa in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions)

S = Plant undercover in seed trays T = Plant out (transplant) seedlings

  • Grow in seed trays, and plant out in 4-6 weeks. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 68°F and 86°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 18 - 30 inches apart
  • Harvest in 11-12 weeks. Use as a back scratcher.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Peas, Beans, Onions, Sweetcorn
  • Avoid growing close to: Potatoes
  • Luffa on vine

This type of squash while not strictly a vegetable can be eaten when young. They are more commonly grown to use when mature and dried.

The plants need warmth to grow successfully. Keep inside until all risk of frost is gone.

They grow on vines similar to cucumbers.

A large loofa makes a great back scratcher. Luffa can be cut into many shapes for scrubbing pads, padding, and other uses.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Luffa

The luffa flowers and fruits are soft and edible when young and are sometimes cooked and eaten like squash or okra. Loofah has been an important food source in many Asian cultures. The leaves and vines should not be eaten.

Your comments and tips

04 Oct 19, Janice (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
Where can you buy loofah's already grown and dried in SA ?
29 Aug 19, NANCY SMELTZER (USA - Zone 6a climate)
I HAVE SEVERAL LOOFAH PLANTS, QUITE VINY AND HEALTHY BUT NO BLOOMS. IT’S NOW LATE AUGUST. WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG? OR IS THERE SOMETHING I CAN DO? THANKS FOR ANY HELP.
17 Sep 19, Terri (USA - Zone 8a climate)
Loofa need a long time to mature. 5 months or more. I planted mine late this year. Late May. They were full vines without flowers until late July. Now they are full of flowers and loofa. I am not sure how late you planted them but they may just not be mature. Another thing may be too much nitrogen in the soil.switch to phosphorus based to get the plants focused on flowering.
15 Aug 19, Andrea Gearllach (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Would loofah be ok to grow near rhubarb and kiwi berries?
10 Aug 19, Charmaine (South Africa - Dry summer sub-tropical climate)
I have loofah seed that could easily be 40 years old I will try growing them in Gauteng in my sun room, is it possible they will grow?
30 Jun 19, Karen Flakelar (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi while all my other gourd plants have died off over winter my luffa seems to be powering on as if it prefers winter and has lots of little luffahs and flowers coming on It doesn't even appear to be affected by frost Is this normal luffa behaviour?
11 Jun 19, Wyndi (USA - Zone 7a climate)
I live in southern Idaho (zone 7) We have had an incredibly cold, wet spring. It is now mid June, would it still be possible to have success planting seeds now?
24 Jun 19, Linda (USA - Zone 8b climate)
Luffa need a very long growing season. It is said to need near 200 days. If you look for your first frost date then count back to today and see if you have enough days. Good luck!
08 Jun 19, Linda (USA - Zone 9a climate)
I have 3 Luffa plants potted , about 3” tall and healthy. They are ready to be put in ground. Now I am stuck. Full sun, part sun , keep wet, keep dry... central Florida on the river. Please help.
24 Jun 19, Linda (USA - Zone 8b climate)
I also have 3 luffa plants. First year growing in north Florida. I put one in full sun, one in part sun and one in complete shade. They are all growing at the same pace but with one exception: the one in full shade has zero luffa. The other two each have 5 very large ones.
Showing 1 - 10 of 133 comments

I HAVE SEVERAL LOOFAH PLANTS, QUITE VINY AND HEALTHY BUT NO BLOOMS. IT’S NOW LATE AUGUST. WHAT HAVE I DONE WRONG? OR IS THERE SOMETHING I CAN DO? THANKS FOR ANY HELP.

- NANCY SMELTZER

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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