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Ridge gourd

Luffa acutangula

Loofah, Bitter gourd, Snake gourd, Chinese okra, Ribbed loofah (Eng.)

Luffa is a genus of tropical and subtropical vines in the cucumber family. Luffa acutangula is commercially grown for its unripe fruits as a vegetable or mature fruits used as natural cleaning sponges. Its fruit slightly resembles a cucumber or zucchini with ridges. It ranges from central and eastern Asia to southeastern Asia. It is also grown as a houseplant in places with colder climates.

Planning

Difficulty
Moderate
Flowering time
Summer, Spring
Fruiting time
Autumn, Winter

Harvesting

The fruit must be harvested at a young stage (less than 12 cm in length) if growing for cooking purposes. Harvest the seeds and loofah for a natural sponge when the fruit on the vines dry out completely, then pick, peel and harvest the seedsor use the sponge.

Propagation

Seed
Sow seeds in situ, 3-4 seeds per hole, after 2 weeks keep only 2 seedlings and remove the rest. In tropical and subtropical regions sow all year or before rainy season.

Special features

Hedge plant
Quickly cover a fence or trellis to provide a temporary screen.

Geography

Origin
Aisia, India
Natural climate
Tropical

Environment

Light
Full Sun
Soil moisture
Moist
Soil type
Loam, Sand
Soil PH preference
Neutral
Frost hardiness
Tender

Uses

Medicinal
Good for reducing skin infections, inflammation, constipation.
Edible
The fruit is eaten when it is young.

Personality

Family
Cucurbitaceae
Flower colour
Yellow
Scent
None

Problems

Susceptible to beetles, fruit-flies and caterpillars.

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