Learn How to Grow and Use the Loofah Gourd
Learn How to Grow, Harvest, and Use the Loofah Gourd
This incredible gourd plant also goes by loofa, luffah, and even luffa. However you may spell it, these seeds are the perfect addition to your garden. There are lots of loofah benefits, including being eaten or used as luffa sponges. Read below to learn how to grow, harvest, and use the loofah gourd.
How to Grow a Luffa
Growing loofah is easy once it gets going; until then, handle it with care and be patient! It needs a long growing season, with the luffa vines growing up to 30 feet long. Be sure to provide a trellis or fence to give them lots of growing room.
Starting Luffa Seeds
- Luffas have a long growing season, so it's best to start seeds indoors 4-6 weeks before the last frost date in your area.
- To help with successful seed germination, soak seeds for 24 hours before planting.
- Once planted in your seed-starting dirt, you can place a heating pad under the seedlings to help them germinate.
- Start feeding the seedlings once they have developed their first true set of leaves
When the danger of frost has passed, and the spring weather has warmed up - it’s time to start the transplant process.
- First, you will want to start by hardening off the started plants outdoors for 1-2 weeks.
- Then transplant them in the ground - cover them with a garden dome, if possible, for up to a week while they settle into their new home.
- Provide a trellis or fence for them to climb. Loofah can reach up to 30 feet!
Garden Tip: Luffa plants prefer full sun and moist soil.
When to Harvest Loofah PlantsYou can harvest loofah guards at different growth stages for two main loofa plant uses.
- Harvest your loofah squash when young and immature, at about 4-8 inches in length, to cook and eat them. At this growth stage, the luffa does not have all of its fibrous fibers yet and tastes delicious!
- When fully mature, they can be harvested, dried, and used as a natural loofah sponge. Some of our favorite uses for luffa are as a spa and kitchen sponges, and they can be used in loofah soap making!
How to Cook Luffa
Immature loofah plants are edible, and many people love to eat them. They taste and cook like squash. To eat luffa, you must harvest it when it's small, about 4-8 inches long. At this growth stage, the luffa does not yet have all of its fibrous fibers. Immature loofah fruit tastes delicious. Some of our favorite luffa recipes include roasted or cooked in stir fry, stews, and ratatouille.
How to Peel and Process Luffa Gourds for a Natural Sponge
- Remove the dried and cracked brown skin on the loofah gourd. If the loofah fruits are still slightly green, you can cut them from the vine and hang them for a couple of weeks to dry or leave them on the vine over winter to hang dry.
- Remove and then save your seeds. This can sometimes take some work. It’s okay to bang the sponge around to get the seeds loose.
- Wash your dried luffa sponge under cold water to rinse away any debris. Some people like to let the loofah soak in very mild water and bleach solution for the sponge to have a whiter appearance. If you do this, rinse the luffa sponge thoroughly before using it.
- Hang the luffa sponge or lay it flat on a porous surface to dry.
- You just grew your very own sponge! Use as needed and enjoy.
Save Loofah Seeds for Your Next Seed
When you have removed your luffa seeds from the dried loofah gourd, make sure they are completely dry before storing. Spread them out in a single layer on a tray and let dry completely.
Remember to save your loofah plant seeds and join us to exchange them in the Super Duper Seed Swap!