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Floridaseeds

Luffa Gourd Sponge Gourd Luffa aegyptiaca 20 Seeds

Luffa Gourd Sponge Gourd Luffa aegyptiaca 20 Seeds

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Luffa aegyptiaca, commonly called luffa gourd or sponge gourd, is a fast-growing, tendrilled, annual vine native to tropical Asian lowlands where it has been cultivated for centuries. It has escaped cultivation and can be found growing in tropical woodlands, thickets, grasslands and along roadsides at low elevations around the world. Vines can reach 30-50' long and require 1-3' of spacing. The palmately lobed leaves can reach 10" wide. The blooms are bright yellow in color and can reach 4" wide. The fruits are smooth, green and cylindrical, reaching 1-2' long and contain numerous round, flat, black seeds. Best grown in evenly moist, moderately rich, well-draining loams in full sun. Hand pollination will increase yield. This plant requires a frost-free growing season of at least four months and warm temperatures for proper flowering and fruiting. In Zones 7 and above, seeds can be either sown directly in the garden in spring after the threat of frost or started indoors 6-8 weeks before the last frost date. In Zones 6-5, seeds must be started indoors. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours and use a heating pad for optimal germination. Planting the seeds in biodegradable pots is also recommended to reduce transplant shock. Harvest gourds immediately after frost in fall for use as sponges. A unique and showy annual vine for growing on fences, trellises, or other structures. The young fruits can be eaten raw in salads or cooked in soups, stews, and curries. As the fruits mature, they become fibrous and are used to make sponges, dish scrubbers, mats, shoe insoles, filters, and utilized in shock or sound absorbing applications. Hardy in zones 5-11.

Growing Instructions for the Loofa

The seeds have a hard seed coat that has to be treated, or scarified, in order for water to enter the seeds so that they can sprout. 1. Scarify the seeds by nicking or sanding the seed coat. The seeds can be sanded with sandpaper, a nail file or an emery board. 2. Soak the seeds in water for 24 hours. 3. Sow the seeds in pots with a rich, well drained potting soil or sow the seeds outdoors in an area with good drainage. Cover the seeds with a layer of soil. 4. Water the seeds. The seeds germinate in 1-3 weeks. 5. Install a trellis or other support structure beside the luffa vines. The vines will climb on and be supported by a trellis. 6. Fertilize the plants when they have several leaves and then fertilize them every few weeks during the growing season.

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