Growing Loofah Sponges  


I always thought that loofah was the remains of some aquatic creature living on oceans reefs.  But then when I was searching an online seed catalog I saw it listed.  I had to click it to check it out, and then grow some for myself.  It turns out that loofah is in the same family as cucumber, it’s a gourd, and it can be eaten or left to dry on the vine and used as the sponge you see in stores.  Here’s how.


  • They do not handle frost well, so don’t plant them too early if you live in a cold zone.
  • Plant them in an area where they will have room to grow, which can be horizontal on a fence, or vertical on a trellis, and where they can get plenty of sun.
  • They produce a nice yellow flower that looks nice.
  • This will turn into a gourd that while young resembles a cucumber. It’s at this stage that it is edible.  If you want to eat them, harvest them when they are between 4 to 6inches long and still tender and green.   You will need to remove the skin, and cook them.  They can be steamed, stewed, or best of all, stir-fried.
  • If you want to get a sponge just keep waiting. The gourd should start to turn yellow or brown.  Shake the gourd regularly to check if it’s done.  If you can hear loose seeds rattling around inside it is done.  You want to keep checking and not leave it too long so that it doesn’t begin to rot.  If it does rot it will ruin a portion of the sponge that you can cut off, but it will also leave the rest of it brown instead of white or yellow.  After harvesting the dried gourd, remove the top and empty out the seeds so you can grow more next season.  Then soak the gourd until the skin softens and peel the skin off.  What remains is the loofah sponge.

It’s not the most productive crop in the garden, but it does taste good when harvest young, and the novelty of growing your own sponge is pretty cool.  It’s also a nice non-perishable item that you can take to the local farmer’s market or sell online to make some income off of your garden and help fund your homestead.

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