Gourds - Luffa (Seeds)
These rambling, strong growing vines can grow to 6 m (6.5 yd) or more in length. A structural support is required for the vines to grow on. Note that the chance of producing mature fruit in Zone 5a is very slim. For someone in this growing zone looking for a real challenge, you have found it here! The intrepid gardener will need to resort to their tool box for such techniques and structures as: pre-planting soil solarization to advance soil warming, using raised beds, soil modification by adding large amounts of organic matter, wind shelters and both early and late season cold temperature shelters. Even after doing all that, successfully growing mature luffa in Zone 5a should not be considered in any way as guaranteed!
How to Grow
10 seed/gram. Growing luffa requires patience and a long growing season. Start seed indoors one month before your last frost date. Sow see 2 cm (3/4″) deep in a soil-less mix and keep at 21 C (70 F) for the 7 to 14 day germination period. Grow on under bright light and warm conditions until hardening off and transplanting outside after the danger of frost has passed. Space transplants 1 m (39″) apart near a structure that will allow the vines to climb. Vines can be grown on the ground but they will tend to produce curved fruit. Seed can be sown directly into the ground in Zone 7 but should be started indoors when growing in zone 6 or 5b. As we stated earlier, growing luffa to maturity in zone 5a or lower is a challenge and typically does not produce usable fruit.