Did you know you could grow luffas at home? I’ll tell you how in just a few short steps. It’s easier than you think. I was amazed to learn luffas are a gourd that grows on a vine.
I always thought they came from the ocean. During the gardening with kids class I took to learn how to grow food with kids, one of the speakers brought some luffas seeds to give us. She told us about how she grew them with her children and let us each take a few. I was so excited and took a couple of seeds and set out to grow my own luffas. What an exciting adventure!
We grow a large percentage of the food my family and my home daycare kids eat right here in the garden, WITH the preschoolers. If you want to find out how our gardening got real around here, click here.
Uses for Luffas
Luffas are so useful from exfoliating in the bath to washing dishes. You can see a ton of uses for luffas here.
Even if your luffas is old and worn out, there are still things you can do with it before it goes to the trash. Find out what to do with old luffas here.
Keeping your luffa clean is important too. Check out how to sanitize your luffa here.
How to grow luffa from seed
The first step in growing some amazing luffas is to plant your seeds. The growing season for luffas is extremely long, so you need to expect to start your seeds extremely early and grow them indoors under a light sort of like a house plant.
In Oklahoma, I start mine in January and set them in the ground outside around April 15 or early May. They need to grow a foot long or more before you plant them in the ground.
Poke a small hole in the soil, press the seeds in about 1/2 inch deep and cover with soil. Pat the soil about as hard as you would rub your eye.
Is it hard to grow luffa gourds?
Luffa seeds can be tough to germinate. It can take anywhere from a week to two months for them to sprout. The ones we planted two years ago took 6 weeks to germinate, and the ones we planted this year took one week. Be prepared to be patient.
Here are our sprouts two weeks after germination.
Luffa vines will grow to around 30 feet long and need a strong trellis to grow on so be prepared to give them a sturdy home. We grow ours on our chain link fence. Luffa gourds also need 8 or more hours of sunlight a day to form the blooms and gourds.
How to grow luffas
The vine will flower and behind the flowers, a tiny gourd will start growing, and continue to grow into a large gourd around a foot long.
Once the gourds begin to turn yellow, they are ready to pick. You can wait until they turn brown to harvest them, but it will leave dark spots on the luffas, so if you want them to look nice and light, harvest them when they are yellow. As soon as you harvest them, pull the end of the gourd off and shake the seeds out.
Each luffa makes an inordinate amount of seeds, so it will take some work to get them all out. If you want to save the seeds and grow them again or share them, you can just leave them to dry on a paper towel for a week or two.
Then package them in an air-tight container and store them in a cool, dry place. The seeds I germinated this year are ones I saved two years ago and all of them sprouted, so they store very well.
Where do I get luffa seeds?
When you get most of the seeds out of the luffa, you can pull the peels off the sponge. They are very fiberous. It takes a little work to get them started, but once you do, most of the peel usually comes off in one piece. The luffas are covered with a slimey wet substance that you can just rinse off.
Once they are clean and seed free, you can let them dry and store them in a dust free location. They will last for years. When we grew our luffa gourds, we had three vines and ended up with almost 100 luffas. It was great fun and we use them for many uses.
Luffas are great exfoliators for your skin. I keep one hanging in the shower. I have super sensitive skin and I use my luffa in the bath with Tom’s natural soap. As long as it’s not sitting in water, one luffa will last for several months. You can exfoliate with it a few times a week or you can use it as a wash cloth and wash your whole body with it.
I have seen many homemade soaps online that contain luffa as well. They would be awesome to use in your homemade soaps. Luffas are great for washing the car or scrubbing dishes as well. The possibilities are endless.
Growing luffas is a unique and interesting experience. The kids loved taking them home to their parents and we also did a Mom’s pampering party with them. Check out some of our Mom’s Night Out parties. I have given them as gifts to many different people as well.
This project was one of the favorites with the kids. They were enamored at how huge the vines grew and the funny looking fruits that grew on them. Kids learn so much by growing things, if you want to read about some of the benefits, click here.
I hope you will try your hand at growing some luffas. Tell me about the most unusual thing you have enjoyed growing. Thanks so much for reading along with us!
Also, another gourd that is more for just eating is Chinese Python Snake beans. They taste a little like zucchini and a little like cucumbers. They look really cool too!