luffah gords

mindystuckSeptember 10, 2009

I started growing my luffah seeds in may, they are now over 6 feet tall and the leaves are big,green and healthy but its been 4 months and i havent gfown 1 gourd. What am i doing wrong?

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gardengal11(Zone 7)

Do you have bees or insects around to pollinate? Mine have a ton of luffahs on them and I planted them late (in early june). They may need to be pollinated. Hornets in particular love my plant flowers.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 6:07PM
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i assume i dont have any bees around to pollenate my luffahs. Is there a way to attract bees? i live in south fla

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 6:19PM
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Well, you could add some colorful plants, around the gourds, to attract more bees, but then there could be cross pollination, so i would hand pollinate...

    Bookmark   September 10, 2009 at 10:10PM
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Well, it is to late for new gourds anyway.

About cross pollination; Not every single plant can get cross pollinated with another , unless they are closely related.
Is luffa gourd a lagenaria or cucurbita?
If I understand it well, lagenaria have white flowers that open after sun goes down. Cucurbita, on the otherhand, have yellow flowers that open in the morning. If luffa is night blooming/white-flowered, then you have to hand pollinate its female flowers, since there will be no bees around then. In some places there might be some night flying moths that can do pollinationg. But it is not guarantteed.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2009 at 10:33PM
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Ther are two species of Luffa gourds and many cultivars within those two species. Most folks who use the generic terms luffa or loofa are refering to the species Luffa cylindrica also called dishrag gourd, climbing okra, Sponge gourd. The other species is Luffa acutangular often called Ribbed gourd, Chinese okra, Angled Loofa.
Both species have yellow blossoms.They do not cross pollinate with other types of gourds or squash. They are insect pollinated, but you did not mention blooms. Are they blooming yet. They are slow to get going and 6 ft is not much of a vine. If you still do not have fruit at 20 ft, it will be time to start worrying.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2009 at 11:36AM
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magickiwi(Zone 5 Michigan)

Some gourd growers have found that if they put on an outside light it will attract the moths that pollinate the night blooming flowers or you can collect pollen from the male flowers with a q-tip and tap some pollen off into the female flowers. Really! Also - another gourder put solar lights out in her gourd growing area and that attracted the pollinators. It is pretty late now but it is something to remember for next year. Also, be on the lookout for the solar lights at garage sales and end of season sales. Perhaps even white Christmas lights. Good luck.
Cheers from Kalamazoo MI

    Bookmark   September 13, 2009 at 10:57PM
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Luffas are day bloomers.

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 8:58AM
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Thank farmerdilla.
I never had pollination problems with day flowering gourds.
But I alway hand pollinate my night flowering(lagenaria)gourds.
I would just pick a male. gently strip its petals or open them flat. Bring it over to a female and lower on the female, having them kiss. And with the power bestowed on me ,the gardener, I would pronounce them husband and wife.LOL

    Bookmark   September 14, 2009 at 11:32PM
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Sometimes luffah (luffa) gourds get tempermental. I found when the first vine get 6 to 8 ft. long, pinch off the very top end. The new vines grow out the side of the main vine and those are the ones that produce the "fruit", that goes for most all gourds too. Those produce both male and female flowers, the main vine only produces male flowers. (You'll see the baby luffah under the flower on the females, just like zucchini, pumpkins, etc.) Attached link is an article I wrote about cleaning luffas several years ago, hope you can grow enough next year to use this. I moved to a cold zone so I can't grow them anymore.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cleaning Luffas

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 6:07PM
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magickiwi(Zone 5 Michigan)

Thanks farmerdilla - It is obvious that I don't grow luffa gourds - I usually get mine from friends and I never thought to ask them about their bloomers. I have only grown night bloomers - and not very successfully here in SW Michigan! I thought I had thanked you for informing on that but I must have forgotten to "submit" the message and just stopped at the "preview" area! Sorry about that.
Cheers and Happy Gourding

    Bookmark   September 20, 2009 at 8:59PM
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