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Growing Gourds

Growing Gourds

Shenot Crown of Thorns Gourd


Vigorous vines that produce hard-shelled fruit used for crafts and decorating. Available in a range of colors, shapes, sizes, and forms. Small gourds are classified as Cucurbita pepo and are related to Summer Squash. Most large gourds are Lagenaria species. Luffa Sponge Gourds (02600) are related to Cucumbers and grown for their sponge-like interiors. All types can be sown indoors 3 to 4 weeks before the last spring frost with seed planted an inch deep. Gourds can be planted in rows with 18 to 24 inches between plants and 5 to 6 feet between rows. They can also be planted in hills spaced 5 to 6 feet apart, sowing 5 or 6 seeds and thinning to the 3 strongest plants. Good grown on a fence or trellis. Each packet contains 25 to 50 seeds.


Plant in full sun in fertile, well-drained soil. Heat-loving plants that appreciate a long growing season, especially large-fruited types. Harvest in fall when stems die back, but before frost. Cut the fruit from the plants leaving a few inches of stem attached. Clean the fruits and allow them to dry. Surfaces can be treated with rubbing alcohol to reduce the chance of rot. Keep harvested Gourds in a warm, dark area spaced so they do not touch each other. The fruit will be surface dry in about a week, but it may take another 4 to 6 weeks for the interior to fully dry. Once fully dry, Gourds can be waxed, shellacked, or painted. Harvest Luffa when the outer skin is dry and the seeds rattle. Cut off the stem end and remove the seeds, then soak in warm water until the skin is soft enough to remove. Soak the fibrous interiors in a 10% bleach solution to lighten the color, rinse with water, then allow to dry thoroughly.

Fertilizer Recommendations

Use full rates of Algoflash All-Purpose Liquid Fertilizer 6-6-6 (51085), Nature's Source Plant Food Concentrate 10-4-3 (51012), or Neptune Fish & Seaweed Fertilizer 2-3-1 (51221).

Alternative Products

Other annual plants used for decorating include Ornamental Corn, Popcorn, and Pumpkins.

Complimentary Products

Gourds are heavy feeders that benefit from regular fertilization. Use Weed Control Porous Film Mulch 3' x 50' (53304) to control weeds and warm the soil. Trellis Netting (53282) can be used to support vines.

Product Recommendations

Use plantable 3" Round Jiffy Peat Pots (53226) when starting seed indoors to reduce transplant stress.

Gourd Facts

Easy-to-grow and usually free of problems. Aphids, squash bugs, squash vine borers, cucumber beetles, bacterial wilt, powdery mildew, and leaf spot are sometimes problems. Gourds come in a wide range of shapes and sizes suitable for a range of craft projects from dippers to birdhouses and containers.

Growing Tips