The Q&A Archives: What is Loofah

Question: I recently read an article on the loofah plant and it said it was an edible vegetable, as well as a sponge. I would appreciate anything you can tell me about it and where I can purchase the seeds.

Answer: What you're looking for is 'Luffa aegyptiaca', an ornamental gourd. For a gourmet baby squash, harvest the fruit when it's 2" long. They need at least 90 days from date of transplant to ripen into full sized gourds which can be used to make sponges. Grow them as you would other squash, but give them a trellis to climb if you want to harvest sponges - this keeps them off the ground where they will avoid rot, and hopefully ripen faster. For more information on harvesting gourds see in our Q&A database. Seeds are available from Burpee Seeds (back up to check out the on-line catalog and to order your complete Spring 1998 catalog).

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