The Luffa Cylindrica sponge gourd plant has been one of the most intriguing plants we have grown so far, in addition to the bitter gourd. It provided lovely large foliage, climbing along the ceiling of our balcony. The yellow flowers were magnificent and it was exciting watching the sponge fruit grow.
Admittedly, we didn’t think the sponge fruit themselves were particularly tasty. Therefore we just left the biggest one to grow to harvest a sponge from. We left it as long as possible on the plant to ripen and to form the actual sponge mesh inside it before harvesting it. Various online resources on growing and harvesting luffa sponges say that you can leave the fruit on the plant until they turn a yellow/light brown colour.
Finally, since we were cleaning our balcony, I decided it was sponge collection day 😉 Maybe we could have left it on the plant longer, but it was a success:
- I cut the sponge off the plant and peeled it, revealing a fine mesh-like interior.
- Then, I cut a small piece from each side to allow the seeds to be shaken out.
- The seeds could be removed by repeated bashing of the sponge on the side of the sink, while washing it also with warm soapy water. If you try it, just be patient. The seeds just gradually started falling out.
- Finally, I washed it extensively with more warm soapy water and squeezed it out as much as possible.
- In the end I left it to dry over night and today. Now it is almost dry and resembles a luffa shower sponge you can buy in a home store.
Concluding, this was a very interesting plant to grow. Here some photos to inspire you to grow a sponge too!