How to Grow Your Own Loofa!
Loofa, Loofah, Luffa: a vine-grown member of the pumpkin, squash and gourd family, Cucurbitaceae. It's spongy fiber is used as a kitchen scrubbie or a bath exfoliator.
If you live in or around New Orleans, you can grow your own loofa! No need to buy imported loofa from Guatemala or Egypt when the vine happily grows here.
- Plant in March or April
- Full sun
- Well-draining soil (a large plantar works for small spaces)
- Something to climb (fence, trellis)
- Water often!
Start harvesting your loofa in August!
- Harvest the gourds when the skin is yellowing and no longer taut (gives a little when you squeeze it).
Processing your Loofa
- Cut the ends off with a sharp knife and make a long cut length-wise.
- Peel the skin off of the fibrous interior. If it's too green, it will be difficult to peel and if it's too brown, the skin will be hard and firm.
Wash your loofa
The easiest way (in our opinion) to separate the pulp and seeds from the fiber is to spray a hose through the gourds. Alternatively, you can soak them in water, then wring them out gently.
Set them out to dry (they dry fast)!
More seeds will fall out at this point, especially if you shake the loofa.
The vines will die (annuals), so keep some seeds for next year! Keep them dry and in the dark.