How to Raise Bottle Gourds

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Bottle gourds have distinctive, unusual shapes.
Bottle gourds have distinctive, unusual shapes. (Image: Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images)

Bottle gourds are large gourds suitable for making water dippers, bird houses and craft projects. These gourds are relatively easy and fun to raise. Gourds are produced on fast-growing, climbing vines. Its 4-inch, white flowers produce irregularly shaped fruit with rectangular seeds. While most bottle gourds are used for decorative purposes, some varieties may be harvested young and eaten.

Things You'll Need

  • Bottle gourd seeds
  • Tiller or spade
  • Trellis, fence or wire plant stucture

Soak seeds in water for 24 hours to assist in germination.

Prepare a 1-foot-wide patch of soil that measures between 3 and 6 feet long with a tiller or spade. Remove any stones and weeds. Erect a fence, trellis or other climbing structure alongside the planting area.

Plant soaked seeds 1/2 to 1 1/2 inch deep, about 6 inches apart, in a row, watering them in well.

Thin the gourds after germination as necessary so they don't crowd each other. Allow the gourds 100 to 180 days to mature, watering weekly if they don't receive at least 1 inch of rainfall. During extremely hot and dry weather, increase watering frequency to once daily.

Leave gourds on the vine until the vine dies. Harvest them once the vine is dead and the gourds are brownish in color.

Tips & Warnings

  • Water daily, the heat of the day may cause your gourds to wilt in mid summer.
  • Don't plant under trees if you don't want your vines (and your gourds) twenty feet up in the air.
  • Keep seeds from your largest gourds to plant for the following year if you want to grow Purple Martin houses.
  • Fences make a great place to plant your gourds along.
  • Bottle gourds should be planted well away from squash, pumpkins and other gourds to prevent cross pollination.

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