Eco-Friendly DIY: Homegrown Luffa

November 11th, 2014 - filed under: The Farm » Flora

luffa grown at home

Success! By far my favorite garden project of 2014, and a tutorial so easy it barely needs words. We planted sponges in our back yard and they totally grew. It worked! Amazing.

Like so:

luffa plant

A pair of seeds planted in a wine box under the jacaranda tree, with a hand-knotted twine trellis.

homegrown loofa
A little compost here and there.

loofa plant
Grow baby grow!

grow loofa at home
Luffa gourds look a bit like a cucumber, but they take a lot longer to mature. These guys sprouted in early spring but weren’t close to ready until early fall.

dried luffa
Un-trellised and moved to the back table to finish off. They like to dry out completely on the vine.

grow luffa at home

dried loofah
And when they’re totally dry, they’ll be light as a feather and shakey like a rattle.

loofah plant

dry loofah
Smash ‘em with a stick!

grow loofah at home
And peel off the shell.

loofah from garden

And there you have it, a homegrown sponge to use for your shower, your housework, or your kitchen sink. Seriously, could it possibly get more natural, more eco-friendly, more sustainable than that?

Oh yeah wait, it could!

loofah seeds

Don’t forget to save the seeds for next year!

Growing my own luffa sponges is definitely something I’ll be doing annually, forevermore. And I hope you’ll consider doing it too. If you want to order your own luffa seeds, I highly recommend the fine folks over at Baker Creek – keepers of heirloom seed strains. They’re good people and very much worth supporting.

♥ Cheers! ♥

  • g

    wait, what?!?! this is the most amazing thing i’ve ever seen. honestly, am i the only botanically uneducated folk who didn’t know that there was such a thing as a luffa plant? i’m embarrassed to admit that i thought all sponges came from the sea lol. this post is quite amazing. i’m definitely borrowing my friend’s garden to plant this! (i live in an apartment so… yeah.)

  • Shango

    This is an especially great post. I never understood where they came from. I’ll def give this a try this coming summer. Hooray for Baker Creek too!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    We’ve been doing this for years, I never think to tell anyone about it! Happy to see your tutorial. And especially happy to see Baker Creek Seeds getting a shout out – I just ordered my garlic from them a few weeks ago! I have years’ worth of their catalogs, too pretty to ever recycle.

  • Lisa B.

    I, too, had that *d’oh* moment of realizing there was a luffa plant! Let me know if you find any methods for growing luffa on apartment balconies (too lazy to Google search right now).

  • Lisa B.

    Monika, you had replied to a comment of mine weeks ago regarding Ag-gag legislation and I was too wrapped up in the animal law conference to respond (I mean, Will Potter. Hello!). I just wanted to send along a note to let you know that it was a fantastic conference — do take advantage of your law school’s SALDF chapter to attend (I believe our chapter received a decent amount of funding, plus heavily subsidized conference admission).

    Also, if you ever want any tips/tricks for surviving the slog that is law school, holla. I’d be happy to provide any pearls of wisdom that I may have.

    - Lisa

    Edited to add: here’s a link to videos of the conference:

  • Deirdre

    super cool!

  • Mrs. D.

    I just heard of these about a month ago! Good to know it’s something a home gardener can do :). Love Baker Creek Seeds.

  • KitteeBeeBerns


  • Cara

    You can eat the fruits when they’re young, too!

  • Toni Dill

    Definitely better than those sea sponge critters! I might have to give this a try next year.

  • Rebecca Carnes

    Such a great idea! And a fun project to do with Phoenyx:)

  • Bianca

    Dude. I had no idea this was even possible. You’ve just blown my mind!

  • Erin

    Completely unrelated to everything! Do you have a favorite vegan caramel sauce recipe that you’d be willing to share? I found a great “cheesecake” that needs a sauce!

  • Monika {windycityvegan}
  • Monika {windycityvegan}

    Thank you for this link, Lisa! It will give me something to watch while I catch my breath before finals. I definitely plan on taking advantage of SALDF funds in the future.

  • glitterpenis

    Ugh. The Oregonian in me is so jealous of your SoCal luffa growing weather that I’m actually giving you side eye right now. LOL Just kidding. This is super cool and I wish I could grow it here! Along with my favorite flower–bougainvillea! All of it just doesn’t love the rain.

  • glitterpenis

    Can I also just say that you honestly have one of the most beautiful little boys I’ve ever seen? He is radiant and I almost feel like I can sense his personality through some of the pictures you post. He has very bright eyes.