Luffa : Luffa acutangula L.
Luffa is another cucurbit native to Asia cultivated since ancient times. Luffa can only be eaten when young as mature fruits become very bitter due to the development of purgative chemicals. It is an annual climbing herb. Male and female flowers are formed separately on the same vine. The crop was probably originated in India and now widely grown throughout the India and tropical Asia.
In Sri Lanka it is one of a popular vegetable. It is well grown in low country dry zone, intermediate zone as well as wet zone.
High temperatures (25- 30 0C) are required for reasonable (50%) seed germination and early growth in L. acutangula. Long days and high temperatures favored the development of more female flowers than short days and lower growing temperatures. Luffa can be cultivated up to 500 AMSL. Heavy rain not suitable for the cultivation.
Luffa needs plenty of moisture while growing. It yields well in warm climates. The plant prefers deep well drained sandy loam soils, rich in organic matter with a pH ranging 6.5 to 7.5. Excessive water can result in poor growth and root disease. Damping off can be a problem with young seedlings if growing in cool wet conditions, and fruit rots may cause losses if the fruit are allowed to grow on the ground.