Luffa
Answered by: Inge Poot
Question from: Margaret Mann
Posted on: July 29, 1999

I purchased some Luffa seeds from you earlier on this year and planted them in pots and placed them in my greenhouse. My problem with them is, some of the female fruits are shriveling up from the flower towards the stem end of the fruit. Some of the luffa’s are doing fine, but being close to each other in the greenhouse I was wondering if the healthy plants might get the same problem.

Also some of the leaves are turning yellow. Recently I applied a insecticidal soap solution to rid the leaves of black bugs. This week I gave them a little amount of Plant Prod Hanging Basket and Planter 14-14-14 fertilizer , and I don’t let the pots dry out. Please let me know what to do.

I think there might be two problems. As the plants get larger, the pots might be too confining for the roots and they will need quite steady fertilizing to be able to meet the demands of the enlarging and fruiting plants. Planting them in beds may be better. That might stop the problem of yellowing leaves. Possibly more than one fruit per plant confined in too small a pot might make the plant abort fruits.

Also, female flowers that did not get adequately fertilized would start to grow, but abort after a little while. A greenhouse may not allow enough pollinators in to effect proper fertilization. You may have to get busy with a camel hair brush and manually transfer pollen from male flowers to female ones. (Male flowers lack the thick bulbous base of female flowers and of course carry anthers instead of pistils.)

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