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How To Grow Luffa Plants In Canada
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Luffa plants are quickly becoming a garden favourite for cold-climate gardeners. This Gardening in Canada article looks at whether or not you can grow luffa plants in Canada or cold climates in general.
If you are new to this blog my name is Ashley and I am a soil scientist. I am located in a Canadian Zone 3 and a USDA Zone 4. I write articles, make YouTube videos, Instagram & Facebook posts all designed for Canadians and Cold Climate gardeners using science-based methods. If you are looking for anything specific be sure to let me know in the comments down below.
Where Do You Buy Luffa Seeds in Canada?
When it comes to buying luffa seeds in Canada there are a few options. I personally grab mine from West Coast Seeds located in BC. (Click here for the link). These are your classic luffas nothing fancy. They will ultimately be your best choice when it comes to growing luffas in Canada.
Buy Luffa Seeds Here
When To Start Luffa Seeds In Canada?
Luffas are native to India and need 200 days to mature. This means regardless of zone you need to start your luffa seeds indoors in January. If you start your Luffas too late in the year you will end up purely with foliage and zero sponge. Be prepared to bump up your seedling several times before actually getting them outdoors.
How To Start Luffa Seeds In Canada?
Luffa seeds have a thick outer coating that tends to reduce the rate at which water is adsorbed. This means luffa seeds are notorious for rotting in the soil. To help encourage faster germination consider clipping the seed coat in one small area with nail cutters. This will allow the water to penetrate quickly. This is called scarification.
Once you have performed scarification on the seed. You can soak them in warm paper towels at 25-30 degrees Celcius for 12-24 hours. This will help really jump-start your plant’s growing cycle. After the first day, you can place your Luffa seeds in soil potting soil mix.
Consider adding vermiculite to the top of your potting soil to help prevent mould build-up while still supporting a moist environment. You want to make sure the temperatures stay above 20 degrees celsius.
How To Transplant Luffa Seeds In Canada?
When it comes to transplanting any tropical plants outdoors there are a few things to think of. The main things include ambient temp, soil temp and hardening off. The hardening-off process should take a total of 1-2 weeks with the last week being all outdoors.
When you go to transplant your Luffa seeds outdoors you want to make sure the nighttime temperatures are above 15 degrees celsius. If they go below 15 degrees celsius you need to consider adding some form of insulation to the plants. This can come in the form of blankets or a mini pop-up greenhouse.
You want to make sure you are doing everything in your power to reduce transplant shock. So using fertilize with higher rates of phosphate will also prove to be helpful. Grabbing a transplant fertilizer such as this one will help the roots bounce back faster. This ultimately means no reductions in the growing period.
Where should you plant Luffas?
If you have chosen to take on this challenge you will want to plant them in pots. The reason for this is that you will be able to keep the soil nice and warm. Ground soil is notorious for getting very cool and therefore using a pot to grow luffas will help. This also will allow you to move the plant to warmer areas on cool nights later in the growing season.
The Best Environment To Grow Luffas In Canada?
The greenhouse is the best chance of growing luffas in Canada. You want to leave them in a greenhouse all year if possible. Luffas love heat and they love sunshine even more. A greenhouse environment is a perfect place to try and grow luffa indoors. Without a greenhouse, you will want to consider some form of outdoor cover.
When it comes to soil moisture you never want to let the soil dry out. If you restrict this plant it tends to go into a state of turmoil. You are unlikely to see any new growth for a period of time and ultimately the plants fail to succeed. Reducing stress should be your number one focus when growing Luffa plants in Canada.