How to Grow Bitter Gourd from Seeds at Home

How to Grow Bitter Gourd from Seeds at Home? Bitter gourd, or Karela as it is commonly known in Indian gardens and kitchens, is an acquired taste. Nonetheless, this bitter but nutritious gourd is popular in a variety of regional Indian cuisines. Bitter gourds are not only easy to grow from seeds, but their prolific fruiting throughout the summer will ensure that your veggie basket never runs out of them.

How to Grow Bitter Gourd from Seeds at Home

How to Grow Bitter Gourd

Indian bitter gourds, also known as balsam pear, are high in iron, fibre, vitamins A and C, and potassium, which help regulate blood sugar levels and improve digestion. Bitter gourds also contain quinine, which gives them their well-known bitter taste. While some people enjoy the bitterness and crunchiness of freshly harvested bitter gourds, others prefer to reduce the sharpness significantly.

Introduction to Bitter Gourds:

Karela, also known as bitter gourd, is a vining plant that grows in the hot summer sun much like cucumbers or melons. Bitter gourd vines can reach lengths of 150 to 190 inches. As a result, it’s best to prune the plant on a regular basis and use vertical support to save space.

Introduction to Bitter Gourds

Bitter gourd leaves are prominently lobbed, and bitter gourd fruit skin is warty and heavily ribbed. Bitter gourd flesh is creamy white and firm under the skin.

Where Can You Grow Bitter Gourds?

Bitter gourds, like most summer vegetables, are simple to grow in your kitchen garden or terrace garden. Bitter gourds require a hot, humid climate to thrive. Plant bitter gourd seeds in an area that receives 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight per day. In soil temperatures ranging from 15 to 20°C, seeds will germinate in 8 to 10 days. Bitter gourds mature in approximately 55-60 days.

Green beans, peas, pumpkins, and other summer squashes make excellent companion plants for bitter gourds. Most herbs do not thrive in the presence of bitter gourds. Before planting, prepare the potting soil by mixing in aged manure or aged compost. Make sure the soil is well-drained and light enough for planting. It is best to mulch the soil when growing bitter gourd vines on the ground to prevent the fruits from becoming dirty or rotting in moist soil.

Bitter gourds can also be easily grown in containers. Choose a container that can hold at least 15 to 18 kilogrammes of potting soil. It is recommended that only one bitter gourd plant be grown per container, with adequate vertical support provided by a trellis or wire mesh.

Growing Bitter Gourds:

Growing Bitter Gourds

Step 1: Sow seeds 12 inches deep in a loamy, well-draining soil amended with aged manure or compost. Bitter gourd seeds can be soaked overnight to hasten germination. Directly plant the soaked seeds in the garden and cover them with soil. Maintain a minimum distance of 12 to 15 inches between two plants.

Step 2: Maintain an even moisture level in the soil until germination occurs. Because bitter gourds are grown during the hot summer months, the soil will need to be watered frequently once the seedlings have been established. The soil in containers dries relatively quickly. As a result, it’s critical to keep checking the soil with the tip of your fingers and watering gently if it feels dry to the touch.

Step 3 Trellising is required for bitter gourd vines to grow vertically. At the time of planting, install a sturdy trellis that is at least 5 to 6 feet long. Growing bitter gourds vertically also aids in the preservation of the fruit’s shape.

Step 4: Regular pruning of side shoots is also necessary to improve fruiting and control plant sprawl.

Step 5: Bitter gourds, like most cucurbits, are susceptible to pests such as aphids, cucumber beetles, and fruit flies. Keep a close eye on your vines and remove them manually or with neem oil spray. To control the pests, remove any weeds around the bitter gourd plant. Ladybugs, for example, are beneficial in pest control in the garden.

How to Grow and Harvest Bitter Gourd:

Caring for bitter gourd vines is simple if you start with healthy, fertile soil. Some important things to remember about their growth and harvest are:

How to Grow and Harvest Bitter Gourd


For good fruit development, keep bitter gourd planting beds evenly moist. Water the soil gently in the mornings and evenings when it feels dry to the touch.


Bitter gourds require nutrient-rich, well-draining soil that has been amended with aged compost or manure and has a pH of 5.5 to 6.5. Good soil drainage is essential for the plant’s optimal growth.


Mix compost into the soil before planting bitter gourd seeds. If the soil is not fertile, some aged compost can be used as a side dressing during growth, or comfrey or seaweed tea can be used.

Time to Harvest

Bitter gourds will begin to fruit 55 to 60 days after planting. Bitter gourds should be harvested when they are 4-5 inches long and dark green in colour. If the fruits are allowed to ripen on the vine for any longer period of time, they will turn pale orange and become unpalatable. To encourage new fruiting throughout the season, snip bitter gourd fruits every 2-3 days with a sharp knife.

The key is to pick up the bitter gourd at the right time. When the fruit is neither too small nor too young, nor too hard and fibrous, it is the right time. Bitter gourd fruit ripens twice as quickly in warmer climates as it does in cooler climates.

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