Hi, has anyone grown ornamental gourds ?

I was thinking of trying to grow them for bird houses but wondered if it's too cold 

in north of England for them.



  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,930

    I'm trying for the second time, snakes weren't very successful last year image .

    I'm trying a mix of small fruits and Russian Dolls this time. I'm in the NW and was going to treat them like courgettes, the plants look similar. Germination has been good. The one's still in the GH are looking good and one planted out a couple of weeks ago is doing well.  

    It's worth a try, nothing ventured, nothing gained, plant some out and if you have a GH or similar grow some in there.

    How far north are you..... 

  • AlieshAliesh Posts: 182

    I'm in north Manchester.

    Only just ordered the seeds think i should have started them earlier.

    How big are yours ? what happened to yours last year did you grow them outside ?

  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 6,172

    Aliesh...........I think you are somewhat late to sow your gourd seeds now altho you may get away with it if you have them in a greenhouse.  Depends on the summer thoimage

    I've grown a variety of gourds - both the small mixes and also Bottle gourds both outside and in G/h and polytunnel but I am in the South West.

    You need a long season of good weather to realise their full potential and to be able to ripen off sufficiently to be of use.

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,930

    They were eaten by slugs and snails, outside last year..

    This year they were sown on 8th April and have been in the GH since Easter. They have about 3 to 4 big leaves on them. On the packets, March through to May is the window for sowing...but we are only in the first week of June. The mixed packet says they can be harvested in October, whilst the dolls can be harvested in November and snakes picked from August.

    As philippa talks from growing experience, you could be too late to sow for a harvest. I'd still try a few seeds though, see how far they get and save some seeds for next year.

    The first time I tried aubergines they were sown to late...but they flowered and I gained some tips about how to grow them. The following year I sowed early and had a bumper crop.

  • AlieshAliesh Posts: 182

    Thanks for the advice, just going to sow 3 seeds this year see how i get on image

  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 6,172

    Ailesh.......good idea........Zoomer is right........nothing to lose by doing some now and then saving the others til next year.  I've found in general the seeds can be good for a few years if stored correctly.

    I hope you'll let us know how it goes...........Good luckimage

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,930

    Sounds a good plan, look upon it as a learning curve...happy growing.image   

  • It's my first year growing them and it's going well so far (Lincolnshire). I started them off in April indoors and now they have been in pots outdoors since the end of May. They grow quite big and put out climbers so it's good to have something they can twine around. They are kept in a sunny spot and I hand pollinated them using a cotton bud, early in the morning when the flowers are still open.

    Insects and slugs seem to keep well away from them too, which is great.


  • philippa smith2philippa smith2 Posts: 6,172

    If growing outdoors, the insects should take care of the pollination...........IMHO the biggest bugbear is having a long enough season to ripen them properly.

    I have Bottle Gourds and Luffas which I have dried successfully but you do need a good summer

    So, best of luckimage

  • Zoomer44Zoomer44 Posts: 2,930

    All mine are outside now.

    One in the mixed variety, is a climber, the others are growing on the ground. Not in flower yet though and two planted in pots near the fence have been eaten by slugs but the one's planted through weed membrane are doing really well.


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