I was doing my inspection of the floral family this evening and was thrilled to see the first loofah flower beckoning to me. A nice pale yellow, it was just 2 to 3 cm wide.
Since veggie growing is quite new to me, I’ve been doing some reading on the different veggies I have growing. One of the things that kept cropping up was the mention of having to hand pollinate flowers of some veggie plants. This led me to learn about the differences between male and female flowers of cucurbits, e.g. cucumbers, melons and other vine-growers. Very interestingly, the distinction is that the female flowers tend to have a mini-fruit at the back of the flowers. (Visit this thread at the GCS forum to learn how to hand-pollinate the flowers) Of course, if loofah flowers need pollinating in order to fruit then this first flower is just for show, because it’s got no buddies to “play” with.
Another thing I learned is that angled loofahs (what I planted) only flower in the late afternoon (smooth loofahs flower in mornings) – so it’s fortunate that I got to see the flower today, even if it’s only ornamental for now. But, looking at the leaf nodes, it looks like the plant is preparing to branch out and flower, so there should be more to report in the near future.
All told, it’s been a little over 5 weeks since I planted the loofah seeds next to our unsightly chain-link fence. The bigger plant is about 60cm high now, with the other trailing it by 10 to 12 cm. Another result of my online research is that I’ve realized that the plants are pretty prolific and need a lot of space, so I’m a little undecided whether to keep both plants or to sacrifice the smaller one. Eh, it’s a tough decision for a compulsive planter/grower. Maybe I’ll just keep them both for a while and see how it all works out…