Growing Ivy Gourd in Mumbai

“To cramp these plants of spirit free, may seem to be a pity

But do without, and ivy dear, will overcome our city”

Related Topics: How to Grow, Growing OrganicallyThe Art of Propagation!

There are various types of gourds. This page has information relevant to ivy gourd/tendli. Click here for info on bitter gourd/karela or other common gourds (snake/padwal, sponge/gilki turai, ridge/turai and smooth/lauki). Ivy gourd is a highly productive fruiting veggie. It is known to be a farmer’s delight and an environmentalist’s nightmare. In fact it is so hardy and easy to propagate, that it has been classified as an invasive species and banned in places like Hawaii!

SEASONS: Ivy gourd is a perennial, and once planted, will probably outlive you! It is very well suited to Mumbai’s climate and can be sown and grown through the year, though the monsoons are preferable for propagating through cuttings.

PROPAGATING: Ivy gourd can be propagated by seed or cuttings. Seeds are not readily available in Mumbai. It is simpler to propagate cuttings obtained from farms outside the city. If using seeds then scoop out the gelatinous center of a fully ripe, reddened ivy gourd, and spread on a rack to dry in the hot sun. It may take several days for thorough drying. Once dried, brush off dried pulp residue, clean the seeds and store in a cool, dark place. If using cuttings, the process is super easy. Just plant sturdy, trimmed stems, about 6 inches in length, in soft soil near a climbing frame/pole. Then water well and daily. Within a week your stems will take root and start to climb.

GERMINATING: Ivy gourd seeds are best germinated in germination dishes/seeding baskets prepared with a mixture of compost and peat moss. Seeds can be sown in shallow, 1/4 inch deep holes or scattered on the surface with a sprinkling of soil above. Place in semi-shade and spray water evenly. Spray your sown seeds daily until seedlings emerge in 5-7 days.

PLANTING OUT:  Transplant when your seedlings are sturdy in stem, about 2 weeks of age and as they start growing out tendrils. Choose well-composted, well-manured soil and plant your seedling creepers in about 4 inch deep holes and around a pole or trellis in full sun. Similarly, if planting out cuttings, plant near a support structure so your creepers can climb vertically. Ivy gourd is not fussy and will grow in acidic, neutral or alkaline soils as long as it gets easy access to nutrients and strong sunlight. It grows well on open plots and in large containers.

NURTURING: You don’t need to bother to mulch around this plant as it will so aggressively compete for resources that no other vegetation (excepting mint perhaps) will be able to grow around, under or near it. Water it deeply each day, twice a day in peak summer and keep feeding it compost and manure-rich soil toppings. Train it to climb the trellis in the beginning, and it will then manage its growth perfectly well without any assistance from you. Your plant will shock you with the aggressiveness of its growth, sometimes a few inches in a day, and will  produce continuously as a perennial. Snip off yellowing or diseased branches and trim down the plant each year to about 6 inches above ground, to encourage new growth at the start of every monsoon.

HARVESTING: Ivy gourd will grow rapidly, produce plentifully and will need to be harvested regularly. Snip off bulbous fruit while still green in color. One ivy gourd plant is usually quite enough if you let it spread well, and feed it well – it will keep you and your family in good cheer through the year! When productivity declines or at the end of summer, cut it down, replenish the soil, and let the monsoons bring in a new set of shoots for a new season of ivy gourd.


Ivy gourd climbing aggressively across an overhead wire trellis

Ivy Gourd Flower  Ivy Gourd

A delicate white ivy gourd flower….and the fruit that grows from it

© Mumbai Farmer 2014. Do not copy in part or whole without prior written permission from the author. Infringement of copyright will render you liable for legal action.

11 thoughts on “Growing Ivy Gourd in Mumbai

    1. Mandy Post author

      Unfortunately I don’t have any stock with me right now! You could try growing from seed. Alternatively, the Bombay Port Trust rooftop veggie garden team is growing tindora and perhaps you could get some from there.


  1. Anonymous

    It is great to share about this Ivy Gourd. But you have not touched the topic on how to grow from a cuttings. If you have time please update this article. Thank you


      1. meena

        vector pollination ??! I didn’t get it. Can you please explain . Do I need to grow both male and female flowering plants or if I grow one plant , will I get fruit ?


      2. Mandy Post author

        I have grown ivy gourd from a single cutting so, as with other gourds, I’m pretty sure male and female flowers are produced on each plant. These are cross pollinated by vector sources viz. wind, insects, bees etc


    1. Anonymous

      Male and female flowers of Ivy gourd are produced on different plants. You need 1 male plant for several female plants and pollination is by insects.
      Look for parthenocarpic variety; you need just one plant. Only female flowers are produced, and they can produce fruit without pollination. These plants are propagated by stem cuttings.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ramankutty K

    Thanks for description. My plant has got so many weaver ants which are making there nest with the leaves. They also make flowering impossible. How to get rid of these weaver ants or what should I do for the plant flowering?


    1. Mandy Post author

      Flowering is a function of adequate sunlight, presence of pollinators and a soil medium that is not deficient in calcium and phosphorus. If you’re getting flowers and the ants are only a nuisance, then try prevention of access. You could do this by hoisting plant containers onto water bearing cups so the ants cannot get to the plant, or wrapping a sheet of aluminium foil around the plant container so they cannot climb up. I have tried vinegar solutions but did not find them too effective.



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