Learn everything about Growing Snake Gourd Vegetable in India and enjoy a fresh harvest year-round! And yes, you can grow it in pots too!
Snake Gourd Vegetable looks different from the other gourds, thanks to the white stripes on the outer skin. This vegetable is fat-free, low calorie, and has high water content. Snake gourd uses in the kitchen range from scrumptious stir fry, curry, curd chutney, and pickling.
Botanical Name: Trichosanthes cucumerina
Other Names: Pudalai, Potlakaya, Patoala, Padavali, Chinchinga, Paduvalakai
Best Snake Gourd Varieties: CO1, CO2, PLR1, PLR2, MDU1
Check out our article on growing pointed gourd in India here
Snake Gourd in Hindi
Snake gourd in Hindi is popular as chichinda / चिचिंडा. People generally make curries of it with different indian spices.
How to Grow Snake Gourd Vegetable
The best planting time is January to Feb, but some gardeners cultivate it in July too.
- Purchase seeds from a local nursery or garden center and soak them in water overnight to increase the germination rate.
- Take a seedling tray or small pot and fill it with a seed starter mix or a mixture of perlite, vermiculite, and peat moss.
- Sow the seeds 1-2 inches deeper in the potting media. Water it uniformly and cover the pot with plastic.
- Keep the pot where it can get bright, indirect sunlight.
- The seeds will spout in 10-14 days.
- Install the trellis prior to planting for better management, as you can easily stake the vine in the growing stage.
- To cut down harvest time, you can also get a well-developed plant from a nursery.
Best Container Size for Snake Gourd Vegetable
For growing snake gourd in pots, the container should be 8-10 inches deep, as it needs a lot of room to grow. Terracotta and ceramic are the best, thanks to their porosity, but you can opt for other material pots as well. Make sure the pot you choose must have a drainage hole.
Growing Requirements for Snake Gourd Vegetable
Snake gourd is fond of plenty of light, so plant it where it can avail of 4-6 hours of direct sun daily. Though it can tolerate some shade, the quantity of produce will become lesser comparatively.
Gourd plant requires well-draining, aerated soil with a pH of around 6-7. The plant responds well to sandy-loamy soil, amended with a good amount of compost or well-rotted manure. For containers, choose any ideal potting mix or DIY it by mixing equal parts of peat moss, perlite, and garden loamy soil.
Gourds appreciate consistently moist but not damp soil. So, water deeply and evenly from the base, only when the top 1-2 inches of the soil feels dry to touch. Also, avoid spilling the water on the leaves as it may cause fungal issues.
Snake gourd is a summer vegetable and does best in a warm and humid climate. The optimum temperature range for thriving this snake gourd is 25-38 C, but make sure it does not drop below 20 C.
Taking Care of Snake Gourd Vegetable
Use a water-soluble feed, which is low in nitrogen like 5-10-10. As, nitrogen fosters more foliage growth with lesser blooming, whereas, high potassium levels stimulate fruiting. You can also trick the vine to produce more gourds by side-dressing the soil with compost regularly.
The vine is an aggressive climber and has a habit of sprawling. To aid in its growth, provide it the support of 7-8 feet tall bamboo stakes, arbor, or trellises. The support should be sturdy enough to carry the weight of heavy gourds.
Snake gourd vine produces numerous lateral branches that are of no use. You can prune them off to prompt more fruiting and to improve overall yield.
The plant relies on pollinators for setting the fruit. But, pollination can be a problem as bees are less active during the monsoon days. In such cases, manual pollination comes in handy. Just take a brush with soft bristles, and rub it on the male flower first, and then on the female flower for transferring the pollen.
You can also set up a small bulb near the plant to attract pollinators.
Mulch 2-3 inches of soil using dry leaves, bark, grass clippings, straw, or compost. It will keep the soil temperature uniform and cool during the hot days of summer.
Pests and Diseases
Be careful of beetles, caterpillars, and aphids. They feed on leaves and stems. To eliminate them, use neem oil, soap, or fungicidal spray.
Harvesting Snake Gourd Vegetable
The gourds are ready to harvest in 45-60 days from planting. Snip off the gourds when they are light-green, tender, and 7-12 inches in length. If you let the gourd stay on the vine for a prolonged duration, it will keep growing up to 6 feet but will turn yellow, mushy, too fibrous, and inedible.
Snake Gourd Recipe
Snake gourd is quite a versatile vegetable that you can cook in various forms, both as curry and fry. Here are some of the best recipes you can try: