GardenersHQ

How to Grow Trichosanthes Plants

Guide to Growing Serpent Gourd and Snake Gourd

Trichosanthes plants are half hardy annual vines that range in height from 3 to 5 M in height.

Trichosanthes species have broad leaves and bloom from late in the summer through to autumn with fringed white flowers.

They carry fruits that are up to 60 cm in length.

Some of the common names for Trichosanthes include Serpent Gourd, Snake Gourd and Serpent Cucumber.

Trichosanthes
Trichosanthes by flickr_10g

Snake cucumber flower
Snake cucumber flower by Tanakawho. Both photographs under creative commons licence.

Trichosanthes Growing and Care Guide

Common Names: Snake Gourd, Pointed Gourd, Japanese Gourd, Potol, Chinese Cucumber, Serpent Cucumber, Parwel, Kirilowii.
Life Cycle: Half hardy annual.
Height: 100 to 200 inches (250 to 500 cm).
Native: Asia.
Growing Region: Zones 9 and 10.
Flowers: End of summer and autumn.
Flower Details: White. Five petals. Hairy.
Foliage: Deeply lobed.
Sow Outside: 1 inch (25 mm). Only grow in warm areas. Sow in mid-spring; temperature must not drop below 70°F (21°C). Spacing 50 to 70 inches (125 to 180 cm).
Sow Inside: Use peat pots. Germination time: two weeks to one month. Temperature 70°F (21°C). Seven or eight weeks in advance. Transplant outdoors in mid spring; temperature should not drop below 70°F (21°C).
Requirements: Afternoon shade. Good drainage. Humus. Moist soil. Provide trellis. Regular watering whilst growing.

How to Grow Serpent Gourd, Snake Gourd and other Trichosanthes Plants in the Garden

When growing Trichosanthes plants such as Serpent gourd and Snake Gourd from seeds it is best to start off the process indoors. Sow the seeds in peat pots about two months before they are due to be transplanted into the garden (aim to transplant outdoors in the middle of spring). Once sown it should take Serpent gourd from two to four weeks to germinate at a temperature of 18 to 24 degrees centigrade.

Once ready transplant Serpent gourd outdoors singly or at least 1.5 m apart and grow in a sunny area that has afternoon shade. Ideally they should be grown in a moist soil that is humus rich.

Caring for Trichosanthes Plants

As Trichosanthes plant species such as Serpent gourd are vines it is important that they are provided a trellis for support. During the growing season they should be watered regularly. It is best to grow Serpent gourd from seeds.