September 16, 2010

We've Created a Monster

Birdhouse gourd vine in September.

In April, my husband planted seeds for birdhouse gourds (lagenaria sicerana). We thought it would be an amusing experiment, but as you can see, we've created a monster that is gobbling up our backyard. (Notice the singular article 'a' in my sentence. This is one vine. We thinned the seedlings after they came up.)

We might have been willing to accommodate this plant except for a few things.
  1. It's been 150 days and we haven't seen a single gourd. According to the seed package, the planting time is March - July (check) and the days until harvest are 120-130 (check plus). The vine has beautiful white flowers that open at dusk but no fruits. This makes me suspect a pollination problem, but this seems odd since the plant is under a light that attracts dozens of moths throughout the night.  
  2. The foliage, although lovely and lush, stinks like cat pee that is fermenting in the sun. Gross. Even this might have been workable except that the vines are along the only pathway in and out of the backyard, and walking (or more precisely, trampling) by kicks up the aroma.
  3. The final factor that led us to pull up the vine last Saturday was the onset of fall. We simply needed the space for more desirable veggies. (More about them in an upcoming blog post.) 
The birdhouse gourd vine in May.  So innocent.


  1. Monster and still growing. LOL

  2. Hmmm. A rampant vine that smells like fermented cat pee - now there's a description likely left off the seed package!

  3. Hi,
    I really enjoy your garden blog since we are here in Houston and have the same battles with heat. I tried a luffa gourd trained on a fence one year and it was a bit better behaved. Plus the luffas ripened and we used them as back scrubbers for showers and baths. You can make three scrubbers out of one luffa. Plus, they don't stink like cat pee. Nice post.
    David/ Tropical Texana/ Houston

  4. I was going to tell you - we have PLANTS now! They're growing because of all the rain. We have some kind of purple flower growing around the tree in our front yard, and we have some other flowering bushes blooming in the front beds. I have no idea what they are but I am estatic about them! :)

  5. David and the Gang, I was going to try planting luffas. I ordered the seed online and planted it twice at about the same time that I planted the monster, but it never came up. I guess the packet was a dud. I'll have to try again next year.

  6. Legally, yay for surprise blooms. I wonder what you have? I've seen a lot of rogue blue/purple morning glory vines opening up lately.