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The Plant Guide

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Bitter melon

Momordica charantia

An edible member of Cucurbitaceae family, bitter melon has delicate growth and exotic-looking fruits. Its light-green, puckered foliage is divided into lacy lobes, and a silvery down covers both new shoot tips and emerging leaves, giving the young growth a silken sheen. Given a post to climb, bitter melon grows up, not out, using slim tendrils to carry the plant up to 6 to 8 feet in height.

Noteworthy CharacteristicsFootball-shaped, pale green, warty fruits ripen to brilliant orange. Over time, the outer flesh of the fruit splits at the base and curls upward to resemble a pagoda's roof. Dangling inside are seeds covered in lipstick-red pulp.

CareSun and moderate soil in a warm location. Provide support.

PropagationFrom seed.

  • Genus : Momordica
  • Zones : 10, 11
  • Plant Height : 6 to 10 feet
  • Plant Width : 6 to 12 inches
  • Light : Full Sun
  • Moisture : Medium Moisture
  • Growth Rate : Moderate
  • Maintenance : Moderate
  • Flower Color : Red, Yellow
  • Characteristics : Showy Foliage, Showy Fruit
  • Bloom Time : Summer
  • Plant Seasonal Interest : Summer Interest
  • Plant Type : Vines
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