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.
- 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
Plant Characteristics are only available to Fine Gardening members
Sign up for a free trial and get instant access to our complete plant guide as well as our entire collection of articles and videos.