Different Varieties of Gourds and Effective Methods for Growing and Curing Them.


Gourds are easily recognized for their unique and diverse shapes and sizes. These squash-like fruits come in various colors and have been used for centuries in a multitude of ways. Whether you’ve come across them as daily decorations, in the form of bird houses, or even as bottles for drinking, gourds have a long history of being versatile and useful.

When it comes to growing gourds, it’s important to select the appropriate type for your needs. With over 35 different types of gourds to choose from, each with their own description and characteristics, farmers and growers have a wide range of options. Some gourds are small and sphere-shaped, while others dangle from their stems like long-winged eggplants. Regardless of the variety, gourds require a warm and long summer growing season to thrive.

After harvesting, the curing process begins. Curing involves drying the gourds to harden their shells, making them suitable for decorative crafts and ornamental items. Curing gourds can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months, depending on the size and thickness of the fruit. During the curing process, the color of the gourds changes from green to a more muted and earthy palette, with some varieties showcasing vibrant and soaked-in colors.

Once cured, gourds can be transformed into a wide range of artistic creations. From birdhouses and dippers to maracas and even loofahs, the possibilities are only limited by one’s imagination. That’s what makes gourds such a wonderful material for crafts and home decor. So the next time you go for a walk in your local farmers market or garden, be sure to keep an eye out for these hard-shelled wonders.

The 10 Best Types of Gourds to Grow for Decor Crafts and More

Gourds are wonderful plants that can be grown in your garden for a variety of purposes. Whether you’re a connoisseur of gourds or just starting to explore their many uses, there are 10 types of gourds that stand out as the most popular for crafting, decorating, and more.

  1. Bottle Gourds: These gourds have long been a favorite for crafting and decorating. Their unique shape and smooth surface make them perfect for creating beautiful items such as vases and birdhouses.
  2. Dipper Gourds: As the name suggests, these gourds have a long, curved shape that resembles a dipper. They are often used to make crafts such as utensils or decorative handles.
  3. Nest Egg Gourds: If you’re looking for gourds that are perfect for crafting Easter decorations or creating unique bird nests, these are a great choice. Their small size and round shape make them ideal for these projects.
  4. Swan Gourds: With their elegant, elongated shape, these gourds are a favorite of many crafters. They can be painted or carved to resemble swans or other graceful birds, and make stunning decorative pieces.
  5. Penguin Gourds: These gourds have a round, chubby shape that resembles a penguin. They are often used for crafting whimsical holiday decorations, and their unique appearance is sure to make them stand out.
  6. Spoon Gourds: If you’re a fan of useful crafts, these gourds are perfect for you. Their elongated shape and flat base make them ideal for creating spoons and other kitchen utensils.
  7. Winged Gourds: As the name suggests, these gourds have wing-like protrusions on their sides. They are often used to create beautiful decorative pieces, such as angels or flying creatures.
  8. Harvesting Gourds: These gourds are specifically grown for their thick and sturdy stems. They are often used for crafts that require a strong handle, such as walking sticks or basket handles.
  9. Ornamental Gourds: If you’re looking to add a splash of color to your garden, ornamental gourds are the way to go. They come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, making them perfect for creating eye-catching displays.
  10. Daisy Gourds: These small, round gourds have a speckled pattern that resembles a daisy flower. They are often used for crafting jewelry or other small decorative items.

No matter what type of gourd you choose to grow, it’s important to know that they are relatively easy to care for. They need warm summer days, plenty of water, and a trellis or other support to grow properly. Once harvested, gourds can be cured for several weeks to ensure their durability.

So whether you’re a seasoned gourd grower or just starting to explore the world of gourds, these 10 types are sure to be a wonderful addition to your garden, and provide you with plenty of crafting opportunities and unique decorative items.

What Is a Gourd

A gourd is a type of fruit that is typically grown for its hard-shelled, non-edible exterior. Gourds come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors, making them a popular choice for both decorative and functional purposes.

Gourds belong to the Cucurbitaceae family, which includes plants like pumpkins, squash, and cucumbers. They are warm-season crops that thrive in areas with long, hot summers. Gourds can be grown in many different climates, but they need at least three months of warm weather to fully develop.

When it comes to harvesting gourds, timing is everything. Gourds should be left on the vine until the stem begins to dry and turn brown. This usually occurs around 9 to 10 weeks after planting. Once harvested, gourds need to be cured before they can be used. This involves cleaning off any dirt and debris, and then allowing the gourds to dry in a warm, dry place for several weeks.

The dried gourds can then be used for a variety of purposes. Some people carve them into decorative items, while others paint or dye them for use in home decor. Gourds can also be made into birdhouses, containers, or even musical instruments. The possibilities are endless!

There are many different types of gourds, each with its own unique characteristics. Some common varieties include bottle gourds, powderhorn gourds, swan gourds, and dipper gourds. Bottle gourds are large, curved gourds that resemble bottles, while powderhorn gourds have a long, narrow shape. Swan gourds are white and have a swan-like shape, and dipper gourds have a handle-like stem that can be used as a ladle.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, growing gourds can be a fun and rewarding experience. With a little bit of effort and patience, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of gourdgeous fruits that will last long after the summer season.

Types of Gourds

Gourds come in many different shapes, sizes, and colors. Here are 8 major types of gourds that you should know about:

  1. Bottle Gourds: These gourds are large and bottle-shaped, hence the name. They’re often used for crafting purposes, such as making birdhouses or decorations.
  2. Daisy Gourds: These gourds have a smooth and round shape, resembling a daisy flower. They’re mainly grown for decorative purposes.
  3. Dippers: Dippers gourds have long handles that make them perfect for use as ladles or spoons. They can be used in various crafts and are popular for spinning.
  4. Egg Gourds: As the name suggests, these gourds look like eggs. They’re small in size and often used in crafts or as decorations.
  5. Loofah Gourds: Loofah gourds are known for their fibrous inner structure, which is used as a natural sponge. They need to be harvested and cured before use.
  6. Nest Egg Gourds: These gourds are small and round, resembling bird eggs. They’re mainly used for decorative purposes, such as in displays or as ornaments.
  7. Swan Gourds: Swan gourds have a shape similar to a swan’s neck. They’re often used for crafting or as decorations.
  8. Yellow-flowered Gourds: These gourds have yellow flowers and are prized by connoisseurs for their unique look. They can be grown for both decorative and crafting purposes.

Each type of gourd has its own unique characteristics and uses. Whether you’re a gourd enthusiast or just curious about these fascinating plants, exploring the different types of gourds can be a fun and educational experience.

1 Apple Gourd

The apple gourd, also known as the Tennessee marble gourd or penguin gourd, is a type of gourd that belongs to the Cucurbitaceae family. It is a vine plant that needs trellising or plenty of garden space to grow.

The apple gourd is grown for its unique shape and appearance. It is usually sphere-shaped, resembling an apple, hence its name. The size of the fruit can vary, typically reaching a height of up to 9 inches. The outer skin of the apple gourd is smooth and can range in color from green to white, with some speckled or maracas-like patterns.

When harvesting the apple gourd, it is important to wait until the fruits have matured and the stems have dried out. This is usually around late summer or early fall. After harvesting, the gourds should be cured in a dry, well-ventilated area for several weeks to ensure they are properly preserved and ready for use.

Apple gourds have a variety of uses. Some people enjoy using them for decorative purposes, as they make wonderful ornamentals and can be painted or carved to create unique designs. Others use them as functional items, such as bowls or containers. The shape and size of the apple gourd makes it useful for many different purposes.

Growing apple gourds requires some effort and care. The plants need a sunny location and fertile, well-draining soil. They are typically started indoors from seeds and transplanted outside after the danger of frost has passed. Regular watering and occasional fertilization are necessary to ensure healthy growth.

In conclusion, the apple gourd is a fascinating member of the gourd family. Its unique and distinctive shape, along with the variety of colors it can display, make it a popular choice among gardeners and gourd enthusiasts. Whether used for decorative or functional purposes, the apple gourd is a versatile and eye-catching addition to any garden or home.

2 Basket Gourd

The 2 Basket Gourd is a type of gourd that is popular among gourd enthusiasts and DIYers. This gourd, also known as Lagenaria siceraria or the Cucurbita pepo, is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family.

The 2 Basket Gourd is named for its unique shape, which resembles a basket or sponge. It has a round bulbous bottom and a long neck with a flared top. The gourd is usually green or yellow in color and can grow to be quite large, with sizes ranging from 5 to 7 inches in diameter.

This gourd is easy to grow and is typically planted in the ground in a sunny location. It thrives in warm climates and needs plenty of water to grow. The vines of the 2 Basket Gourd can grow up to 10 feet long, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of space to spread out.

Harvesting the 2 Basket Gourd is a fun and rewarding process. The gourds are typically ready to be harvested when the vines start to die back and the gourds have turned a yellow or purple color. To harvest the gourds, simply cut the stems about an inch above the gourd and clean off any dirt or debris.

Once harvested, the 2 Basket Gourd can be used in a multitude of ways. Some people use them for crafts, such as making birdhouses or decorative pieces. Others use them as containers, such as dipping them in wax to create unique containers or turning them into bowls and bottles.

If you’re a gourd connoisseur or a gourd enthusiast, the 2 Basket Gourd is a must-have for your garden. They add a unique touch to any garden or display and are sure to impress your friends and neighbors. So, next time you’re planning your garden, be sure to consider growing these gourds and enjoy everything they have to offer!

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Dr Heidi Parkes

By Dr Heidi Parkes

Senior Information Extension Officer QLD Dept of Agriculture & Fisheries.