How to grow Bitter melon

Bitter melon grow and care – herbaceous vine of the genus Momordica also known as Bitter gourd or Momordica charantia, Cerasee or karela, Bitter melon annual plant used for the edible fruits but also used for ornamental fruits and can used as medical plant, can grow in tropic, mediterranean or subtropical climate and growing in hardiness zone 4+, in hardiness zone 4-6 need to care that will bear fruits.

Leaves color green, leaves size 7-15 cm and divided to 5+ lobes, young shoots edible.

Flower color yellow with five petals, there is male and female flower on the same plant.

Bitter melon fruits

Fruit edible color is green to orange in elliptic shape to shapeless, the fruit have pumps, taste is bitter

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Requirements for Bitter melon growing and care:

Trellising, mulch

What is the best way to start growing?
Plant / Seedling / Seed

Is it necessary to graft or use vegetative reproduction?

Difficulties or problems when growing:
Rot problems

Planting season:
Spring to summer

Pests and diseases:
Powdery mildew, aphids, moth, virus

Pruning season:
All season

How to prune:
Infected braches

Size of the plant?
1-3 m, 40-120 inches

Growth speed in optimal condition:
Fast growing

Water requirement:
Average amount of water

Light conditions in optimal condition for growing:
Full Sun

Is it possible to grow indoor as houseplant?

Growing is also possible in a planter /flowerpot / containers:

How to grow in containers:
Planting in containers need to be at least 10-20L (2.5-5 gallons), well-drained soil, the plant not react well to overwater, need to make enough holes in the container for good drainage also choosing soil for container important and need to be soil well ventilated, can be potting mix or peat soil with perlite, when use bottom for the pot need that it will dry in the same day.

Blooming information

Bloom season:
Spring / Summer

General information about the flower
Yellow with five petals, there is male and female flower on the same plant

Pollination is done by:
Bees, flies +

Edible Fruit

Fruit harvest season:
Summer / Autumn

Fruits pests or diseases:

What can be done with big quantities of Bitter melon fruits?
Cooked, stuffed

Work requirements on the fruit:
Pick on time

How long does it take to bear fruit?
60-80 days

How to grow Bitter melon from seed

Sowing requirement:
Easy to sow no special treatment, sowing temperature 15-40C (65-104F) but better to sow in 21-25C (70-77F)

Saving seeds until sowing:
Room temperature, dry place

Sowing season:
Spring (but in warm weather possible in the summer) and in cold climate start in the winter indoor

How to plant:
Better to plant it in light soil that will be well ventilated and keep the moist like vermiculite

Planting spacing – How far apart to plant:
Depend if trellising 40*50cm (16*20 inches) when crawling 1*1.25m (40-50 inches), sowing to transplanting 5*5cm (2*2 inches)

Depth of Sowing:
1-2cm (0.5-1 inch) from the top

Conditions for seeds germinate:
Moist soil, full sun

Watering requires for Seeds:
Average amount of water, don’t let it dry

Germination time:
5-20 days

Condition of seedling:
Warm weather, big amount of water, full sun, place to trellising

Scientific name:

Momordica charantia

Alternative names: Bitter apple, Bitter gourd, Karela, bitter squash; balsam-pear

How to grow Bitter melon

Bitter melon growing

Bitter melon plant

Bitter melon


Blooming Seasons
  • Spring flowers
  • Summer flowers
Edible Parts
  • Edible Fruit
Culinary uses
  • Cooked
  • Stuffed or Wrapped
  • Vegetables
Flower colors
  • Yellow flower
  • Desert Climate
  • Mediterranean Climate
  • Subtropics Climate
  • Temperate Climate
  • Tropics Climate
Harvest Season
  • Autumn Harvest
  • Summer Harvest
Ornamental parts
  • Ornamental fruit
Plant growing speed
  • Average growing plants
  • Fast growing plants
Plant life-form
  • Annual plant
  • Herbaceous
Plant Uses
  • Edible plants
  • Medical uses
  • Ornamental plants
Planting Season
  • Spring Planting
Plants sun exposure
  • Full sun Plants
Watering plants
  • Regularly water
Hardiness zone
  • Hardiness zone 10
  • Hardiness zone 11
  • Hardiness zone 12
  • Hardiness zone 13
  • Hardiness zone 4
  • Hardiness zone 5
  • Hardiness zone 6
  • Hardiness zone 7
  • Hardiness zone 8
  • Hardiness zone 9