Loofahs Content from the guide to life, the universe and everything


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There's nothing many of us like more than soaping up our loofahs and having a good scrub in the bath, but have you ever wondered where they come from? What is this strange thing you are scrubbing yourself with?

Fruits de Mer

Many people think that because it looks a bit like a sponge and does a similar sort of job then it must come from the sea, when in fact the loofah is a fruit, probably native to tropical Asia or Africa. It comes from a plant called the Luffa cylindricus of the gourd family. The fruit are picked when the skin turns a dark orange colour, the seeds are removed and hey presto: it's bath time.

Make your Own

Why not try growing your own loofah? Seeds can be bought cheaply in the larger seed catalogues. Plant the seeds in a propagator about 10mm deep in a couple of inches of good compost. You can start the seeds off somewhere warm, in an airing cupboard for example, but as soon as the seeds start pushing through they will need sunlight, so move them somewhere bright. When the seedlings are 6-7 inches tall you can transplant them into separate pots. Because loofahs grow in warmer countries it's best to grow them indoors - this of course only applies if you're not already in a warm country.

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