PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Luffa

You say Loofa, we say Luffa

We’ve been growing them for years here at Calendula Farm. That’s right, hyper-local, Central Pierce County grown Luffa Sponges! It sure beats the carbon footprint of the typical store-bought ones from the other side of the world. Find them in our booth at the Proctor Farmers’ Market on Saturday or at our nursery Tues-Sunday.

Near the turn of the 20th century they were known as Dishcloth Gourds and promoted as the most environmentally and budgetarily responsible dishrag you could ever hope for. Whatever you want to call it, that scrubby sponge thingy is actually a gourd native to Southeast Asia. Many people assume the Luffa sponge is a type of sea life. Nope. It looks and grows like a giant cucumber, can be eaten when young – like a zucchini – or harvested in the autumn to get the nearly indestructible scrubby sponge inside.

Scott has been using the same Luffa to wash his dishes for over a year. It barely looks worn and has never become stinky like an artificial scrubby kitchen sponge does after a few weeks. It is non-abrasive so it’s good for seasoned cast iron and non-stick pans, but the fiber structure is great at powering off burnt sticky bits.

Luffas are excellent for ‘Dry Brushing’ the skin which exfoliates, unclogs pores, stimulates blood flow, and energizes the lymph system. They are also great wet as a washcloth in the shower or bath.

If you ever wear one out, grow more. It’s not hard.
Pretty spiffy, eh?