Is Bitter gourd annual or perennial?- Bitter Gourd or Bitter melons are annual vegetable vines. These plants are considered perennial only in specific tropical Zones. Even in ideal conditions finding a perennial bitter gourd is really very rare.
Momordica charantia commonly called Bitter Gourd or Bitter Mellon. It is a member of the Cucurbitaceae family along with cucumber.
Bitter gourd is native to Africa, Asia, and Caribbean countries. It is an edible bitter fruit. It is cultivated mostly due to its unique bitter taste and high nutritional value. Trust me it is one of the most bitter fruit you could ever have eaten.
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Is Bitter melon annual or perennial?
Bitter gourd or bitter melon is technically a perennial plant but it is grown as an annual all over the world. You can easily consider it as both an annual and a perennial plant.
It is the environmental factors like temperature, moisture, and sunlight that makes the difference in the life cycle of this plant.
According to the US department of agriculture, bitter gourd, bitter melon or peria is a perennial plant in Hardiness zones 10-11. In USDA zone 6-9 bitter gourd is grown as annuals.
Even in the best tropical climatic conditions, these plants are grown as annual vegetables for commercial purposes. Why? After one successful harvesting season these plants lose the ability to produce the best quality fruits. It is not feasible to keep the plants that do not produce healthy commercially fit fruit or vegetables.
Is bitter gourd truly Perennial?
At least we can say so, bitter gourd is perennial. These plants are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family- the cucumber family. Being a creeper or vine it can thrive for successive seasons with multiple fruitings. This is a fact true to all scientific evidence.
In fact, the department of agriculture has considered it as a perennial for zones 10 and 11. The tropical climate is ideal for bitter gourd and in this condition it can survive as a perennial plant.
It is correct according to science but finding a real perennial bitter gourd or melon is very difficult. It is completely theoretical for me, actually, I haven’t seen any perennial bitter gourd plant to date. So I doubt you can find one near you.
Why is bitter gourd considered an annual plant?
Bitter gourd is a short-lived plant. The average life of this plant is 150-180 days. This includes the entire life of a bitter gourd from seed to plant and then compost.
Bitter gourd is classified as annual and this is probably the best consideration for these plants. Saving these plants for next season is very difficult. I have tried nearly thirteen times and failed in each attempt. Even when I successfully saved one, it didn’t bloom in next season and die on its own. Therefore I don’t think it is a perennial plant, at least in my reason.
There are two definite reasons to support my consideration.
- The tropical climate is best for growing bitter gourd. Occasional heavy rainfall is very common in tropics. Unfortunately, heavy rain is not good for vines like bitter gourd. So It is very difficult to save these plants in tropics with heavy rain. Therefore finding a perineal bitter gourd or melon is extremely rare even in the best climatic conditions.
- Bitter gourd is prone to several fungal and bacterial diseases. These diseases are very common in the moist tropical climate. This is why maintaining bitter gourd plants for several years is very difficult. More or less it is a valid fact that bitter gourd is an annual vegetable plant popular in Asian, African, and Caribbean countries.
In Biology, Bitter gourd or melon is classified as a perennial vine. Technically, we can grow it for more than two years. But in practical cultivation, it is feasible to grow only for one season. Saving the bitter gourd plant for the next season of fruiting is a tedious job. It can require a whole lot of arrangements with the proper climatic conditions and pest control to get second season fruiting in Bitter gourd plant. Economically this is not a good idea.
What is your opinion for this question- Is Bitter gourd annual or perennial? Write your answers and suggestion below in the comment section. Keep reading Keep gardening.
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