Cultivation of Bitter Gourd

Bitter Gourd  Memordica charantia linn. belongs to the family cucubiteace it’s other common names are –  Bitter cucumber, Bitter melon, Belsom Pear and African cucumber. It is one of the most important cucurbitaceous vegetables grown extensively throughout India.  It differ from other cucurbits vegetables due to it’s bitter  taste because of  alkaloids momordicine and triterpine glycosides  which are the bitterest chemical compound in the plant kingdom
The bitter gourd is  originated in the tropics of the old World and is widely distributed in China, Malaysia, India, and tropical Africa. Bitter Gaurd found growing wildly in many areas of India 

Nutrition Value of Bitter gourd ;
Bitter gourd  posses the highest nutritive value among the cucurbits. It is a rich source of protein, Carbohydrate, vitamins, and minerals 

Proximate principles


Moisture (g/100 g)


Carbohydrates (g/100 g)


Proteins (g/100 g)


Fiber (g/100g)


Calcium (mg/100 g)


Phosphorus (mg/100 g)


Potassium (mg/100 g)


Sodium (mg/100 g)


Iron (mg/100 g)


Copper (mg/100 g)


Manganese (mg/100 g)


Zinc (mg/100 g)


B Carotene


Vitamin C


Source: Gopalan et al. (1993). Nutritive value of Indian foods. National Institute of Nutrition, ICMR, Hyderabad.


Medicinal Properties of Bitter Gourds;

1 Bitter Gourd helps to maintain blood sugar levels
2 It lowers bad cholesterol levels in our body
3 It is for glowing skin and lustrous hair
4 Cures hangovers and cleanses the liver
5 Helps in weight loss
6 Boosts your immune system
7 Excellent for your eyes

 Climate Requirement of Bitter Gourd Cultivation
It is a warm-season crop grown in sub-tropical hot-arid conditions. Hot and moist weather is favorable for its! growth and development. Low temperature inhibits the germination of seed. It grows best at temperatures between 18°C and 24°C. 
Soil and its preparation for Bitter Gourd Cultivation
Bitter gourd can be cultivate in all types of soil. But loam and silty loam soil is more suitable for its cultivation. Silty soils of river beds are very much suitable for its cultivation. pH range of 6 -7 is suitable for its cultivation   
The land should be well prepared. It Should be ploughed and brought to a fine tilth by 1-2 crosswise ploughing and leveled afterward. Furrows are opened at a distance of 1.5-2.5 m depending on the support system to be adopted for the crop.
Bitter Gourd Varieties ;


Developed By


Arka Harit

IIHR , Bangalore

Fruits short, spindle-shaped, green-colored with smooth regular ribs and moderate bitterness.  Yield 9-12 t/ha.

Pusa Vishesh


it is Selected from a local collection and it is most suitable for growing during summer.  Fruits glossy green medium long and thick.

Pusa Do Mausami


Fruits dark green, club-like with 7-8 continuous ribs.  Fruit weight 100-120 g.  Yield 12-15 t/ha.

Pusa Hybrid 1


Thickness of its fruits is medium , It is long and gloss green & yield up to 20 t/ha in 120 days

Coimbatore Long


Tt’s fruits are long, tender, whitish colour & it is suitable for rainy season crop, average yield is up to 25-30 t/ha.



CO-1fruits are dark green, it has a medium length (20-25 cm) and weight (100-120 g). Yield 14 t/ha.

Kalyanpur Baramasi

CSA, Kanpur

it’s fruits are long (30-35 cm), has an light green color, thin and tapering, it is tolerant to fruit fly and mosaic disease, yield 20 t/ha up to in 120 days.


SAU, Kerala

it’s fruits are white in color and are 35-40 cm long, heavy bearing variety with first picking starts   in 60 days. Average yield is up to 50 fruits/plant.

Preethi (MC 4)

SAU, Kerala

it has the medium sized white fruits with spines, its av. fruit length 30 cm, with an the av. fruit girth of 24 cm and av. fruit weight 0.31 kg. productivity is up to 15.0 t/ha-1

Phule Green Gold

MPKV, Rahuri (MS)

The fruits of this variety  are 25 -30 cm long, dark green in colour with tubercles. it is very suitable for the exports.

Phule Ujwala

MPKV, Rahuri (MS)

Its fruits are  18-20 cm in length, dark green  with tubercles, average  yield up to  30-35 t/ha, It is suitable for exports.

Phule Priyanka

MPKV, Rahuri (MS)

It is a hybrid variety having dark green colour fruits. Fruits are 20-25 cm in length has tubercles. Average yield is  up to 35-40 t/ha.

Sowing of Seeds;
(a) Time of sowing.  sowing accomplished from January to March for the summer season crop, June-July for rainy season crop in the plains and March to June in the hills.

b) Seed rate. The seed rate is 2.0 to 2.5 kg per Acre
(c) Method of sowing. The seed is sown by the dibbling method a spacing of 120×90 cm. Generally, three to four seeds are sown in a pit at 25 to 3.0 cm depth. The seeds should be  soaked in water overnight prior to sowing for achieving the better germination. Seed germination was enhanced by soaking the need for 24 hours in a solution of 25 or 50 ppm GA and 25 ppm boron 

(d) Plant Support System; Bitter gourd being a frail climber needs support for its development. The plants trailed on the support (bower) keeps on giving yield for 6-7 months as against 3-4 months when trailed on the ground without support. Such vines are less defenseless to pest and diseases as they don’t come in direct contact with the soil. In bower framework, planting is done at a separating of 2.5 x 1m. Furrows are opened up at 2.5 m and water system channels are spread out at 5-6 m distance. Wooden poles (3 m in height) are pitched on both the finishes of interchange furrows a ways off of 5 m. these posts are associated with wires. The wires along the furrows are additionally associated with cross wires affixed at 45cm distance in order to frame an organization of wires. Seeds are drilled at distance of 1 m along the furrow and secured gently with soil. The vines take about 1.5-2 months to arrive at the bower height, consequently the vines during the underlying phases of development are trailed on ropes till they arrive at the bower. When the vines arrive at the bower height, the new rings are then trailed on the bower.


The application of fertilizer may vary due to dependence upon the variety, Season, and type of soil. Apply well-decomposed cow dung @ 4-6 tone per acre at the time of ploughing. It requires about 24 kg of nitrogen,12 kg of phosphoric acid, and 12 kg of potassium. 

Intercultural operation

Two to three hoeing is given to keep down the of the weeds during the early stage of growth. The rainy season crop is usually stalked, often trained on a bower made  up of the bamboos and sticks

Disease and Insect- Pest of Bitter Gourd;

Insect pest of Bitter Gourd;




Red pumpkin beetle

Adults feed on the foliage, buds and flowers. Grubs feed on roots

Preventive measures like burning of old creepers, ploughing & harrowing of field after harvest of crop to destroy the stages of pest. Beetle should be Collected & destructed in early stage of its infestation. Spraying with 0.05% malathion or dusting with 5% malathion dust @ 10 kg/ha.

Melon Fruit fly

Active during March-May. Attack fruits. Reddish dark brown flies with hyaline wings, lay eggs under the skin of the fruits; Maggots feed on the pulp of fruits. Infested fruits start rotting and rendered them unfit for human consumption; Fruits show dark-brown, rotten, circular patches and fall off prematurely

Clean cultivation, i.e. remove and destroy  all the fallen & infested fruits on daily basis. Deep ploughing to expose hibernating stages.Application of spray baits.Spraying with 0.05% malathion or 0.2% carbaryl at flowering.


Colonies of nymphs and adults attack leaves and tender shoots and suck the sap; Leaves curl and dry up.

Remove infested leaves and shoots in the initial stage;Spray 0.02% Pyrethrins or 0.05% Malathion or Dichlorvoe (DDVP)

Diseases of Bitter Gourd; 




Powdery Mildew

Powdery Mildew ( Sphaerotheca fuligine) : This disease is favored by high humidity and tends to occur on older leaves first. Symptoms can be found as an  white powdery residue mainly on the upper leaf surface. Whereas  circular patches or spot  visible on the lower surface of the leaves. In severe infestation , these can be spread, coalesce and cover both the surfaces of the leaves and  may be spread up to the petioles, stem, etc.  Severely affected leaves become brownish  and shrivelled and defoliation may also occur. The affected  Fruits plants shows stunted growth .

Apply the Carbendazim (1ml/litre of water) or Karathane (0.5 ml/litre of water) is sprayed immediately after the appearance of the disease. 2-3 sprays are taken at an interval of 15 days.

Downy mildew

Downy mildew is caused by the fungus Pseudoperonospora cubensis. It is very common in areas of high humidity, especially  under the condition when summer rains occur regularly. The disease is first observed as yellow angular spots on the outer surface of the leaves. In the prevailing  conditions of high humidity, whitish powdery growth appears on the inner surface of the leaves. The disease spreads rapidly destroy the plant rapidly through accelarated defoliation.

Control of this disease can be achieved with Ridomil (1.5 g/litre of water) which must always be used simultaneously with a protectant fungicide such as Mancozeb (0.2%) to prevent the development of resistant strains.

Bitter Gourd Mosaic

This virus disease is mostly confined to the leaves with symptoms appearing on the leaves in the secondary branches produced at the apical end of the plant. Small irregular yellowish patches are visible  on the leaves. Some leaves show vein clearing in one or two lobes of the leaf and severely infected plants show reduction in leaf size and elongation and/or suppression of one or two lobes. Young developing leaves are completely distorted and malformed with considerable reduction in their size. Some of the leaves show marked reduction in the development of lamina resulting in a shoe- string effect. The virus is transmitted by five species of aphids.

Spraying  of the crop should be done just after germination with the chemical like ; Monocrotophos (0.05%) or Phosphamidon (0.05%) at 10-day intervals prevents aphid vectors.


Harvesting is done when the fruits are still young and tender every alternate day. Picking should be done carefully so that the vine may not be damaged. The fruits should not be allowed to mature on the vines. The harvested fruits may be stored for 3 to 4 days in cool conditions. 

The yield is 4000 kg for small fruited variety (Uchchhe) and 6000 to 8000 kg for long and large fruited (Karela) variety per acre. 

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