Bitter gourd at a glance

Bitter gourd is one of the most nutritionally rich vegetable with medicinal properties.

It is an annual fruit vegetable and is also referred to as bitter melon, Karela or balsam pear.

The fruits, seeds, leaves, vines and roots of bitter gourd have been used as food and as remedy from various types of diseases.

It is an important source of essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals and has an important role in human diet for maintaining sound health.

Different concentration of bitter gourd juice, sugar and citric acid is used to prepare ready to serve bitter gourd beverages.

Botanical name : Momordica charantia
Family : Cucurbitaceae
Chromosome No. : 2n = 2x = 22
Place of origin : Indo-Burma region
Variability available : Shape, size and colour
Propagation : Seed
Seed sowing time : Summer crop- January to March
: Rainy crop– June to July
: Hills- March to June
Seed rate : 5-6 kg/hectare
Optimum temperature : 24-27 °C

Manure and Fertilizers : 20 tonnes of FYM + N: P: K: @ 120 : 100 : 100 kg/hectare.
Seed treatment : Seed should be treated with Captan at the rate of 2 g/kg seed.
Staking and trellising : The trellis should be 1.8-2.0 m high, constructed from stakes 1.2-1.8 meter apart, which is almost similar to the plant row spacing.
Irrigation : Usually fields are furrow-irrigated every 10 days during the cool dry season, and weekly during hot-dry season.
Harvesting and yield : Harvesting is done when fruits are still young and tender. On ripening the fruit changes its colour from green to yellow and orange. Picking may be done every alternate days. The average fruit yield varies from 90 to 150 quintal/ hectare.
Important diseases: Downy mildew, Powdery mildew, Alternaria leaf spot, Fusarium wilt and mosaic.

Important insects: Aphid, Fruit fly, Epilachna or Hadda beetle.
Small fruited : Pusa Do Mausami, Small green, Pusa Purvi
Medium long fruited : Pusa Hybrid-2, Arka Harit, Pusa Vishesh, Pusa Rasdar, Priyanka, Konkan Tara, Meghna, Pusa Hybrid-4 Long fruited : Kashi Mayuri, Pusa Aushadhi, Hirkani, Coimbatore long white, MDU-1, Coimbatore long, Preethi, VK-1, Priya
Green and Dark green : Kashi Mayuri, Pusa Do Mausami, Arka Harit, Pant Karela-1, VK-1, Priya, CO-1, Pusa Vishesh, Coimbatore green, Hirkani, Phule green, Konkan Tara, Punjab-14, Meghna
White fruited : Preethi, Priyanka, Coimbatore Long White

Source: ICAR- Indian Horticulture May-June 2020 , Vol-65, No. 3, Website:

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