Bitter Gourd

Bitter gourd is one of the important vegetable crop. It is also well known for its medicinal value. The leading producing States of bitter gourd are Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Maharashtra, West Bengal etc.

  • Plains

    1 June - 31 July
  • Hilly regions

    1 March - 30 April
Bitter Gourd
Bitter Gourd

Common name: Bitter Gourd/ Karela

Botanical name: Momordica charantia

Origin: Tropical Asia

Family: Cucurbits


  • Bitter gourd is monoecious plant.

  • It is widely grown in India, Japan, China, Singapore, Malaysia, Tropical Africa and South America.

  • Bitter taste of bitter gourd is due to the presence of momordicin.

  • It is very good source of vitamin, minerals, fiber, carbohydrates, calcium, phosphorus and iron.

  • It is one of the ideal vegetable to cure diseases like diabetes, asthma and blood disease.


  • Bitter gourd is warm season crop.

  • Tropical and Sub-tropical climates are suitable for the cultivation of bitter gourd.

  • 25o-30o c of temperature is optimum for growth and high yield.

  • Temperature lower than 20o C and more than 37o C can result in poor yield.

  • Bitter gourd to some extend is tolerant to low temperature but sensitive to frost.


  • Soil pH: 5.5-6.7

  • Soil should be rich in organic matter with good drainage.

  • Crop is also tolerant to alkaline soils with pH of 8.0.


Generally bitter gourd is grown in monsoon and summer season. It is cultivated round the year in South and Central India.

  • Sowing month in hills: April-July.

  • Sowing month in plains and North India: January-March.

Bitter gourd
Bitter gourd

Fertilizer and Manures:

  • Quantity of fertilizers mainly depends on the variety, climate, season and quality of the soil.

  • Well decomposed FYM is needed during ploughing.

  • The suggested quantity of fertilizers is given below:



Quantity per hectare


50-100 Kg


40-60 Kg

Potassium oxide

30-60  kg


  • A balanced dose of nitrogen is required by soil the time of flowering.

  • It is recommended not to apply any fertilizer when fruit sets.

Seed rates:

On the field of one hectare, 4 to 5 Kg of seeds are sufficient.

Seeds Spacing:

Before sowing, seeds are required to be soaked in water for a night for better germination.

  • In bower system space of 2.5 × 1 m is required.

  • Spacing of 2 m is required for the long furrow of 60cm width.

Land preparation:

Fine tilth ploughed land is required. Depending upon the adopted system, furrows should be opened at a distance of 1.5-2.5m.


Land preparation:

Fine tilth ploughed land is required. Depending upon the adopted system, furrows should be opened at a distance of 1.5-2.5m.


Some of varieties of bitter gourd with their season, duration are mentioned below:





Released by

Pusa domausmi


Summer, spring, monsoon

I.A.R.I, New Delhi

Arka Harit


Summer and monsoon

IIHR, Bangalore




Kerala Agriculture University




I.A.R.I, New Delhi


  • Irrigation is not that much mandatory in the season of monsoon. It should be ensured that the rainfall is well distributed (July-September).

  • On the other hand if it is summer season then irrigation is required immediately after planting.


  • First harvest of bitter gourd takes around 55-60 days from the time of seed sowing.

  • There should be an interval of 2-3 days in further pickings.

  • Generally harvesting is done when fruits are still tender and a bit immature to avoid them turning yellow or yellowish-orange during the period of transportation.

  • Early morning is the right time to harvest the crop and after harvesting it is required that the produced crop should be stored in shade.


  • Yield of bitter gourd depends on variety, season, and method of cultivation and on many other conditions.

  • In general fruit yield can come under the range of 8-10 t/ha.

FactCheck in Agriculture Project

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