Bitter Gourd
Botanical Name – Momordica charantia L.
Family – Cucurbitaceae


  • Another name of Bitter gourd is “bitter melon” and is also known as “Karela” in Hindi.
  • The botanical name of bitter gourd is Memordica charantia and it belongs to the family of “Cucurbitaceae”.
  • It is popularly known for its medicinal, nutritional and other excellent health benefits. Because of its high demand in the market, bitter gourd farming is done very successful.
  • Bitter gourd is mainly used for making juice and for culinary purpose.
  • It is a rich source of Vitamin B1, B2 and B3, C, beta-carotene, zinc, iron, phosphorus, potassium, manganese, folate and calcium.
  • It has health benefits such as it helps in preventing blood disorders, detoxifies blood and liver, boosts immune system and helps in weight control.   


1.Punjab Karela-15: 

  • It has smooth, serrated, green leaves.
  • Green and pubescent stem.
  • Long vines with smooth, serrated, dark green leaves.
  • Fruits have a matt look and a dark green colour.
  • It has a mediocre level of resistance to bitter gourd yellow mosaic disease.
  • The yield is 51q/acre on average.

2.Punjab Kareli-1 (2009): 

  • Vines are long, according to Green, smooth, and serrated leaves are present.
  • Its fruits are ridged, long, and green.
  • First fruit harvest occurs 66 days after planting.
  • The average production is 70 q/acre, and one fruit weighs roughly 50 g.

3.Punjab Jhaar Karela-1 (2017):

  • Its medium-length vines have green leaves with serrations.
  • Fruits are aesthetically pleasing green, soft, spindle-shaped, and ideal for slicing during cooking.
  • It is immune to viruses and root knot nematode infections.
  • It yields 35 q/acre on average.

Older varieties

4.Punjab-14 (1985): 

  • It has little vines.
  • Fruit is pale green and weighs approximately 35g.
  • Ideal for planting in the spring and during periods of heavy rain.
  • 50 q/acre on average is the yield.

Other Varieties

5.Arka Harit : 

  • Fruits have smooth, regular ribs, a short, spindle-shaped shape, a green colour, and a mild bitterness.
  • 48q /acre of yield.
  • This variety has been released by IIHR Banglore.

6.Pusa Vishesh: 

  • This variety has been released and recommended for cultivation as a summer season crop by the I.A.R.I., New Delhi.
  • The vine is dwarf and bushy and easy to manage.
  • The fruits are attractive green, fusiform with many irregulars broken smooth and glossy ridges on the surface.
  • They are medium long and thick.
  • It is early in maturity and takes about 55 days to come to harvest after sowing.

Other state varieties:

7.CO 1:

  • The variety has medium sized fruit which are long and dark green in color.
  • The fruits have an average weight of 100-120 gm.
  • It gives an average yield of 5.8 t/acre and the variety matures in 115 days. 

8.COBgoH 1: 

The variety matures in 115-120 days and gives an average yield of 20-21 t/acre.

9.MDU 1: 

  • The fruit are 30-40 cm in length and matures in 120-130 days.
  • It gives an average yield of 13-14 t/acre. 
  • Preethi and Priya are the varieties that are mainly grown.




Soil –

  • Sandy loam soil which is rich in organic content and has good drainage system is ideal for the bitter gourd cultivation.
  • The pH of the soil ranging from 6.5-7.5 is best for bitter gourd farming. 

Climate – 

  •  It is a warm season crop grown mainly in sub-tropical and hot-arid regions.
  • They are susceptible to light frost and are provided with partial protection if grown during winter months.
  • Temperature range of 24o– 27oC is considered as optimum for the growth of the vines.

Season and Sowing
Time of sowing: February to March or June to July is an optimum time for seed sowing. Spacing: Sow seeds on both side of 1.5 m wide beds and use plant to plant spacing of 45 cm.  Sowing depth: 2.5-3 cm deep seeds are sown in the pit.  Method of sowing: Dibbling method 
Seed Rate
Seed rate:Use seed rate of 2.0 kg per acre.  Seed treatment: Before sowing, seeds are soaked in 25-50 ppm Gibberelic acid and 25 ppm boron for 24 hours. 
Preparation of Field

  • For bitter gourd farming, well prepared land is required.
  • To bring the soil to fine tilth, 2-3 ploughings should be done followed by weeding. 


  • After sowing, first irrigation should be given.
  • In summer season, irrigation is given after every 6-7 days and in rainy season, irrigation is given only when needed.
  • In total, 8-9 irrigations are required. 

Quality Seedling Production

  • Bitter gourd is a direct sown vegetable but polythene bag nursery is more
    advantageous to get early marketing and to avoid more gap filling.
  • Use 200 gauge poly bags of 10 cm diameter x 10 cm height for sowing the seeds.
  • Transplant about 15 days old seedlings to the main field.

Application of Fertilizers

Fertilizer Requirement (kg/acre)

30 125            35

Nutrient Requirement (kg/acre)

    13      20     20
  • Application of FYM@ 10-15 tonnes is done before 10-15 days of sowing.
  • Along with FYM, application of fertilizer dose of nitrogen@13 kg / acre in the form of urea @30 kg / acre, phosphorus@20 kg / acre in the form of SSP@125 kg / acre and Potassium@ 20 kg /acre in the form of MOP @35 kg  / acre is done.
  • Full dose of phosphorus and potassium and one third dose of nitrogen are applied before seed sowing.
  • The remaining dose of nitrogen is added after one month of sowing. 

Drip Irrigation

  • Install drip system with main and sub-main pipes and place the inline lateral tubes at an interval of 1.5m.
  • Place the drippers in lateral tubes at an interval of 60 cm and 50 cm
    spacing with 4LPH and 3.5 LPH capacities respectively

Field Preparation

  • Form the raised beds of 120cm width and spread the lateral tubes in the centre of each bed.
  • Irrigation is done in the beds by operating the drip system continuously for 8-12 hrs.
  • Spray pre emergence herbicide like Pendimethalin @ 1 Kg a.i/ha just before planting.
  • Planting or sowing is done at the holes made at 2 m distance.


1.Downy mildew: Pseudoperonospora cubensis

Click for larger image.


  • Symptoms resembling mosaic viz, pale green areas separated by dark green areas appear on upper surface of leaf.
  • During wet season, corresponding lower surface is covered with faint purplish fungal growth.
  • The entire leaf dries up quickly.


  • Use of bed system with wide spacing with good drainage and air movement and exposure to sun help to check the disease development.
  • Spray with Moncozeb 0.2 % or Chlorothalonil 0.2% or Difolaton 0.2% or Ridomil MZ 72 0.1%
  • Seed treatment with Apron SD 35 @ 2 g./kg. followed by spraying with Mancozeb 0.2% is effective in reducing the disease.

2.Powdery mildew: Erysiphe cichoracearum


  • Powdery mildew, is especially prevalent in hot dry conditions.
  • White or brown mealy growth will be found on upper and lower surfaces and stems.
  • Under severe infestations, the plant will be weakened and stunted.


  • The disease can be controlled by spraying Wettable sulphur 0.1%

3.Mosaic: PRSV/CMV


  • A virus distributed world wide, affecting most cucurbits but rarely affecting watermelon.
  • New growth is cupped downward, and leaves are severely mottled with alternating light green and dark green patches.
  • Plants are stunted, and fruits are covered with bumpy protrusions. Severely affected cucumber fruit may be almost entirely white.


  • The virus is readily transferred by aphids and survives on a wide variety of plants.
  • Varietal resistance is the primary management tool, and eliminating weeds and infected perennial ornamentals that may harbor the virus is critical.
  • Spray with any one of the systemic insecticide

Plant Protection

1.Fruit flies: Bactrocera cucurbitae

Symptoms of damage:

  • Maggots feed on the pulp of the fruits
  • Oozing of resinous fluid from fruits
  • Distorted and malformed fruits
  • Premature dropping of fruits and also unfit for consumption


  • Collect infested and fallen fruits and bum in deep pits.
  • In endemic areas, change the sowing date as the fly population is low in hot dry conditions and at its peak during rainy season
  • Expose the pupae by ploughing and turning over soil after harvest
  • Use ribbed gourd as trap crop and apply carbaryl 0.15% or malathion 0.1% on congregating adult flies on the undersurface of leaves.

2.Pumpkin beetlesAulacophora foveicollis

Symptoms of damage:

  • Grubs feeds on the roots, stem and fruits touching the soil
  • Adult feeds on leaf and flowers.


  • Plough the fields just after harvesting destroy the hibernating adults
  • Collect and destroy adult beetles
  • Spray malathion 50 EC @ 500 ml or dimethoate 30 EC 500 ml or methyl demeton 25 EC@ 500 ml/ ha

3.Stem borer or clear winged moth: Melittia eurytion

Symptoms of damage:

  • Larva bores into  the stem of snake gourd and produces gall


  • Collect and destroy the damaged plant parts with larvae
  • Encourage activity of parasitoid: Apanteles spp.
  • Spray any following insecticides
    • malathion 50 EC @ 500 ml
    • dimethoate 30 EC 500 ml
    • methyl demeton 25 EC @ 500 ml/ ha

4.Stem gall fly: Neolasioptera falcata

Symptoms of damage :

  • Maggots bore into the distal shoot and form galls


  • Spray any following insecticides
    • Malathion 50 EC @ 500 ml
    • Dimethoate 30 EC 500 ml
    • Methyl demeton 25 EC @ 500 ml/ ha

5.Snake gourd semilooper : Plusia peponis

Symptoms of damage:

  • The caterpillar cuts the edges  of  leaf lamina, folds it over the  leaf and feeds from within leaf roll


  • Collect and destroy the caterpillars
  • Encourage activity of Apanteles taragamae, A. plusiae
  •  Spray any following insecticides
    • Malathion 50 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Dimethoate 30 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Methyl demeton 25 EC @500 ml/ha

6.Pumpkin caterpillar: Diaphania indica

Symptoms of damage:

  • Young larva scrapes the cholorophyll content
  • Later on it folds and webs the leaves and feeds within
  • It also feeds on flowers and bores into developing fruits


  • Collect and destroy early stage caterpillars
  • Encourage activity of parasioid: Apanteles spp.
  • Spray any following insecticides
    • Malathion 50 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Dimethoate 30 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Methyl demeton 25 EC @500 ml/ha

7.Bottle gourd plume moth : Sphenarches caffer

Symptoms of damage:

  • Larva feeds on leaves making small holes


  • Collect and destroy larvae and pupae
  • Spray any following insecticides
    • Malathion 50 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Dimethoate 30 EC @500 ml/ha
    • Methyl demeton 25 EC @500 ml/ha

8 Leaf miner : Liriomyza trifolii

Symptoms of damage:

  • Leaves with serpentine mines.
  • Drying and dropping of leaves due to severe infestation.


  • Collect and destroy mined leaves 
  • Spray NSKE 3%

Nutritional Deficiency



Deficiency Symptoms

Stunted plant growth; Old leaves turn yellow in color

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of urea @ 1%



Deficiency Symptoms

Interveinal necrosis of old leaves, puckering, distortion and outward rolling of middle leave.

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of 0.2-0.5% K2SO4



Deficiency Symptoms

Stunted plant growth;Chlorosis occur in young leaves

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of CaSO4 @ 0.5%



Deficiency Symptoms

Young leaves become brownish and brittle; crinkling of leaves; small and malformed fruits

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of sodium molybdate @ 0.5%



Deficiency Symptoms

Chlorosis occur in young leaves; leaves turn into yellow

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of [email protected]%



Deficiency Symptoms

Symptoms seen in young leaves; leaves become pale yellow

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of [email protected]%



Deficiency Symptoms

Symptoms will be seen in young leaves; leaves become small

Correction Measure

Foliar spray of ZnSO4 @ 0.5%

After Cultivation

  • Hoe and weed thrice.
  • Provide stakes for the plants to reach the pandal (2 m).
  • Spray Ethrel 100 ppm (1 ml dissolved in 10 lit of water) four times from 15th day after sowing at weekly intervals


Apply a dose of 200:100:100 kg NPK/ha throughout the cropping period through split application

Fertigation schedule

Fertigation Schedule- Bitter gourd (Hybrid)
Recommended dose: 200:100:100 kg/ha

Stage Crop stage Duration in days Fertilizer grade Total Fertilizer (kg/ha) Nutrient applied % of requirement
1 Crop
10 19:19:19 + MN

10.00 5.00 10.00
Subtotal 19.78 5.00 9.95      
2 Vegetative
30 12-61-0

30.00 7.50 30.00
Subtotal 60.19 7.49 29.70      
3 Flower
initiation to
first picking
30 12-61-0

30.00 7.50 20.00
Subtotal 60.09 7.49 19.80      
4 Harvesting stage 45 19:19:19 + MN

30.00 5.00 40.00
  Total duration 115 days   Subtotal 60.00 5.00 40.10      
Total 200.06 24.98
100 25 100

*75% RD of Phosphorus applied as superphosphate = 469 Kg/ha.
1. 19:19:19 = 53 kg/ha
2. 13:0:45 = 199kg/ha
3. 12:61:0 = 25 kg/ha
4. Urea = 351 kg/ha


  • Depending upon season and variety the crop is ready to harvest in 55-60 days.
  • Picking of fruit is done after the interval of 2-3 days. 


Varieties : 14 t/ha in 140 – 150 days.
Hybrids : 40 t/ha in 180 days

Market Information

Crop Growing districts : Coimbatore, Dindigul, Cuddalore, Thoothukudi, Tiruppur
Major markets in Tamil Nadu Periyar Vegetable Market, Koyambedu, Chennai Gandhi Market, Oddanchathiram Natchipalayam vegetable market, Coimbatore
Grade Specification 20-25 cm long green fruits with short neck and tubercles are preferred