Momordica charantia ‘Jyunpaku’ (White Bitter Melon) [5 Seeds]


Germination Information: Please be aware that bitter melon can be challenging to start from seed. In my experience, correctly nicking the hard seed coat is an important step in getting good sprouting. It’s not enough to just take a little chip out of it; you need to nip away enough to get all of the way into the middle, but not so much that you damage the embryo. If you leave me a note with your order, I will nick the seeds for you before I pack them. Keep in mind, though, that the embryo can then dry out, so I wouldn’t recommend this unless you are ready to sow the seeds as soon as you receive them. Soaking the seeds for a day or so after nicking can further encourage sprouting. Start the large seeds, about 1 inch deep, indoors in a warm place (a heat mat is a big help) in early to mid spring or outdoors a week or two after your last frost date. I started my own nicked-and-soaked seeds indoors, in a pot on a heat mat, on April 1, and they began sprouting on April 10; your experience will likely vary.

Note that this information will not appear on the seed packet you receive.

Please read the description as well before ordering.

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I’ve been wanting to try growing bitter melon for years, and when I saw this beautiful, white-fruited form in the Baker Creek catalog last spring, I jumped at the chance to get a packet. The vines grew well on a coir netting trellis and were definitely ornamental, with lobed leaves and bright yellow flowers. I ended up with a half-dozen or so fruits fully ripening before frost. I was a little disappointed that there weren’t more, but not surprised, since the summer was very dry here and I couldn’t easily water the vines. Plus, I know the vines would have produced more if the melons were picked when white (immature) instead of left on the vine to fully ripen (which is what I did in hopes of getting more seed). I definitely plan to grow it again, because the knobbly fruits were so interesting to look at, and I would like to try eating some. They’re said to be lightly bitter at the best eating stage (when white). When very ripe, the fruit splits to show the seeds, each of which is enclosed in a pulpy red coating which is supposed to be very sweet. (You can eat that coating but not the seeds themselves.) If you want to learn more about the species and its history, medicinal and culinary uses, and growing tips, I highly recommend this excellent video: Jyunpaku Goya Melon: Pearl of Okinawa. Full sun (to light shade in hot climates). Annual vine.

2022-collected seeds are sold out. I hope to collect again in fall 2023. At least 5 seeds.

Please read the germination information as well before ordering.

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